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Smithsonian removes piece from exhibit after pressure from conservatives

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The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery reportedly removed a piece of video art by David Wojnarowicz titled "A Fire In My Belly," which contained images of ants crawling over a statue of Jesus and mixed religious and LGBT themes, after coming under fire from the Catholic League and several conservative politicians. According to ABC News:

Catholic League President Bill Donohue said the video… was "hate speech" and designed to insult Christians.

After he was alerted to the piece Monday night by a New York Post reporter, Donohue began a campaign to urge Congress to cut public funding for the Smithsonian museum complex…

"This is not the first time the Smithsonian has offended us," he said. "I'm going to cast my net much wider. Why should the government pay for this? … How dare they take our money to fund attacks on (our religion)."

It should be noted here that the funding the Smithsonian receives only goes to support staff and facilities. But why let a silly thing like reason hamper a wonderful bout of righteous anger? Of course, Bill Donohue wasn't the only person upset over the video — which was intended to portray the pain the artist felt while dying of AIDS. Take it away, soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner:

American families have a right to expect better from recipients of taxpayer funds in a tough economy… Smithsonian officials should either acknowledge the mistake and correct it, or be prepared to face tough scrutiny beginning in January when the new majority in the House moves to end the job-killing spending spree in Washington.

That noise you hear is yourself, screaming! Nothing like elected officials threatening to de-fund cultural institutions because of art they find objectionable to start off the day, eh? Even when those funds don't have any effect on exhibits, which are privately funded. Rep. Boehner and Donohue are welcome to hate the piece as much as they like; this situation is sounding a bit more sinister.

And you can watch the video itself here. Warning: it's not safe for work.