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US Marine Academy Resolves Dispute Over Displaying A Painting Of Jesus

by | Tue, Mar 14 2023

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The US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in New York which trains officers for military, national security and shipping careers has resolved a dispute over a painting of Jesus.

The artwork known as Christ on the Water depicts an image of Jesus and merchant seamen adrift in a lifeboat.

The Academy initially used curtains to cover up the artwork which was on display in a room which used to be the chapel in its main administration building.

It followed complaints from an anti-religion group that the painting sent “an improper message of preferred faith.”

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) labelled the artwork a display of “sectarian Jesus supremacy” in a room which was used for various administrative meetings, disciplinary hearings and other official events.

“The outrageousness of that 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,” MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein complained.

“It’s as though USMMA is screaming that ‘Jesus Christ is the only approved solution to all of life’s difficulties,” he added.

The painting commemorates more than 9,000 merchant marines who lost their lives in 1942 during the Second World War.

Academy alumni and members of Congress were outraged by the cover-up with thousands petitioning the Academy.

They collected thousands of signatures for a petition which claimed: “The decision to cover the painting was made with no opportunity for discussion. The artwork was completed in 1944 during World War II and the first days of the Academy. It is an historic painting that has conveyed hope and inspiration to nearly every class of midshipmen to come through the Academy.”

They also argued that the display of the painting is constitutional and protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

The Academy has since resolved the situation by discontinuing the use of the room and allowing its members to view it before it is installed in the current chapel.

It also pledged to work with the director of the American Merchant Marine Museum to “prepare a plaque that explains the history of the painting” to be installed next to it.