"God Is Dead" Art Removal Proves Arthur Miller Right

A campaign to remove the phrase "God Is Dead" from a mural discussing The Crucible only proves Arthur Miller's theme in the play.

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Recently, a mother was up in arms over the appearance of the phrase "God Is Dead" in mural on a high school wall in an Atlanta suburb, because she said the work offended her 10th grade daughter.  The artwork, and phrase, referred to Arthur Miller's seminal play The Crucible, in particular the lead villain Abigail Williams.  Unfortunately, rather than being the responsible parent and either explaining The Crucible or wondering why her daughter is not reading in her English class, Crystal Mitchell decided to campaign for the removal of the artwork from a Newton County school, claiming further that it essentially offended her "Christian" sensibilities.  Now, the artwork is gone, thanks to Mitchell and her supporters.

To give some understanding as to why "God Is Dead" would be in this artwork, here is a video showing the scene in The Crucible where the quote is uttered.

This is not some phrase which is spoken with little meaning.  The character who utters it has just been betrayed by his own ally, after attempting to expose the witchcraft trials as false.  These are the words of an enraged man, betrayed by those he trusted most, all for the sake of furthering someone else's conformity.  Its correlation with what Arthur Miller saw in the McCarthy hearings is something that could clearly be seen here.

To Crystal Mitchell, though, this is meaningless.  As a "Christian," Mitchell probably never read The Crucible, or barely remembers anything from it if she did.  That this message of "God is dead" so blatantly offends Mitchell is not because she is a Christian.  Christians handled such mockery in the past—even though such a phrase here is clearly not a mockery—with intelligence, grace, and patience.  Mitchell is so offended because she is a "Christian," a person who treats her religion less as a guide to understanding to the world around her than a "community" from which she conforms her thoughts and follows rules.

A Christian response to artwork that says "God is dead" is not to censor it, but to understand its meaning, and challenge it if necessary.  For Crystal Mitchell and her "Christian" supporters in Newton County, that is impossible, for any negative remark about God, regardless of the context, is an offense to their community, which is their religion.  If anything, Crystal Mitchell's campaign against a high school mural ironically proves Arthur Miller right in one aspect:  That people will seek to smash out difference in the name of conformity, even if that difference is insignificant.

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