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International Outrage Erupts Over Exhibit Depicting 'Virgin Mary' in a...Bikini

"Our Lady of Guadalupe"

Critics are taking issue with a new art exhibit that depicts Our Lady of Guadalupe in a floral bikini. The photomontage, created by Alma Lopez, a University of California at Irvine graduate, is under attack before the exhibit has even begun. The project, entitled, "Our Lady and Other Queer Santas," will be showcased during an upcoming conference at Ireland's University College Cork.

Irish Central's Daniel O'Carroll has more:

The conference is to discuss the ins and outs of Chicano culture, alongside a discussion of the plight of Mexicans in US culture, but it's the exhibit that has been making the headlines recently, and attracting the critics...

The exhibit sits very broadly within the context of a larger debate in Irish society about blasphemy itself.

A controversial 'Blasphemy Law' was passed at the start of this year, and was decried as a retrograde step by many in the Irish media at the time.

In July 2009, the Irish parliament passed the controversial blasphemy initiative. According to ABC News, it states:

"A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding 25,000 euro."

"...a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if (a) he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion, and (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage."

With the conference opening tomorrow and with Catholic Bishops and adherents up in arms, there's no telling how the situation will end. Also, one wonders if, under Irish law, the artwork qualifies as "blasphemy." According to critics it does, indeed, cause outrage and insult the Christian faith.

What do you think? Are people over-reacting or is this truly a blasphemous act (and even if it is, do people deserve to be held legally accountable)? You can view some of the artwork here (the image we've shown above is cropped to remove nudity).

One last thing…
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