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February 24, 2023

Throwing Jesus a Life Raft

Here's an update on a story we reported earlier this month. On January 10th, a radical secular group, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), demanded the removal of a painting of Jesus at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in King's Point, New York.

The painting that drew the ire of the MRFF was "Christ on the Water," a depiction of Jesus and merchant seaman adrift in a lifeboat. The painting was done in 1944 to commemorate over 9,000 merchant marines who lost their lives in 1942.

MRFF's broadside asserted the painting promoted "the supremacy of Jesus Christ," and claimed its display was unconstitutional. USMMA Superintendent Vice Admiral Joanna Nunan immediately surrendered to the demand. The painting was covered with a white curtain while plans were made on how to remove it.

Now USMMA alumni and members of Congress are speaking out and demanding that the Jesus painting be rescued.

First, four House Republicans who attended the U.S. military academies, Reps. Mike Garcia (R-CA), Mark Green (R-TN), August Pfluger (R-TX) and Warren Davidson (R-OH), wrote a letter to Vice Admiral Nunan arguing the painting is constitutional. They cited Van Orden v. Perry, a 2005 decision allowing the display of the Ten Commandments on government property.

Another congressman, Rep. James Banks (R-IN), just fired off his own letter to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, urging him to "immediately correct" the USMMA decision to cover the painting. The outrage has also spread to USMMA midshipmen, alumni and community members, 4,000 of whom have signed a petition demanding the painting be visible again.

Rep. Banks' letter also took a shot at the MRFF itself, charging that the group's leader has in the past attacked the acclaimed project "Wreaths Across America" as a "government-sanctioned desecration of non-Christian veterans."

JDFI condemns the increasing attempts by radical secularists to erase the Christian heritage of America. We join members of Congress and concerned citizens in calling for the censorship of the painting "Christ on the Water" to end immediately.

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