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Tuesday, June 18, 2013 | 9:11 p.m.
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Posted: 4:11 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, 2012
By Kerry Kavanaugh
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —
A Gwinnett County artist said he is the victim of censorship after a library took down his exhibit featuring eight prominent televangelists. The exhibit includes famous pastors Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen. Lawrenceville artist Ralph Beach told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh his work is an expression of his faith. He said when the Grayson Public Library offered to display his pencil-sketched portraits, he jumped at the chance. Beach said the library was fully aware of what he would be hanging. "I had emailed them several of the pictures," Beach said. He said he hung the sketches on Saturday, July 7. Beach said they were to remain on display through Aug. 11, but in a matter of days he got a call telling him they needed to come down. "You can do anything you want but you just can't say 'Jesus.' And in the Bible belt, that's ridiculous," he said. Beach said the library told him a patron complained that they were offensive and non-inclusive. He said the collection had already been taken down when he went to retrieve them Saturday. "Where does it stop? Where does censorship stop?" Beach said. Beach said his art isn't designed to exclude anyone, but he does admit he hopes it encourages people to examine their Christian faith. "My purpose is to have someone look at them and say, 'Oh man, I didn't read my Bible' or 'Let me look at my Bible,'" he said. Kavanaugh reached out to Gwinnett County Public Library officials for comment on both placing and removing the art exhibit, but she has not yet received their response. Beach said the library offered to let him hang a replacement exhibit, but he was interested at the time.
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