Photo: Jon McNaughton
Jon McNaughton has become known for his controversial paintings, which mix religious and political themes. Some call it propoganda. Some call it truth. His latest work, “One Nation Under Socialism,” is winning him new fans on the right, and causing a firestorm of debate on his Facebook page. It shows a stone-faced Barack Obama holding the Constitution as it burns.
“This November, you will make a choice. Will you choose One Nation Under Socialism?” he says in a voice-over on a video about the work on YouTube.
“There are three kinds of people who view my paintings: Those who like it, those who hate it, and those who simply don’t understand,” McNaughton writes. “I am especially interested in this last category. I hope my work will create conversation and reach people on a deeper level.”
McNaughton offers this pledge as a comment about the painting on his website:
''I pledge allegiance to the United States of America,
And not to an ideology, which can never stand,
One nation under socialism, divisive,
With no liberty or justice for anyone.'
'Wake Up America' makes the case that Americans are 'enslaved' by national debt.
'Now, more than ever, each American must make a choice: will we unlock the shackles that enslave us, or will we give up the greatest gift we have--our freedom,' McNaughton writes.
McNaughton has painted six hidden keys that he says will 'release us from the chains of economic and political bondage.'
'One of the misconceptions about this painting is people who look at it assume that this is some kind of second coming type of picture. I don't think of it that way,' McNaughton says in a video explaining the painting. 'The painting represents my belief that the Constitution is divinely inspired, and by having Christ holding the constitution I think that makes a powerful statement.'
In a separate statement on his website, McNaughton writes: 'Some so called experts have implied or concluded that our Founding Fathers and Patriots were not religious. These secular champions, in an effort to further their own causes, have even painted these great men and women from our history as being devoid of religious passions or even a belief in God. This is a part of their strategy to remove any discussion of God from the public forum.'
Yes, that's Barack Obama standing on the constitution. Behind him are all 43 former United States presidents, including a distraught James Madison.
According to McNaughton, the man on the bench 'represents every man, woman, and child of every colour and creed who is an American,' who 'hopes for a better life, to find the American dream of happiness and prosperity.'
'But now, because of unconstitutional acts imposed upon the American people by our government, we stand on the precipice of disaster,' McNaughton writes.
The painting sparked controversy when it appeared on Rachel Maddow's blog for a caption contest.
Responding to the criticism, McNaughton wrote, 'Is the President without reproach? I am simply one American speaking to another American. The painting symbolically suggests the actions of Barack Obama as well as other presidents. Yes, their actions speak louder than words -- as do the brush strokes in my painting.'
You can see an annotated version of the painting on McNaughton's website.
Jesus Christs walks on a battlefield, surrounded by soldiers from all different eras of history.
'In these troubled times, one might be led to ask, 'Where is God?'' McNaughton says in a video about the painting.
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