Though you've given a link for one of the pieces of art, you haven't for the other. I have no info about this image to determine if it's an icon or not.
This is an image painted in a geometric, abstracted style reminiscent of iconography, by Br Robert Lentz, a Franciscan friar (last time I checked), who promotes himself as a master iconographer. While some of the images he has painted over the years are quite acceptable as icons from the Orthodox perspective, much of his work is simply vehicles promoting his pet sociopolitical causes. True iconography is about the Incarnation and Revelation of God, and the expression of the holiness of saints and their striving to be imitators of Christ, and must have nothing to do with politics, social justice, "gender equity", or whatever cause du jour
, however noble or worthy, takes the artist's fancy.
Here is what the artist himself has written about this image:Harvey Milk was the first openly gay person to be elected to high public office in the U.S. He was not a professional politician, but ran for City Supervisor in San Francisco because he felt ordinary people were being pushed aside there by monied interests. "It takes no money to respect the individual," he said. "The people are more important than words." As supervisor he fought consistently for the rights of all of those without a voice. These people included blue-collar workers, the elderly, racial minorities, and gay men and women.
Cardinal Juan Fresnos of Chile has said, "Whosoever stands up for human rights stands up for the rights of God." His words are an echo of what Christ has told us He will say at the Last Judgement. "Whatever you did to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did to Me." Despite all the emphasis Christians put on their sexual ethics, Christ’s one question at the end of time will deal with concrete acts of love and compassion.
The day of his election, Harvey tape-recorded his last testament, in which he acknowledged that he would most probably die violently. The last words of that message were "You gotta give them hope." On November 27, 1978, he was shot five times at close range by another politician who was infuriated by his defense of gay and lesbian people. That night 40,000 people, men and women, old and young, gay and straight, kept candlelight vigil outside City Hall.
In this icon he holds a candle, keeping vigil himself for the oppressed of the world. He wears a black armband with a pink triangle. This was a Nazi symbol for homosexuals and represents all those who have been tortured or killed because of cultural fears regarding human sexuality. Their number continues to grow with each passing year, and the compassionate Christ continues to say, "As long as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to Me."
Some food for thought:
Few would dispute that homosexual activity continues to be regarded as sinful by both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, yet Lentz persists in promoting his views, in direct contradiction to the teachings of his own church, and to his public statements on iconography. Here are two statements he has made: “In declaring and preserving the Christian faith, personal expression does not play a role.”
“What is most important is being faithful to the truths of the Christian faith.”
Harvey Milk was murdered by a political rival because he was despised for his sexual orientation and his advocacy of homosexual rights. Any murder is wrong and a sinful act, but should he be “honored with an icon”, and referred to as a martyr, “keeping vigil for himself and the oppressed homosexuals of the world”? Harvey Milk was a victim of crime
- that is a very different thing from being a martyr for one’s faith
Compare this with the following example, from the Counter-Reformation conflicts in Holland. This incident involving the capture and execution of eighteen Roman Catholic clerics by Calvinist Protestants occurred in the Dutch town of Gorkum in 1572:
Fr Andrew Wouters was a diocesan priest who had not been rounded up, but voluntarily joined his priestly confréres in captivity. Fr Wouters had not been faithful to his vow of chastity, and had led a scandalous life that was notorious all over the parish and beyond. Not previously a very spiritual man, he nonetheless showed himself a man of spirit by taking his place among the prisoners. When his past failures were thrown in his face by his captors as a disgrace to his calling and a negation of his creed, he looked them in the eye and said, “Fornicator have I been, heretic, never!”
Fr Andrew Wouters and his fellow clerics were later canonized by the Roman Catholic church, and are known in that church as the Gorkum Martyrs. It should be noted that he was not killed by a jealous husband, but died for his faith. Sin and heresy, as the holy Fathers teach us, differ essentially: Sin is a transgression of God’s law, but heresy is an alteration of God’s law.
The proclamation of someone as a saint does not merely state that they are in heaven, they are also being held up as models of sanctity and fidelity to the Christian faith. We should certainly pray for
the salvation of Harvey Milk, not pray to
him to intercede before God on our behalf.
What is particularly sinister in such works is that they are not the product of honest ignorance, but a perversion and subversion of the very principles this artist has publicly expressed in "affirming" his credentials as a "master iconographer". The well-executed and polished artistic style also contributes to his "authority" among the unsuspecting, as would his monastic status. It's not difficult to find testimonials from "satisfied customers" telling of their delight at acquiring such "beautiful icons". I grieve for such folks who are being led astray by such travesties, and I will not cease to denounce such blasphemous and heretical works.