The centuries-old tradition of representing a mother—be it an ancient goddess, the Virgin Mary, or a 17th century Dutch housewife—nursing a child apparently did not stop Lubbock City officials from banning a drawing of a (fully clothed) nursing mother together with a companion piece representing a pregnant female nude.
In banning the work, public officials have not only violated First Amendment principles, they have also perpetuated the perception that the sight of a nursing mother or of a nude body are something shameful, if not obscene.
Surely, when it comes to art, everyone is entitled to their personal likes and dislikes. Parents can choose whether to take their children to a cultural center or gallery. However, it is not the role of public officials to enforce their own beliefs on the whole diverse community.
Under the pretext of “good judgment,” supposedly in the name of children, city officials might well decide the censor anything they don’t like – from a drawing of a nursing child to a work of political satire – while in the meantime chilling an even wider variety of work in all mediums of expression. That is why the Constitution protects expression independently of the “good judgment” of public officials.
Lubbock City officials should review their museum practices so that they conform to the founding American value of respect for free expression.
You may view the censored artwork below.
Artist’s website: http://www.lahibjaddo.com/