Strange, creepy, and a waste of good chocolate. That’s how I would characterise this sculpture, My Sweet Lord, by artist Cosimo Cavallaro. It wasn’t quite as wasteful as his prior work – spraying 10,000 pounds of cheese over the entire interior of a Wyoming house – but a waste nonetheless.

The chocolate Jesus (which reminds me of the Billy Idol song Plastic Jesus) certainly is controversial. The Guardian reports this morning that the sculpture has now been pulled by the Roger Smith Hotel, where it was on display, after receiving a plethora of calls and visiting protestors who were angry about it. The Catholic League is one of the groups opposing the sculpture: its leaders feel that the sculpture is offensive to Christians.

Well, now. Offensive it may be. But isn’t there such a thing as free speech? It appears to be intentionally controversial, and that’s a basic right. I despise groups like the Catholic League for protesting such a thing. I don’t like the sculpture personally and, as I said above, I find it very odd (we could certainly have done without the chocolate penis; it reminds me of a corny novelty gift). But I certainly don’t find it offensive and I never cease to be amazed at how many people claim to be offended at all sorts of things like this – Christians are among the worst ‘offenders’ using this tactic for getting what they want – and it seems to me that everyone could do with growing up and learning to live with people who disagree about what things to be reverent about or not. Nobody was forcing any Christian to look at the display, or to lick its sweet feet, or even to talk about it or acknowledge its existence. These imbeciles are spoiling for a fight, it seems.

That said, there is another consideration that must be made, of necessity, by libertarians like me in situations like this. The Roger Smith Hotel where High-Calorie Jesus was on display is a private business. It was their own voluntary arrangement with the artist that permitted him to display his curious confectionary crucifix in their lobby. If Cavallaro wants to buy some property, open his own art gallery and create an entire nativity scene out of marshmallows and fudge like some kind of Willy Wonka utopia, that’s his own right, and he should be entirely free to do that.

It wasn’t the Catholic League that removed the sculpture. (Although I wouldn’t have put it past any of them to come in with a Bunsen Burner and torch the thing to the ground if all else failed.) It was a hotel, which concluded that they would lose business over it. This is the perfect place to define rights, and to define freedom. The artist is free to create his art. The hotel is free to display it in their building. The Catholic League is free to piss and moan about it. The hotel is free to kick him out when they find that they’re losing business over it. And the artist is free to apply elsewhere for display, or to open his own gallery. Incredibly, the government in this case appears to be blame-free from a libertarian perspective. They’ve simply allowed free people to make free decisions in this free country.

Now. Isn’t freedom a wonderful thing?

John Wright