Religious Art Banned for Easter Event by Laguna Beach City Planning Commission
After a difficult week of getting approval from the Festival of Arts to hang the Psalms Banner in front of the Festival grounds, the final hurdle was approval by the city.
That hurdle was denied, and not because it isn't a beautiful piece of art.
The request to display the 18 foot tall banner art of Psalms, a color study for the Psalms painting from the Freedom ART Project, in front of the Festival of Arts grounds to help announce the celebration of Easter, there at the Irvine Bowl, was rejected for reason of religious content and scale, by the Laguna Beach City Planning Commission, Wednesday Night, March 24th at the Laguna Beach City Hall. The banner, which is being used for the stage of the Easter Sunrise Service, was reduced in size for printing to fit existing banner frames in front of the Festival of Arts public park grounds. As one Commission member stated, "I’d like to see this banner hanging on Calvary Chapel. I think that would be appropriate up there, with some kind of signage indicating that there will be a service at the Festival grounds. I don’t think it’s appropriate to hang religious signs or symbols on the façade of a public park.", several other members concurred. One stating that it was just too big (since the banner size itself is one foot shorter than banners usually displayed in previous Easter events and secular art events, it is my contention that he was referring to the size of the cross in the banner in question). As another commission member said, "And uh this particular proposal also has a number of other religious aspects
that could be problematic." The issue of it possibly being a matter of "separation of church and state" was also an interesting take
Well - that may be so, here in Laguna Beach, a town proud for its tolerance and for its recognition as an artist community / colony with its museum, art festivals, and studio zoning and diverse religious practices from various Christian denominations, eastern practices, to secular humanism. The press was at the hearing and newspapers are coming off the press with the story. Links at the right will carry copies of the articles. Feel free to send these out to as many people as you wish if you feel that this sounds like an issue of discrimination. Contact links to the local paper and to the members of the Laguna Beach Planning Committee and City Councils are linked also at right in case you feel the urge to write and politely express your thoughts on the matter.