14 Nova L. Rev. 317 (1989-1990)
Tax-Paid Obscenity

handle is hein.journals/novalr14 and id is 325 raw text is: Art, The First Amendment, and the NEA
Tax-Paid Obscenity
Jesse Helms*
America has been caught up in a struggle between those who sup-
port values rooted in Judeo-Christian morality and those who would
discard those values in favor of a radical moral relativism. As Con-
gressman Henry Hyde has said, the relativism in question is as abso-
lutist and as condescendingly self-righteous as any 16th century [Span-
ish] inquisitor.
For my part, I have focused on the federal government's role in
supporting the moral relativists to the detriment of the religious com-
munity. I confess that I was shocked and outraged last year when I
learned that'the federal government had funded an artist who had
put a crucifix in a bottle of his urine, photographed it, and gave it the
mocking title, Piss Christ. Obviously, he went out of his way to insult
the Christian community, which was compounded by the fact that
Christian taxpayers had been forced to pay for it.
As one distinguished federal judge wrote in a personal letter to
when a federally-funded artist creates an anti-Christian piece of so-
called art, it is a violation of an important part of the First Amend-
ment which guarantees the right of all religious faiths to be free
from governmentally-sanctioned criticism. When the National En-
dowment for the Arts contributes money to an artist for him to use
to dip a crucifix in his own urine for public display, it is no differ-
ent [in terms of church and state entanglement] from a municipal-
ity's spending taxpayers' money for putting a crucifix on the top of
* Senator Helms represents North Carolina in the United States Senate. He is
the Minority Leader of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, a member of the Committee
on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and a member of the Select Committee on Eth-
ics and the Rules Committee.

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