A controversial painting purportedly depicting an artist’s interpretation of the Garden of Eden was unveiled by the Church of Sweden earlier this week.
Titled Paradise, the painting shows same-sex couples frolicking in the Garden of God, lost in the throes of their earthly desires. The painting was funded by the Swedish government via their state-sponsored public television broadcaster SVT. Other images in the series the painting is from depict Jesus as a cross-dresser and a transgender.
Paradise has been hung over the altar of St. Paul’s church in Malmö. The painting was unveiled during the church’s celebration for the first week of Advent.
The painting itself is a reinvention (or, as this publication would suggest, a plagiarism) of Lucas Cranarch’s work Adam and Eve. In this reboot, there are two gay “Adams” and two lesbian “Eves”.
Paradise is just one piece that was part of a larger exhibit, “Ecce Homo” (Latin for “behold the man” a reference to Pontius Pilate introducing Jesus prior to his crucifixion). All paintings in the exhibit desecrate the traditions of the Christian community by injecting liberal social science theories.
Among the other sacrilegious images were pictures of Jesus depicted as a gay or transgender person, or showed the Son of God walking among his disciples who were dressed in drag, in same-sex relationships, or identified by the artist as transvestites. The artist responsible for these images, Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin, describes her work as one of inclusion rather than sacrilege. Swedes, on the other hand, are torn between the two descriptions and many are outraged at the destruction of tradition.
This is not the first time that the Church of Sweden has made controversial policy changes. In 2017, the church changed its official policy concerning the masculinity of God, demanding that priests of the church stop using masculine pronouns. God, the church argued, is just as much our mother as our father, and therefore gender-neutral pronouns should replace tradition.
The Church of Sweden is a national church representing the ethnic group of Christian Swedes. Until 2000, when Sweden ceased recognizing itself as a Christian nation, the church was the state-sponsored denomination of Christianity.
In 2009, the national church chose to perform religious ceremonies for same-sex couples, an evolution of their 2007 policy of offering blessings to same-sex couples that had undergone the process of forming a civil union.