Would You Wash bin Laden’s Feet?

Servant to the World

Would you wash the feet of Saudi terrorist, supposed Al Qaeda founder, and alleged 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden?

That’s the question implicit in the above piece of Christian art titled Servant to the World. Created by artist Lars Justinen, the image depicts Jesus Christ, dressed in the manner described in his Last Supper of John 13, washing the feet of prominent world leaders: Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, former British PM Tony Blair, Manmohan Singh, prime minister of India. In His hands is the right foot of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

In the implied sequence, bin Laden is next. He’s seated beside George Bush, President of the United States, the very man who has promised to hunt him down.

For most, the question of whether or not one would was bin Laden’s feet forms only a curious but brief intellectual exercise. But for the world’s 2.1 billion Christians, it is a hypothetical query with utterly fundamental meaning and reach. It delves to the very roots of Christian self-concept, to the idea that Christ has deemed each follower of Him a servant of all, without any regard to caste, creed, or categorization.

It is also the question that Brad and Dorothee Cole of Heavenly Sanctuary ministries put to Portland OR residents this past November. They used the image, which they’d commissioned, to promote their Good News Tour 2007 in that city. The results were astonishing—and controversial.

The Coles, along with artist Lars Justinen, will be guests on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, May 2, at 2 pm ET.

I Don’t Want to Blow You Up! artBut first, we’ll speak with Ricardo Cortés and F. Bowman Hastie III, creators of the coloring book, I Don’t Want to Blow You Up! The text illuminates the issue of people in the U.S. and elsewhere who, particularly post-9/11, “are taunted as ‘terrorists’ and ‘Osama bin Laden’ simply because they look Middle Eastern or have an Arabic name.” (A reader’s guide can also be downloaded for free.)

The duo describe their book as

a tool for addressing a difficult and sensitive topic of discussion with kids who have already indicated some degree of concern or fear themselves, or who have had the experience of being the “suspect.” … We’re trying to promote the idea that when you meet someone, you should give them benefit of the doubt and assume they’re a good, loving person.

As well, Blow You Up! is published by Cortés’s independent Magic Propaganda Mill company. We last had him on NONFICTION to talk about his 2005 book, It’s Just a Plant: A Children’s Story of Marijuana.

You can hear NONFICTION by tuning in to 99.5 FM at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, you can check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archive for up to two weeks after broadcast.



#1 sean jin on 05.03.08 at 12:02 am

holy carp

this man makes the best books

#2 macon d on 05.04.08 at 5:34 pm

Thanks for this fascinating post, Harry. I sure do look forward to the day when you get a podcast up and going!

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