Open Response and Challenge for Clarification

By Kerry Sword
January 15, 2018

I have decided to write a general statement to help clarify and correct several comments here that are misleading about what has actually been transpiring at Freed-Hardeman University in the art and photography classes. I am seeing several posts with fallacious statements such as “the text book they are using is fine with nothing lewd or graphic,” “Nudity is shown in a respectful manner,” “What about the nursing program, or anatomy class?”, and such similar statements. I would first and foremost encourage everyone to read through the materials posted at the following site: <>, before making such unwarranted comments.

Following your thorough investigation of what is contained in those pages, I would then ask you to investigate and contact the school directly and ask them directly if they have been indeed doing the things mentioned. I have respect enough in the administration and faculty to believe that they will not deny these facts. Indeed, no one from the beginning has denied that these things are taking place; to the contrary, they are using unbiblical argumentation to justify the practices. Nevertheless, PLEASE do the research before making misleading comments about it.

Concerning the “text book” used, let me state clearly that this is NOT just an issue of ONE text book being used. Additionally, switching ONE text book to a “text only” version (as of January 2018) is neither “repentance,” nor a resolve to the problem. I state this because, contemporary nude photographs are being shown in the photography class, nude slides are being shown in the Arts and Ideas class, and other classes as well. So how does switching to a “text only” version in one class correct the error that has been going on? Further, what guarantee does it give us that FHU will not continue to show similar content in their other classes? If by switching to a “text only” version of the perverted work they have been using is indeed an attempt to “fix” and “clean-up” the problem, then let the FHU leadership first acknowledge that there has been a problem and guarantee families who send their children to the University for a “Christian education” that such things will not be tolerated in the future. Ironically, at the same time, there are posts being made to defend the practice. I can only conclude by this that either such comments are made by people that are uninformed about what is actually being shown, or by those who have fallen under the influence of the individuals who see no problem with showing such things. If there is nothing wrong with what has been shown in these classes, why switch to a “text only” version of the book? Why the shame over the content? You cannot have it both ways; either it is right or wrong; either it is God sanctioned, or it is not.


If it is God sanctioned, let us preach and teach it from the pulpit and in our Sunday morning Bible classes. Let us not be afraid to show such slides before the assembly. Allow me here to offer a formal challenge. (ATTENTION FHU LEADERSHIP) If the content they are showing in your art and photography classes are God sanctioned, please provide a visual demonstration of your support of this material at the upcoming FHU lectureship in February and let the church judge, for indeed, the Lord’s people are commanded to “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24), and to “Prove all things” that we might “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (I Thess. 5:21-22), and to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). Brethren, judgment “must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (I Peter 4:17). So, will the FHU leaders stand behind these works and show these pictures at the lectureship?

So as not to mislead the public, will they allow the following things to be shown for public investigation?
Nude content from Jim Gardner’s Arts and Ideas class (PowerPoint presentation given to all of the students in the Fall class of 2017?
Nude photos being shown in the photography classes?
John Sewell’s picture of the girl he ask to pose in her bra and short shorts; which Jud Davis then showed to the entire class on November 1, 2017?
This is in clear violation of the FHU Student Handbook which states:
Pictures and captions from the required text book (Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: A Global History Fred S. Kleiner Volume II) used in Laquita Thomson’s art classes?
Even more specifically:
The captions using such terms as “seductive female nudes,” “erotic,” “sensual,” etc.

  • Hannah Wilke’s contemporary work:

“Wilke poses topless decorated with chewing-gum sculptures of vulvas, which allude to female pleasure….”

  • Hamilton’s “appealing” modern home: pictures literally taken from a (quote) “girlie magazine” with a nude woman and man are set in an artistic background.

This is in clear violation of the FHU Student Handbook which states:

  • Francoius Boucher’s work: “pyramid of rosy infant and female flesh” (someone please explain the difference between this and child pornography?)
  • Bronzino’s “Cupid fondling his Mother Venus …with lascivious undertones” (naked Cupid groping his mother’s breast while kissing her on the lips).
  • Kiki Smith’s untitled work:

“A nude man and woman with body fluids running from the woman’s breasts and down the man’s leg.” (full frontal nudity with a portrayal of seminal fluid dripping from the man and breast milk dripping from the woman).

  • Musee d’Orsay’s work:

“A nude prostitute and her black maid carrying a bouquet from a client scandalized the public.”

  • William Adolp’s work of four naked nymphs dancing around a Satyr (half nude man/half goat).
  • The Love of Krishna which portrays a man groping a naked woman on a bed.
  • Carolee Schneemann’s work of what appears to be an orgy of four people pictured with the caption, “In her performances, Schneemann transformed the nature of Performance Art by introducing a feminist dimension through the use of her body (often nude) to challenge traditional gender roles.”

  • Lucian Freud’s Naked Portrait, “Freud’s brutally realistic portrait of an unnamed woman lying on a bed in an awkward position”.
  • Shahzia Sikander’s work for the “struggle for recognition and equal rights” She portrays two lesbians embracing with the caption “Sikander portrayed a gay friend as a homosexual.”
  • How about just the caption of Robert Mapplethorpe’s work, the “brilliant gay artist” (who is pictured shirtless), The Perfect Moment (Not shown, but described), “which included erotic and openly homosexual images of the artist.”

  • The work of Andres Serrano, (Not shown, but described), “whose Piss Christ, a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine.”
  • Titian’s Venus of Urbino which portrays a naked woman reclined in her bed while touching her female genitalia.

The list can indeed go on and let me add here that some of these pictures mentioned above are shown in various classes at Freed and NOT just in “Art History.” Therefore, does the FHU administration stand behind these works enough to show them at the upcoming lectureship for public investigation and judgment?

Concerned Christians eagerly await a response.

Concerning the continual arguments about “the Bible is not against nudity, what about naked babies, and what about doctors and the medical profession, these have all been answered biblically in the following document “November 15, 2016 Letter to Laquita, LeAnn, and Barbara” which I encourage everyone to read before making such comments <>.

Dear friends, the bottom line is authority. While we can see biblical support for nudity between a man and his lawful wife, children at birth, and, yes, for the medical profession, there is absolutely NO biblical support for anyone’s participation in viewing, reproduction, and modeling of nude works for aesthetic gratification or financial gain. To argue for such is to argue for pornography. However, if any believe otherwise, we all await a biblical response.

Sincerely in the love of Christ and in the interest of His holy truths,
Kerry Sword

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Author: jfm

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