Smithsonian Gallery Removes Offensive Video

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The Smithsonian Institute's National Portrait Gallery removed a video it had on display Tuesday after a Catholic group complained it showed images offensive to Christians.

The video showed ants swarming over Jesus on a crucifix. Catholic and other conservative groups protested the display.

"This is not the first time the Smithsonian has offended us," Catholic League President Bill Donohue 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)."

National Portrait Gallery Director Martin Sullivan said in a statement that the video made by artist David Wojnarowicz was intended to depict the suffering of an AIDS victim. He noted that the museum did not intend to offend anyone.

"The video was made when the artist was suffering with AIDS in Mexico in the 1980s," Sullivan said. "Part of the idea is that humans are made in Christ's image and that we're all going back into the earth, that we're decaying," he said.

House Speaker-elect John Boehner, R-Ohio, had also suggested Tuesday that the Smithsonian would face close scrutiny from the next Congress if the video remained on display.

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