The letters and emails come in a daily tide. Filth! they cry. Shame on you ; You
are a very sick person ; The soul that sinneth shall DIE . For the past six months, the head of Glasgow's museums and art has been under siege from Christian fundamentalists, who have vowed to oust her from her job.
Dr Bridget McConnell, head of Culture and Sport Glasgow (CSG), the £100 million charity in charge of the city's culture, says she is alarmed by what she describes as a personal witch hunt against her.
It is almost like being physically abused, she said. You get knocked down by it every day and you pick yourself up, but then you come in the next morning and it happens all over again. It's attrition.
Since July, when a row broke out over an art exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) featuring homosexuality and religion in which comments were written on a Bible, Dr McConnell — whose organisation funded the exhibition — has been targeted
by an organised group of protesters. Related Links
She has received up to 2,000 letters, e-mails and phone calls attacking her and objecting to the art show. There have been petitions and personal visits to her office. Her office has been routinely picketed by groups with a loud hailer, calling
upon her to repent, and her staff have been harassed.
Police are known to be concerned at the targeting of Dr McConnell and on at least one occasion officers had to be called to demonstrations outside the art gallery when staff were seriously intimidated .
On a website linked to an English organisation called Christian Watch, www.csgwatch.com, the campaigners openly declare their intention is to have Dr McConnell removed from her post.
The controversy began last summer as a result of an exhibition called sh[OUT]!, which contained works by renowned artists such as David Hockney and Robert Mapplethorpe, and had as its theme the representation of gay people in art. The exhibition
was part of a wider contemporary art programme on themes including violence against women and sectarianism. A secondary exhibition within sh[OUT], called Made in God's Image, invited visitors who felt excluded from the Bible, especially on the
ground of sexual orientation, to record their names in its margins.
But some people recorded doodles and obscenities. The Bible was placed behind glass but the story reached the newspapers where, in Dr McConnell's view, it was distorted by parts of the media to suggest that people were being actively encouraged to
deface the Bible. The story was picked up by the international media and stirred outrage around the world. The majority of people who are complaining didn't see the exhibition, but were responding to the Daily Mail story, she said.
On the website set up by Christian Watch, www.csgwatch.com, the protesters state their aim is to stop the city supporting events and programmes that insult Christ, the Bible, Christians and to have Bridget McConnell removed from her position