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SENATE CONDEMNS MUSEUM EXHIBIT, WANTS FUNDS HALTED

In a slap at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Senate approved a non-binding measure Wednesday saying the museum should not get federal funds unless it cancels an exhibit featuring a picture of a feces-covered Virgin Mary.

By voice vote, the Senate attached the resolution, sponsored by Independent Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire, to a spending bill covering the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services.

"People can do what they want to do, and they can draw what they want to draw," Smith said in the Senate, but "the government doesn't have to fund this garbage."

There was little debate on the measure, which simply expresses the Senate's opinion.

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has called the painting "sick" and has demanded that it be pulled from "Sensation," an exhibition of British work that opens Saturday at the museum.

Giuliani, a Catholic, has threatened to freeze $7 million in public funds to the museum unless it pulls the painting, a move that artist Chris Ofili's representative has called an infringement on free expression.

Smith said the museum has received $500,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts in the last three years.

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