The “art” of MN anti-gay marriage DVDs?

The (now former) artist-in-residence at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis has cooked up what she sees as a creative response to DVDs opposing gay marriage being sent to the Catholics of Minnesota by the state's bishops: art. Although Lucinda Naylor hasn't decided what she will make–it depends on how many DVDs she gets.

"I’d love to make a large sculpture–probably something rather flame or water like–since both are important Catholic symbols of the Holy Spirit," she told the Minnesota Independent. Her work-in-progress has already cost her a third of her income after she was suspended from the Basilica for her plan. Naylor has created a Facebook page to promote DVD collection.

Naylor said she decided on the project after hearing that Catholic mothers of gay children had written Minneapolls Archbishop John Nienstedt to ask him to "open his heart" on the issue of homosexuality only to receive "form letters that called into question their very salvation," according to Naylor. (I've heard from other Catholic parents of GLBT children that they got much the same response from their bishops.)

This is the very definition of unintended consequences. I don't know what sending out these kinds of DVDs is really going to accomplish–I'd be surprised if any Minnesota Catholic was unaware of church teaching regarding gay marriage, and I doubt anyone is going to bother to pop in a DVD so the Knights of Columbus can tell them what they already know. And Nienstedt is unfortunately looking brazenly partisan, since the only anti-gay marriage candidate for governor is the Republican. I don't even think you have to support gay marriage to think this wasn't a good idea.

As for Naylor's suspension: It's important to think before you hire an artist, especially since they have a tendency to actually make art that challenges us to rethink our priorities. Besides, regardless of what you think of the content, most of those DVDs will end up in a landfill anyway. Naylor might as well make something beautiful out of them.

About the author

Bryan Cones

Bryan Cones is a writer living in Chicago.