After Complaint, US Merchant Marine Academy Covers Painting of Jesus Protecting Sailors Lost at Sea

After Complaint, US Merchant Marine Academy Covers Painting of Jesus Protecting Sailors Lost at Sea

Image: Screenshot @nypost/Twitter

At the US Merchant Marine Academy in New York, a painting of Jesus has been covered after complaints that the religious image should not be visible in a space that is used for mandatory activities.

Michael Weinstein, Founder and President of Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) wrote a letter to Vice Admiral Nunan demanding the removal of the painting, “I come to you this day to demand that the USMMA, which you currently command as its Superintendent, expeditiously remove a massive, sectarian painting illustrating the supremacy of Jesus Christ from the so-called “Elliot M. See Room” located inside of Wiley Hall, which serves as an administrative building at USMMA.”

“Admiral Nunan, I don’t want to belabor the brutally obvious point that this extremely large painting of Jesus is absolutely antithetical and destructive, as it is currently displayed, to the maintenance of good order, morale, discipline, and unit cohesion at USMMA, especially to non-Christians under your command. “
The Academy has since placed a large drape over the painting of Jesus with his arms outstretched over a lifeboat filled with sailors lost at sea.

Image: Screenshot @nypost/Twitter

The New York Post reports: 

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.

Weinstein noted that the Elliot M. See room, which currently houses the painting, is utilized 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.

“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.”


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Author: Margaret Flavin