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One Nation Under God
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McNaughton's response to liberal criticisms of "One Nation Under God."
I would like to take a minute to explain some of the points of confusion for those who wish to interpret my picture.
- Each figure including Christ represents a symbol. Everything about the painting is symbolic. I don't pretend to know what Christ looks like. As I stated in my interview, I wanted to create an image that would instantly be recognizable as Jesus. I am not painting an anthropological Jesus. Nobody would recognize him if I painted him that way.
- The figures in the background have been the source of great debate. Let me make myself clear from my writing that just because they stand behind Christ, does not mean they are devout Christians evoking all to come unto Jesus and be baptized?! What I am saying is that they represent those who have influenced our country and our Constitution in a positive way. Many of these men and women gave their lives so we could have the liberties we enjoy. We are now at a time when these liberties are in peril. Our government has grown so big and powerful that the rights of the individual are at risk. This is what the Constitution was about—to limit the size of government. The patriotic heroes who stand behind Christ and the Constitution are pleading with us to defend the cause of liberty. Except for the pregnant woman in the lower right corner, these people symbolize those who have pushed our country towards Socialism. (The pregnant woman's place in the painting is explained on the website.)
- In connection to my last statement, I knew when I painted this picture that Thomas Payne (so sorry I offended some of you for spelling his name wrong), and Thomas Jefferson were Deists. That was irrelevant to me. I believe God brings about His purposes through different people. Even those who aren't baptized or following the accepted Christian religion.
- Not only have I received flack for this painting from Liberals, but also from the Right as well. Why did you include JFK? Why Lincoln? Why Teddy Roosevelt? I painted this picture to reflect my personal feelings about America. This is not a Republican painting. This is not anything other than one artist's personal feelings about his love for Christ, this country and a desire to make a point about where we are headed. I hoped that this painting would encourage dialogue and debate. It is important that you understand my position before you make assumptions.
- One of the most ridiculous criticisms I have read is that I don't have enough minorities in the painting. The way people throw around the word "racist" these days is overkill. From the beginning of the painting I chose to include a variety for ethnicities under the "Strong Americans" category. I also used different races in the background where I could. One of the most important positions in the painting is where the black U. S. soldier is standing.
- Some of the chatter going around on these liberal blog sites I feel is unfounded. One of the things I said to myself from the beginning was the knee jerk reaction some people would have to the painting would be very revealing as to which side they personally stood in the picture. If you don't believe the Constitution was inspired of God, fine. We will agree to disagree.
- Some so called "art experts" feel that a true painting should not be explained, but left to the viewer to interpret. I may not reveal all my thoughts, but I want the world to know what I think and feel—that's why I painted it! Great art causes one to feel. To feel deeply. I knew this painting would evoke emotion on both sides. I knew it was a unique concept, having never been painted before. I don't care if the composition is outdated or whether some other artist may have painted their composition better than me. The message stands alone.
- Why Satan? I don't for a second believe he looks like that, but I do believe he is real. Again, the image is symbolic. Having Satan near these people doesn't mean that they are Satanic. If you believe in God, surely you would believe in a Satan.
- OK, how could McNaughton be so ignorant about Charles Darwin and "Origin of the Species?" Yes, I have read the book and yes I do believe in many of the theories it espouses. What?! No, I don't' think the book should be burned and kicked out of the school curriculum. Some of the rebuttals I have heard in regard to this subject in my painting are unfounded. I believe that this book is a standard that the left uses to push Christianity out of the Educational Forum. I believe that we need faith in our schools. I believe that I did not evolve from an ape. You may disagree, but that is how I feel. Do I believe Evolution should be taught? Yes. Should Christian thought or any other religion be allowed to be discussed without reservation? Yes, as long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others.
This is my personal witness and testimony as to the state of this nation. If you would like to ask more questions about my painting, I invite you to do so. I would be pleased to answer any honest questions regarding, "One Nation Under God."