There was a time when Christian imagery dominated (at least in Catholic housholds) the decoration of average homes. A cross or crucifix would often adorn the entrance, and the year of construction of the house was, on the outside, preceded by AD. Inside, you would find portraits of Popes old and new, and the favourite Saint of the household was also a frequent appearance. The bedroom would often be adorned with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Many families still had their own stoop for the holy water, and crossed themselves with it before going out. We also don’t want to forget the tablets on the lines of “Lord, bless this home” that were so frequent.
Fast forward 50 years, actually even less.
You may still find a cross in the one or other household, but today this would smell of eccentricity rather than normality. New buildings are very rarely adorned with the Anno Domini (” in the year of the Lord”) inscription. Few homes have portraits of Popes, and you must litterally explain to people what the Sacred Heart devotion is. Forget the holy water, which today many “c”atholics would even find “unhygienic “.
Catholic (and, in lesser measure because less diffused, Protestant) imagery has gone out of sight, because it has gone out of mind first. And the way the most intimate of places – the home – is decorated merely reflects the shift in attitude that happened before.
In the age of “me” any show of domestic Christian piety is considered stuffy and utterly uncool, even by many who still call themselves Christians. But you see Buddha statues pretty much everywhere, and particularly in luxury homes, because apparently it is someway “cool”. It’s not unlikely that such statues adorn the houses of many who call the Church ” homophobic”.
The new religion of “me” in visible from the very basic: the almost disappearance of Christian symbolism within the home.