St Paul’s Church in Malmö Sweden changed its mind a few days after installing Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin’s Paradise as an altarpiece and took it down. The painting depicts two gay couples in the Garden of Eden instead of the traditional Adam and Eve. We liked to think of them as Adam & Steve and Madam & Eve.
The church board issued a statement denying they removed the painting because of homophobia.
“The Swedish Church keeps the LGBTQ issues high on the agenda.”
It also describes itself as “one of the first churches in the world to marry same-sex couples.”
St Paul’s is well-known for its support of the LGBTIQ communities.
“Right now we plan, among other things, for participation in the annual Pride festival in June.”
Adam & Steve, Madam & Eve and the snake
The board explained that after the installation of the painting, further inspection revealed the depiction of the snake.
She’s actually a little difficult to miss.
She’s smack bang in the middle up the tree; a trans woman taking the place of the traditional snake.
She’s not exactly hiding.
However, apparently the church board never noticed her until after the painting went up.
Because the snake traditionally represents evil, the church board worried some may interpret the painting to mean that transwomen are evil.
That seems very unlikely considering the frequent celebration of diverse identity in the paintings and photographs of Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin.
A local Christian magazine also did not believe the trans person represented evil.
In fact, they complained the painting portrayed the snake/transwoman in a positive light incompatible with normal biblical tradition.
But the church removed the painting nevertheless, promising to install it somewhere else in the building.
A sceptical Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin immediately set to work on a new painting, minus the snake, for the church.
While we wait for her to finish that, check out some more of her controversial artwork below.
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