Putting Pedophilia On A Pedestal?

September 29, 2005

By Ken Schram

SEATTLE - It's not about the penis.

It's about the not-so-subtle idea of putting pedophilia on a pedestal.

When an art lover left a million dollars to the City of Seattle, it came with the stipulation that the money had to be used for a public fountain.

And the fountain had to include at least one realistic male figure.

No problem there.

The problem is what the Seattle Art Museum came up with: A nude man reaching for a nude boy.

Now, I am all in favor of artistic expression.

I recognize that some art, by its nature, is going to offend some people.

Oh well.

But when public art becomes offensive because it has an aura of pedophilia about it, I see that as a problem.

Remember, this isn't some sculpture that's going to be sequestered away on the fifth floor of a museum.

It's in a park. A public park right on the Seattle waterfront.

Esoteric museum officials can tout the work as representing the vulnerable nature of a father and son all they want.

But a naked guy reaching for a naked kid has far more sordid interpretations in this day and age.

The sculpture might as well be called the priest and the altar boy.

Now, if you think I'm wrong, just some uptight prude, let me know.

But if you think I'm right, then let the Seattle Art Museum know at webmaster@seattleartmuseum.org

Want to share your thoughts with Ken Schram? You can e-mail him at kenschram@komo4news.com

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Mr. Schram,

RE: Commentary http://www.komotv.com/stories/39502.htm

While I agree that the statue Father & Son is a very bad idea and design, I must say I am outraged by your reference to calling the statue "the priest and the altar boy".

I agree that the crisis in the Catholic Church has been and is awful but what does that have to do with this statue - at this time? Pedophilia is not exclusive to priests. In fact, it more commonly occurs within families and involves both young boys and girls.

As an aside, most of the cases of abuse by clergy were cases involving teenage males(homosexual encounters). Please understand me, I am in no way making an excuse for what went on with clergy - I just think your comments were completely out of line and bigoted.

Becky Steffan

cc: Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

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10/05/2005

Ms. Doreen Kaylor
Programming Director for KOMO-TV
140 Fourth Ave. North
Seattle, WA 98109

Dear Ms. Kaylor,

I am appalled at the comments of Ken Schram on September 29th on KOMO-TV. His sarcastic complaint about a piece of public art depicting “a naked guy reaching for a naked kid”, in which he states that it might just as well have been a priest reaching for an alter boy, is absolutely unconscionable! It is difficult to think of a more vile and sweeping indictment of over 42,000 priests devoting their lives to serving the Catholic Church. Mr. Schram has once again demonstrated his arrogant and unmistakable bigotry and dislike of Christians, especially Catholics.

Let me point out that it is a tiny minority of homosexual priests that have molested young males. Of course, this is despicable and gives Catholics reason for shame and soul-searching. Nevertheless, why is the Catholic Church the one that is always getting bashed when the problem is rampant in our sexually obsessed society? I would point you to the editorial, “Shining Light on Teachers who Prey”, in today’s paper. The editorial notes that in the award-winning 2003 series, “Coaches Who Prey”, 98 Washington coaches were found who continued working with youths after being fired or disciplined for sexual conduct. In contrast, the Archdiocese of Seattle has not had a new case of clergy abuse of a minor in the past 18 years!

Mr. Schram would do the public a much greater service if he would simply speak the truth rather than promote his own agenda and bigotry by trashing an institution that has probably done more good in our world over the last 2,000 years than any other institution I can think of!

Sincerely,

Steve Hance

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My comment:

As I mentioned regarding the Ashland Shakespeare Festival: In the past, literary people used the “Jew” as a stock character and never gave it a second thought. Our modern culture, especially the entertainment world, does the same thing with Catholic clergy.

What's more, the Seattle Archdiocese has had no new accusations of child sexual abuse by a member of our archdiocesan clergy during the last 18 years. Perhaps, Ken could direct some of his righteous anger to public schools where these crimes continue to be rampant.

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Upon Thoughtful Reflection...

October 7, 2005

By Ken Schram

The Catholic church created the image, I used it, and priests deserve better.

SEATTLE - Seems more than a few of my fellow Catholics think I'm a jerk and a bigot. Oh, they may have agreed with my criticizing the proposed new Seattle Art Museum sculpture of a naked guy reaching for a naked kid as having an air of pedophilia about it. But they didn't like the comment I made that the sculpture might just as well be called the priest and the altar boy.

Typical was an e-mail I got from Phil Heinzman: "You've used your position...to paint all Catholic priests as pedophiles, and all altar boys as victims." Now, not wanting to think of myself as arrogant, and wondering if I had somehow indicted every Catholic priest, I called the Seattle Archdiocese for some insight. I wasn't called a jerk, but it's clear the archdiocese took my remark as perpetuating the stereotypical image of priests as pedophiles. I was told that priests have called the archdiocese, hurt by what I said and the message they felt in conveyed.

Now, I know a lot of good priests; decent men dedicated to their parishioners and their religion. And I do feel badly that they - and all the other good priests I don't personally know - are tainted by an image that the church helped create, and to which I made a reference. The Catholic Church has allowed itself to be identified, in part, by a scandal of its own making. I used that to make a point. But just as good priests certainly deserved better from the church, they were entitled to more thoughtful reflection from me.

Want to share your thoughts with Ken Schram? You can e-mail him at kenschram@komo4news.com

email exchange with Ken Schram