US Merchant Marine Academy cloaks Jesus painting over religious freedom protests

0
21
US Merchant Marine Academy cloaks Jesus painting over religious freedom protests

A massive painting of Jesus on display in the US Merchant Marine Academy in New York has been covered by a curtain after objections that the religious image should not hang in a room used for mandatory activities.

The painting, featuring Jesus with his arms outstretched over a lifeboat packed with sailors lost at sea, turned into a point of tension for non-Christian students and staff.

Eighteen people, including five Jews, asked the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to appeal on their behalf to the Kings Point academy, which reports to the US Department of Transportation, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

Mikey Weinstein, the foundation’s founder, asked the academy’s superintendent Joanna Nunan in a Jan. 10 letter to move the painting to a more appropriate location, like a chapel.

US Merchant Marine Academy painting covered
The ginormous painting has been covered temporarily by a white curtain, which will be replaced by something nicer at a later date.

Weinstein noted that the Elliot M. See room, which currently houses the painting, is utlized for a variety of occasions, including as a classroom, a venue for advisory board meetings and as a court for disciplinary hearings, among other things.

“The outrageousness of that Jesus painting’s display is only further exacerbated by the fact that this room is also used regularly for USMMA Honor Code violation boards where midshipmen are literally fighting for their careers,” Weinstein wrote, according to the report.

Nunan promptly responded to the letter, noting that the painting’s size made it impossible to move, but was quick in coming up with another solution.

“I have asked my staff to purchase a curtain to be placed in front of the painting,” she wrote in response, the report said.

Massive painting at the academy
The academy’s superintendent said they will add a plaque to the wall in order to explain the history behind the painting.
U.S. Coasy Guard

“This will completely block the painting from view, but also allow those who wish to view it the opportunity to do so. Second, I have asked the Director of the American Merchant Marine Museum to prepare a plaque that explains the history of the painting, which will be installed near it. Given the size of the painting, there is no other location to which it can be moved.”

A simple, white curtain was hung over the painting on Friday, but will soon be replaced by curtains that “befit the elegance” of the setting, Nunan said. The curtains will be kept up over the painting during any events in the room that require mandatory attendance.

Even though the Military Religious Freedom Federation sought the painting’s removal, Weinstein applauded the academy’s response.

“We think this is a superb solution,” Weinstein told JTA. “It will be a teachable moment every time somebody asks why those curtains are up there.”

Source link