The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that there is no constitutional prohibition against Congress setting decency standards for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Catholic League president William Donohue was delighted with the decision:
“It was due to the elitism and the moral depravity of the artistic community that this issue was raised in the first place.
“Virtually every other segment of the population understands that when the public is forced to pay for goods or services, public accountability is expected to follow in train. Not so with artists. In their supreme arrogance, they believe that they have a right to empty a man’s pockets to pay for their work without ever submitting themselves to public scrutiny. Moreover, the average museum buff comes disproportionately from the ranks of the upper-class, meaning that the poor are coerced into paying for the leisure of the rich. This is a form of classism and privileging that real democrats should abhor. Indeed, in the interest of fairness to the poor, a better case could be made to subsidize professional wrestling than funding the arts.
“The Supreme Court saw through the bogus argument that First Amendment rights are violated when public monies are denied to those who trash the culture. The Karen Finleys of this world who are bent on making a spectacle of themselves have every right to find private sources of funding for their depravity, but they have no constitutional lien on the public purse. In short, this is a victory for common sense, as well as decency, and it does absolutely nothing to endanger freedom of speech.
“The Catholic League will now increase its efforts to halt NEA funding of the Manhattan Theatre Club, the producer of the gay Jesus play, ‘Corpus Christi.’”