“30 Pieces of Silver”
30” x 40” x 4”
DISCLAIMER - extremely inappropriate language used in the description, but I wanted to keep
the actual event as truthful and accurate as possible.
I will never forget the one time I was invited to visit a small rural country church several years ago. I had briefly met a few of the younger members that attended there so I agreed. Everything was going pretty much the way it normally does when I visit church, I was lip syncing through a few of the old hymns since I can’t sing, squirming while trying to get comfortable on the hard wooden pew and wondering if they were having fried chicken on the potluck line afterwards.
As we finished ‘Onward Christian Soldiers Marching Off To War’ (which I always found to be an odd song for church), the old white haired preacher in a shaky, shrill voice stood up behind the podium and began his sermon. ‘So far, so good’ I thought to myself, and it was then I realized I had spoken too soon. He hadn’t been three minutes into his sermon before all of a sudden, he lunged forward on the pulpit, grasped it so hard his knuckles turned white and screamed the words that still ring in my ears to this day at the top of his lungs - “NIGGERS AND QUEERS” in relation to an abomination he had chosen to cruelly twist out of the Bible. The hair on the back on my neck stood straight up and I nervously started trying to find an exit in case I needed to run. While planning my frantic escape, it was then I noticed the people in the pews. His actions or words didn’t faze them at all. In fact I couldn't believe it, they were all nodding their heads in agreement! I was stunned and after practically tumbling out of the front door into the gravel parking lot, asked a woman what had just happened. She promptly grabbed her Bible that had been tucked under her arm like a firearm, opened it up and tried to find some butchered, obscure passage that they believed proved that the mark God placed on Cain after killing his brother Abel, was making him black. And “that” she told me “is why blacks should be shunned and treated beneath everyone else.” I stood there with my mouth open. Seriously? She was firm in her stance despite my continued questions and I resolved myself to never visit that church again. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I didn't stick around long enough to ask about the queer part.
Being led by the nose by someone who could be completely wrong, and not having the intestinal fortitude to question them is cowardly, negligent and appalling. I am completely shocked and dismayed at those who will sell their soul for nothing more than peer acceptance and the hypocrisy of churches that encourage the belittling or harming of another human being. To turn a blind eye against another for false superiority, personal profit, or intoxicating power while shamelessly encouraging the actions of white supremacy by not speaking up against such atrocities, is the true sin in my book and it definitely goes against the lessons of Christ. This is the dark side of organized religion that I just cannot stomach.
This piece is reminiscent of that church. I would often drive by it late at night and see it’s lone presence under the moonlight. I used to find it beautiful until I was exposed to the ugliness inside. I then saw it in a completely differently light after that. The vintage metal hubcap symbolizing the moon, but also symbolizes the drive I took past the church and the final realization of what it really was. The old metal “Dromedary Dixie Mix” fruitcake tin (which I found to be appropriate) has a complete Bible stuffed inside of it and is riveted shut. That Bible is removed from the light of day just like their dark, misled hearts. The steel farm implement piece sticking out of the box represents the white supremacy mentality being taught to a blind flock of sheep masquerading with a false air of superiority as ‘Christians.’
Finally, the silver leaf trim around the piece represents the 30 pieces of silver that Judas was paid for his betrayal, as the followers of cruelty and hatred tried to kill the one thing they feared the most…love.
Steel, paint, silver leaf, epoxy putty