spacer Cardinal Joseph F. Spellman
Pass the Lord and Praise the Ammunition
Cardinal Joseph Francis Spellman, 1889-1967

"What I enjoy attacking," Sorel has noted, "are things that everyone else is not attacking. Which brings me to my favorite target: organized religion." At the time of this drawing, influential Catholic cardinal Joseph Francis Spellman, who had been military vicar general of the United States armed forces since 1939, was a dedicated anti-Communist and outspoken hawk on the issue of Vietnam. Spellman had urged American intervention since 1955, but by the mid-1960s, his views were strongly criticized by American religious leaders and antiwar Catholics. Sorel summarized those feelings in his 1967 poster Pass the Lord and Praise the Ammunition, a blistering attack on the cardinal's militaristic approach. Spellman died, however, just as the poster was finished, rendering it unsaleable, as Americans remembered what an important spokesman he had been for the church. Sorel reused the image for the wrapper of his 1972 book, Making the World Safe for Hypocrisy.

Color halftone poster, 1967
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., gift of Rosemary L. Frankeberger
© Edward Sorel

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