Christian right group wants indictments over partially nude sculpture

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A chapter of the right-wing American Family Association wants a grand jury to investigate and indict those responsible for the placement of a bronze sculpture of a partially nude woman taking a self photograph.

The sculpture is part of an exhibit in the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Center outside Kansas City. Last November, 11 life-size bronze sculptures were created and donated to the park, including one of a young, bare-breasted woman taking a photograph of herself.

Earlier this summer, resident Joanne Hughes launched a Change.org petition drive demanding the removal of the sculpture by artist Yu Chang.

Hughes, in the petition, wrote, “The Overland Park City Council approved and installed an inappropriate sculpture in the Overland Park Arboretum. The sculpture (called ‘Choice’ by Yu Chang) is of a headless naked woman with her breasts exposed, taking a picture of herself. The message this piece sends to the children and young adults in our community has the potential to be destructive. With all the problems we are having with sexting in our youth culture, do we really want to be encouraging children and teenagers to take nude photos of themselves? In addition, there is no warning of the sculpture's offensive nature for parents, teachers, and adults wishing to avoid something like this.

“The audience at the Overland Park Arboretum is not the appropriate audience for this piece of art. This piece is too mature for young eyes, and does not belong in a nature park where children frequently visit.”

The AFA of Kansas and Missouri have since taken up the cause, collecting nearly 5,000 signatures on a petition to have a Johnson County, Kan., judge convene a grand jury to investigate.

Philip Cosby of the AFA, in an interview with a Fox News affiliate, said, the installation celebrated sexting and “there is something basically wrong with this sculpture.”

Cosby said the grand jury should indict the officials who agreed to install the sculpture and also remove the art from the park.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said his office would not be advising the grand jury on the matter. “Ultimately the grand jury will be speaking on behalf of the community in making this decision,” he said.