After hearing of the exhibit, outraged Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, stated:
“Absolutely we should look at their funds. If they’ve got money to squander like this – of a crucifix being eaten by ants, of Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, men in chains, naked brothers kissing – then I think we should look at their budget.”However, co-curator David C. Ward defended the depiction of Jesus being eaten by ants, entitled A Fire in My Belly, stating:
“Fire in My Belly is an example of political engagement in artistic form with the AIDS epidemic by an artist deeply concerned with the exploration of our response to that medical and societal calamity.”He went on to say about the work:
“That it is violent, disturbing, and hallucinatory precisely replicates the impact of the disease itself on people and a society that could barely comprehend its magnitude."Representative Kingston did not agree, calling it, “In your face perversion paid for by tax dollars."
"outrageous use of taxpayer money and an obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season. When a museum receives taxpayer money, the taxpayers have a right to expect that the museum will uphold common standards of decency. The museum should pull the exhibit and be prepared for serious questions come budget time.”