It is impossible and improper to venerate fictitious or imaginary characters.
Just because someone painted an "icon" of that parable doesn't make it suitable for veneration. It is a didactic image, not an icon. There is nothing in Orthodox tradition which tells us who he was, and if he became a saint. Therefore, how is it possible or proper to venerate people who are characters in a teaching lesson, but were never real people, flesh and blood and soul?
OTOH, the Samaritan woman who conversed with Christ at the well, and the woman with the issue of blood who was healed by touching the hem of Christ's garment, were not named in the scripture accounts in which they appear, but Orthodox tradition names them as Photeini/Svetlana and Veronica, and both are saints.
In order to "venerate" the icon, you kiss it. Whom would you kiss here? The Pharisee or the tax collector....and why would you kiss them?
While the tax collector is a good example of repentance, that we should emulate, he's hardly worthy of kissing and venerating.
We only venerate and worship God....and His saints (only due to God's grace upon and working through them).
Precisely, my dear Liza. Precisely.
The discussions here have been interesting, and as always, informative. However, it seems to me that there are at least categories of images being discussed and perhaps being lumped together. This is confusing. I see them as:
1. True "schlock", schlock being defined as something "of low quality or value" implying something cheesy, kitschy, bargain basement, touristy etc...
2. Paintings of a religious motif, not truly icons to be venerated - but perhaps of pietetic value or sentiment...Such images have been used in both the west and east as teaching tools for the illiterate or to illustrate children's books for generations. (Bible stories, even church ceilings ...)
3. Heretical images...
There may be others as well.
I guess I am not comfortable in lumping them all together as "schlock."