Austria

Biblical buggery offends archbishop

Austrian Christians, determined to show that no religious group has a monopoly when it comes to irrational threats, have whipped themselves into a frenzy of outrage over a black and white etching by Alfred Hrdlicka which was displayed at an Archdiocese of Vienna museum.

Hrdlickas rendition of the Last Supper shows Jesus and his disciples engaged in sex acts on the table where the Bible says they shared a final meal before Christs crucifixion.

The exhibitions curator, Michael Kaufmann, said today: Ive even seen web postings from extremists who have threatened to come to Vienna and blow up its museums with Molotov cocktails.

The 80-year-old artist drew the picture in 1984 as a tribute to Pier Paolo Pasolini whose treatment of religious themes in his films put him at odds with the Catholic church.

According to Bernhard Boehler, the director of the museum: The protests came primarily out of fundamentalist Christian circles in the USA and Germany. There is a long dialogue between art and the church. For the church, the quality is decisive - not the piety of the artwork.

Not any more, it appears. Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, ordered the offending artwork to be removed. It has now been moved to the private Ernst Hilger gallery.

Irving released

Holocaust denier, David Irving has been released (via) after an Austrian court reduced his three year prison sentence for Holocaust denial.

The Regional High Court in Vienna upheld an appeal by Irving yesterday, converting into probation the three-year sentence handed down last February. Irving, 68, was arrested in November last year during a visit to Austria on a warrant dating back to 1989, when he held two lectures in Austria denying the existence of death camps and the organised mass murder of Jews during Nazi rule. He was held under a 1992 law that makes denial of the Holocaust a crime.

Frankly, its good that hes out. Irving is an idiot and a proven liar. As such, his claims are best dealt with by allowing a real historian to pull them apart rather than trying to hide them away in some cell.

Irving jailed

Disgraced historian, David Irving has been jailed for three years for Holocaust denial by an Austrian court.

Author and academic, Deborah Lipstadt who has previously called Irving a Holocaust denier and who he unsuccessfully sued in 2000 said she was dismayed.

I am not happy when censorship wins, and I dont believe in winning battles via censorship The way of fighting Holocaust deniers is with history and with truth, she told the BBC News website.

We shouldnt be making martyrs out of idiots like Irving. We should be revealing them for the small minded bigots that they are.