The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), National Public Radio (NPR), and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), are all subsidized by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The Trump administration is right to propose a budget that completely guts these entities of federal funding. That is why I am asking members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to honor the president’s request.
Justice demands that these agencies should be eliminated: Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for assaults on their religion. Christians constitute roughly 75 percent of the population; Catholics are approximately 25 percent of the total. In the name of “art,” these Americans are expected to pay for irreverent exhibits, but depictions that are reverentialsuch as a nativity scene outside City Hallare denied a dime. It’s time we stopped giving the arts a privileged position and cut their funding. The same is true for publicly funded radio and TV programming that has a history of insulting the majority of Americans.
The CPB was founded in the 1960s, and it has been plagued with problems ever since. In the late 1980s, the NEA funded Andre Serrano’s “Piss Christ” and Robert Mapplethorpe’s “The Perfect Moment.” Serrano took a crucifix and dropped it into a jar of his own urine, branding it art. The NEA gave a Philadelphia museum $30,000 to display graphic homosexual S&M photos taken by Mapplethorpe.
In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is no constitutional prohibition against Congress setting decency standards for the NEA. But attempts by the NEA to enforce grant recipients to sign an anti-obscenity pledge went nowhere. This is why Congress must act.
To show how perverse things have become, President Barack Obama not only approved generous grants to the NEA, he actually included $50 million for the arts as part of his “federal stimulus package.” One of the first beneficiaries was a San Francisco outfit, CounterPULSE. It received $25,000 to pay for employees’ salaries. What did the public get from it? The group hosted “a long-running pansexual performance series” called “Perverts Put Out”; it asked the audience to “Join your fellow pervs for some explicit twisted fun.”