A man in Spain was fined almost $600 for photoshopping his face on the body of a famous depiction of Jesus. His crime? An “attack against religious feelings.”
The sentence was verbally dictated by judges on Wednesday after Serrano plead guilty to the charges and agreed to pay the €480 in damages.
That particular depiction of the crucifixion of Christ is known in the south of Spain as the Cristo de la Amargura (Christ of Bitterness). It belongs to the Hermandad de La Amargura (the Church Brotherhood of Bitterness), who take part in Seville’s Easter week parade with the Cristo de la Amargura.
According to the Spanish daily El Pais, the brotherhood asked Serrano to remove the picture on various occasions. But after not getting an answer, they decided to take him to court.
The “Brotherhood of Bitterness” lived up to its name. The church was so offended by an altered photograph of their statue, something that in the U.S. would likely be completely fine under free speech or satire laws, that they decided to take the man to court… over a joke.
If I had to pay almost $600 every time I hurt some religious person’s feelings, I’d be in even more debt than I already am. Unfortunately for Serrano, he also doesn’t even have the money.
In an interview with local newspaper Diario Jaen, Serrano said he wasn’t sure how he would pay the fine.
He said he just started working in the field picking olives to make olive oil said it would take 10 shifts in the field to pay back the fine.
Serrano said he pleaded guilty to avoid paying the initial fine of €2,160.
“But I never intended to offend anyone,” he added.
The prosecution said Serrano’s image was an “embarrassing manipulation of Christ’s face,” and that it clearly showed he had “contempt and mockery towards the religious brotherhood.” I don’t see it.
To me, the picture looks like a harmless face swap done in good fun, and it really doesn’t seem like Serrano had evil motives. He just did what many of us would do in the same position. Now he has to pay more money than he can afford, and all because some uptight church was offended. How is that fair? (Incidentally, a leftist political party has begun raising money to cover the fine on Serrano’s behalf.)
(Image via Shutterstock)