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Recently I was asked to accompany a soloist at a wedding. It was a mormon wedding, actually, but for some reason they had it in the Catholic Church, a beautiful building with murals and stained glass. Now I've sung in an uncountable number of churches from my days when I was touring with The American Boychoir (at least 100), but I hadn't been in a building like this for quite a while, so I took extra time to look around and observe all the details of how the Sanctuary was decorated.

I almost immediately felt queasy from all the detailed sculptures depicting Jesus being made to carry his cross, crucified, and stabbed in the side with a spear. I never remembered seeing any depictions of this intensity before, but most of the Churches I sang in were Protestant. The level of greusome violence so vividly recreated here was honestly upsetting to me, and I don't by any means go out of my way to be offended. But that's their prerogative, far be it for me to chastize them for it.

Then I noticed something else: in every picture and every sculpture, great care was taken to ensure that the loose cloth acting as Christ's only shield from the elements always completely covered his crotch. That seemed terribly ironic to me: uncountable sculptures and paintings recreate the event of Christ's crucifixion, (arguably) the most inhumane method of torture ever known to humankind. A gallows or a guillotine aren't nearly as cruel, as executions go, and yet how odd sculptures of those events in public places would seem! Even though crosses are sprinkled through churches like confetti, full exposure of the human body is avoided, as if it is sinful. They'll show their kids pictures of ultimate suffering and call the holiday "good," but they won't show them a picture of a human body without at least part of it covered up. They become indignant over the violence that Hollywood hands us, but it seems they more than make up for it with all the images they witness on Sunday morning.

This seems odd to me.

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