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Published:January 18th, 2009 16:28 EST
virgin mary,

Fashion Designer Dresses Buxom Models Like Virgin Mary

By Robert Paul Reyes

"A prominent fashion designer has sparked outrage in Chile by dressing up models like the Virgin Mary -- in some cases with ample, near-naked breasts.

The Roman Catholic Church condemned Ricardo Oyarzun`s plans for a show featuring the models, and a conservative group tried unsuccessfully to block it in court.

Oyarzun said he had received telephone threats and had excrement smeared on his doorstep."

Monica Vargas/Reuters

Artistic expression, even when it`s sacrilegious or profane, should never be banned or curtailed in any way. The Roman Catholic Church has the right to condemn any work of art that offends its sensibilities, but conservative groups are out of line when they tried to block it in court.

The Catholic Church should be condemned and ridiculed for treating women like second-class citizens, but it`s childish and counterproductive to insult one of its most sacred icons.

I don`t see any legitimate artistic reason for dressing up models like the Virgin Mary, and I join the chorus of those who find his Virgin Mary themed show distasteful. But Oyarzun has a right to dress up his models like cartoon characters, tramps or the Virgin Mary.

Oyarzun is probably congratulating himself for his courage, but it doesn`t take any bravery to insult the Catholic Church. Catholics aren`t going to respond to his slight by bombing his home or shooting his models. If Oyarzun wants to make a statement about artistic freedom why doesn`t he dress his male models like the Prophet Mohammad?

As a freethinker who often speaks out the excess of organized religion, I have written countless essays condemning and ridiculing the foibles and sins of televangelists, but I have also penned many essays castigating Islamic fundamentalists.

Someone like Oyarzun thrives on attention, it would serve the interests of the Catholic Church to simply ignore him.