I do custom artwork and I have people who ask me to do religious pieces every now and then. My attitude is like the saying, "Sex Sells." In this case, religion sells. Do you think the fact that I sell religious artwork that I'm perpetuating religion? What's your thought? In the photo is a blanket order I will be making soon of the hippy looking dude.
You are not your client. The choice of subject matter your client commissioned from you reflects your client's taste, not yours.
One interesting twist on this is how you advertise and hold out your business. Do you offer your services to the general public? If so, you just might be a "public accommodation" in which case you should be paying close attention to a certain Supreme Court case concerning a couple fellows who wanted a wedding cake and a Christian baker who said "Nope."
When Michelangelo painted the Sistine chapel I wonder how he felt? I like the fact that he included a few lovely looking boys and even some of the females look male. But hey, if it's good enough for Michelangelo, it's good enough for you. He did it, and took the money from the religiots. Except that he probably would have got killed if they knew he was gay....
That's a really good question. I don't need to hash out both sides of it because you evidently already have and may be looking for validation of your decision hear. Perhaps not. Regardless...I personally do my own art, in a different medium [concrete] and would have a difficult time pouring crucifixes or such. I've tossed it around in my head also and have come to the conclusion that if it's a commission job that I may not really be crazy about, I would just charge enough for the job to make it worth my irritation. Granted, I am in the financial position to do so, so this strategy may not work for folks who need the work to pay the bills. The job will get done regardless of whether it's you or not. So you may as well make the money. Right. But now ...if you're not part of the solution...and all that. I can't really advise you to not take the work on principle or charge more. But that's what I can do in my position. For the record also, I'm a strong anti-religious post-theist. So I would probably take a stand with my price. I actively dislike religion and delusional thinking. If you are not as jaded as I , you may be able to do the work. Whew....!
I can relate to this as both a gardener and an amateur chef. I consider myself to be a gardener and as such, I can help other people with their gardens even if they choose plants I don't like. My skill is in gardening, not choosing plants for people. Similarly, I'm an amateur chef. I can follow a recipe and cook a dish on request even if its not a dish I would choose for myself. I hope that helps.
I sang and played violin for about 3 years at the church I was forced to attend. Came for the coercion; stayed for the community and the learning experience. I got tremendous fulfillment from contributing from my meager store of "talents", and the congregants were effusively grateful.
Performing "religious" music didn't bother me--music is music afa I'm concerned and when you're classically trained you quickly realize that the vast majority of historical music is religious anyway (certainly in the West and probably true of any culture). I didn't take communion or recite any prayers, and no one ever commented or questioned me about it.
Iinitially wrestled with guilt as I felt like an imposter, but that quickly faded away to acceptable levels when I saw how grateful the congregation was for my contributions.
i always worried that if they "found out" they'dturn on me and find a way to characterize me as evil--that was the source of my stress. Internally I felt no conflict:. I was providing a valuable service while immersed in an intimate setting for learning about something very important to people I love, and others I grew to love. I was far enough removed from the bitter lingering aftertaste of my marginally Catholic upbringing (finally!) that I was able to enjoy the experiences and look for meaning and wisdom in some of the teachings (others made me squirm and reminded me why I'm agnostic!).
I quit for totally unrelated reasons, and I'm not interested in going back. I prefer to spend my time on studying Buddhism and Sanatana Dharma and other things at present. All in all, I found it to be a very positive and enriching experience, albeit a somewhat uncomfortable one. I would not recommend it for everyone, and maybe not for anyone. I am a very odd bird.
You are not perpetuating religion. You are simply compromising your own sense of morality in favour of the mighty dollar (and seeking the validation of others for doing so on the basis of "sure it's only the religious i'm fooling". I personally can't give you that validation. The fact that you need it should answer your own question).
The legalists define public accommodations by category: housing, employment, store front services, products for sale, whether you live on site or use bait&switch tactics FAIR TRADE PRACTICES. ... CHURCHES most often exempt from regulating it's membership/employees BUT NOT IF THEY ARE renting space offering secular business. ...in short the blond with a thorns head band is selling Pinocchio as if a real RentaBabe/boy. ....like you are selling wedding cakes personally NOT STOCK decorated. ...finest point of law over our land.....giving away home made cookies on Halloween is merely a matter of conscience. ....I would never do it....I greatly respect Willem Dafoe and Martin Scorsese LAST TEMPTATION OF xist. And Barbara Hershey playing the tattooed nude prostitute. I played Eichmann in GOOD on stage. ...more evil than Hitler or Pol Pot. I would never add to the fiction of religion but would perform real historic character. ....the alleged baby god Jesua Nasoret Jehovah YHWH Ghost Holes = Pinocchio pure fiction never happened on the fake back dated wrong year calendar