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German “artist” Alexander Karl has been fined
700 euros by a Saarbrücken district court for his push-up “performance”
on the altar of the local St. John’s Catholic parish, reports the “German
Wave” radio site.
The 38-year-old Saar College of Fine Arts
graduate insulted the feelings of believers and sanctity of altars by
ignoring that the altar was roped off, climbing upon the altar table
itself, and doing twenty-seven push-ups on camera,
later to be posted online and shown at an exhibition.
Karl says his workout session was a work of
art, not intended to offend Christians, but “to explore the relationship
between religion and the need to meet the high demands of our times.”
The Catholic Church, however, has regarded
the action precisely as an offense and brought the man to court.
“The Christian faith also has the right to a respectful attitude,” stated parish rector Eugen Vogt.
On January 17, Karl was ordered to pay the fine of 700 euros and to absorb the relevant court costs.
“Equating the altar with a gym wall is
objectively disrespectful,” said Judge Judith Simon, adding that
“creative freedom protected by law is not unlimited, inasmuch as the
rights of other people are its limits,” and “the right of
religious freedom is also protected by law.”