PRINT September 1990


Trying Times

LAST APRIL IN Tupelo, Mississippi, the Reverend Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association got his hands on a copy of David Wojnarowicz’s exhibition catalogue Tongues of Flame. Here was something the preacher could use: raw material to further the Lord’s work of killing the National Endowment for the Arts. He would testify later that the catalogue made him “kind of sick at [his] stomach.” Still, Wildmon doggedly went on looking for the naughty bits. These assorted homo- and heterosexual images were fragments of much larger pieces, but the heck with the larger pieces; the heck with what the work meant. Tax dollars had paid for a catalogue with 14 depictions of sex! And the artist was an admitted homosexual! Now Wildmon had proof of an NEA transgression to mail to Congress, and the media, and 100 Christian television stations/1,000 Christian radio stations/3,200 Christian leaders/178,000

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