The Freedom Front Plus wants to know why Jesus can be depicted as a clown in a school art project, which has upset some Christians, when the display of the old South African flag has been banned due to “sensitivity”.
This after a parent at a Richard’s Bay school with a Christian ethos complained that a matric pupil’s exhibition was “demonical”.
“The FF Plus shares the shocked sentiments of Christian groups in response to the artworks of a learner at the Curro school, Grantleigh, in Richards Bay,” said its education spokesperson, Wynand Boshoff, in a statement.
He added in the run-up to the transition of 1994 to a democratic government, the FF Plus endeavoured to promote group rights, which created a space for cultural and religious communities to maintain and express their convictions.
“Education and training are particularly important in this context. The then-[National Party] and [Democratic Party], however, preferred the radical individualism of the liberal constitutional state.
“In pursuance of this ideology, it is not only education in Afrikaans that is being eroded, but also education with a Christian foundation.”
Boshoff noted the school had since explained the work was about the way in which religion was practised, and not God or Jesus as such. However, he felt it should said so sooner.
“While the FF Plus does not support censure, the party finds various aspects problematic.
“If displaying the former South African flag, for example, justifies a court order, then one would expect that the beliefs of other groups, like Christians, should also be treated with sensitivity as well.”
The party intends monitoring developments around the controversy, and re-emphasised its commitment to education and training of a Christian nature.
This after the father of a pupil, Pastor Andrew Anderson, raised concerns over a matric final art project which he called “demonical” in a now viral video.
He saw it on the way to a prize-giving, where he said the pupil received many awards.
“It felt like we were crucifying Jesus all over again,” added the Ballito Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) pastor.
Anderson has called for a protest over the work, which includes a picture of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper with dollar signs on the lintel behind Jesus and torn pages from the Bible placed on the torso of a horned sculpture.
The artist’s name was not immediately available, but the Zululand Observer reported that the pupil explained the artwork “demonstrates organised religion’s preoccupation with making money and its exploitation of those with blind faith”.
It reported that he said one of the pieces was symbolic of the lack of choice children have when born into and raised in a particular faith.
Earlier on Tuesday, the school stated it was investigating the matter. It also slammed Anderson for filming the exhibition.
The school added it would not tolerate hate speech or anything that could damage the Curro brand.
“Curro is cognisant of the allegations made on social media and the matter is currently subject to an internal investigation,” the school said in a statement.
“Curro reiterates that comments made about the school, the artwork and the learner are not an accurate reflection of our school and the situation referred to, and we reserve the right to withhold comment until the internal investigation has concluded.”
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) also expressed its concern over the school project.
ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe acknowledged the work included torn up pages from a Bible, “which is considered sacred and the inspired Word of God”.
In their view, the project was “blasphemous and deeply offensive to many Christians.”
“It cannot, in our view, be justified under freedom of artistic creativity, and may well border on hate speech and religious intolerance,” said ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe in a statement.
Meshoe said it was important that freedom of expression, which includes freedom of artistic creativity, be balanced and that faith groups also be respected.
The ACDP called on the school, whose motto is “To God be the Glory”, to remove the display.