O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith


American Jesus Art!

posted by Jason Boyett

This blog has been fascinated, appalled, and otherwise dumbfounded in the past by Jesus art, which is rarely inspirational and often inappropriate. Today we have a whole new painting to discuss.

Behold: Jesus, the Founding Father of America and He Who Apparently Dictated the U.S. Constitution from On High

Besides the idea of a glowing Jesus founding his own nation in the form of the U.S. — and the existence of Satan crouching in front of Alexander Hamilton (see right side of the picture), and the lawyer greedily counting his $100 bills right out there in sight of the Son of God (see bottom right) — there are two other awesome things associated with this painting, which is by artist John McNaughton.

1. McNaughton has helpfully provided an interactive mouse-over feature where you can view, up close, each of the America-representing people in the painting. Some are symbolic. Others are prominent figures from our nation’s past. Along with these close-ups, we get the artist’s thoughts behind their symbolism. For example, see the mommy and baby to Jesus’ right? The lady holding her palm up? According to the artist, “She holds her hand out which has two meanings. First, she is recognizing Christ and second she is releasing her son to come forth and touch the Constitution. A mother’s role in raising up the next generation is immeasurable.”

2. The brilliant minds at Shortpacked! recognized some silliness in some of these descriptions (really!) and created their own interactive mouse-over feature, with brand-new captions and descriptions. It is worth viewing because it is very, very funny. For instance, see Abe Lincoln down on one knee to Jesus’ left? Their description: “He was the 16th president of the United States. He led the country through the Civil War and was assassinated in his second term of office. He also totally wants to start a barbershop quartet with Washington, Adams, and Hamilton.” Look at the artist’s version first, then head here.

I’m sorry. I’ve gotten in trouble before for making fun of someone’s heartfelt attempt to express something about Jesus via art. But this is just too unintentionally funny. I mean, the evil college professor is clutching a copy of Origin of the Species! (It represents, according to the artist, “the liberal left’s control of our educational system.”) The Supreme Court justice is weeping for his sins! All the black heroes are hidden in the back! And Davy Crockett is wearing a coonskin cap!

Too. Many. Jokes!



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Kevin D. Hendricks

posted October 9, 2009 at 11:05 am


Wow. Just, wow.My favorite is the black soldier named King who represents Martin Luther King Jr. We couldn't actually put the greatest civil rights hero in American history in the painting, but we'll go with a stand in.



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carandavis

posted October 9, 2009 at 11:57 am


there are all manner of delightful surprises here. loved the F-16 Pilot.



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Dan

posted October 9, 2009 at 6:05 pm


It was brought to my attention through another blog that the book "The 5000 Year Leap" was written by a former Mormon missionary to Britain. This is a very odd painting. I can't tell exactly what he wants to do with it. But I can't tell what most of the religious right are trying to do with Jesus either.



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Dromedary Hump

posted October 9, 2009 at 6:16 pm


Interestingly, I don't find this funny. I find its imagry terribly troubling, along with many of the inane comments the artist applies to his figures.Troubling, because it suggests that to be a Liberal is to be un-American. Troubling because of the absurd stereotypes of lawyers, liberal/moderate judges, immigrants of non-christian belief…on and on. But especially troubling because it endorses / promulgates this persistent revisionist history of a "Christian Nation," and that the Constitution was divinly inspired, while not one single reference to the divine is in it. While mentioning founding father deists, he fails to mention that both Jefferson and Adams ("one of our greatest founding fathers" I believe he calls him) were staunch anti-Christians and whose private writings are down right antagonistic to Christianity.Nevermind Jefferson's very sussinct writings on the importance of the seperation of church and state.About the only thing he left out was a homosexual cutting off his genitals out of shame. Or is it in there and I missed it? In short, it is grotesque exemplification of intentional dishonesty, and/or indicative of his complete stupidity. It seeks to promulgate a mindset, an agenda, that some people on the far right religious fringe would like to see come to fruition in the form of a theocracy.It's this kind of intolerance, dishonesty, and sense of Christian exclusivity and superiority, that made me an anti-theist activist. I'm sorry I was even reminded of it.



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DTDorrin

posted October 9, 2009 at 10:37 pm


@Dromedary HumpYou're right–a lot of the imagery isn't all that funny, but sometimes we Christians have to laugh at other crazy Christians to keep ourselves from crying in shame.I want to know what he meant by saying that some of the stars representing the 50 states shine brighter than others. Something tells me that California's star is one of the darker stars…



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Dromedary Hump

posted October 10, 2009 at 11:16 am


DT,Thanks. And I take confort in knowing there are more of you than there are of "them." I'm quite sure he means the stars that dont shine as bright are the "Blue States" i.e. that tend to vote dem.



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Lauren

posted October 10, 2009 at 6:57 pm


my favorite of the mouseover feature: the liberal news reporter."Most of the media today are biased to the left and try to shape the thinking and actions of Americans in that direction."geez.



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Jared

posted October 11, 2009 at 7:43 am


I agree with the comments above: this is hilarious and unsettling in a number of ways.But what's more unsettling to me, Jason? Probably the fact that the Mormons are advertising on your page. Talk about jumping the shark, man.



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Jason Boyett

posted October 11, 2009 at 10:24 am


@jared: Yeah, I've heard about the LDS ad before, but haven't seen it yet myself. I'm displaying ads in the religion category, so I guess it lands here from time to time. Is it jumping the shark to actually display a Mormon ad? Or jumping the shark to block it due to reader complaints? I'm trying to decide…



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Dromedary Hump

posted October 11, 2009 at 11:38 am


I think that LDS instant chat with a missionary ad is great. Unfortunately the young lady I engaged in conversation couldn't answer any of my questions about Julieanne Hough or Marie Osmond.



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