Firstly, I would like to thank Leah Burton from "www.godsownparty.com" for cross-posting her excellent article yesterday on palingates, which should be the start of a fruitful cooperation. In order to maximise forces in the fight against the extreme right and Christian Fundamentalists, Regina and I hold the view that bloggers should seek ways to cooperate in order to extend their readership. Therefore we are very thankful that Leah Burton has agreed to publish further articles on palingates in the future.
Secondly, I am sorry that in the first hours after Leah's article was posted, the comments were dominated by the discussion about a controversial picture with strong content which I had originally posted at the beginning of Leah's article. The heated discussion took attention away from the content of the article, which was not what we intended. The picture proved to be too distracting from the content of the article. This very controversial montage showed Sarah Palin as Jesus on the cross and can be found here. I am just linking to it and won't show it on the blog - therefore, if such a strong parody of religious symbols can violate your feelings, please don't look at it.
However, I found the discussion about the picture also very interesting, and I made a few new discoveries myself.
I understand that people's religious feelings can easily be offended by such an image, but I just would like say that the whole point of posting the picture with Sarah Palin as Jesus on the cross was to point out how Sarah Palin herself abuses religion and religious feelings for example by declaring herself a victim aka martyr whenever somebody criticizes her.
Sarah Palin plays the "victim-card" on a regular basis and clearly aims to prevent that any kind of critical questions are being asked of her by hiding behind her "holier-than-thou" cover. I am quite sure that we will be able to see this again in the "Oprah" interview. Criticizing Sarah will make you instantly part of the potentially evil "liberal media", or even worse, the "anklebiters" - aka the people who are "after her". Sarah has never ever admitted to have made a mistake. It's always others who are to blame. She clearly believes that she is on a mission, and that she can do no wrong.
Although such a picture can easily violate religious feelings, I also think that it proved this point quite effectively.
It's Sarah Palin herself who shamelessly exploits religious and patriotic feelings of citizens on a daily basis. I am a bit sad that parodies on religion provoke such strong feelings nowadays, as so many hypocritical politicians in the USA use religion as a "cover" at the same time and get away with it. These politicians should be called out and should be reminded that religion and government have to be strictly separated in a modern society. However, as an example, the man who "prayed over" Sarah Palin in 2005, "Bishop" Thomas Muthee, who she accepts as a spiritial leader, clearly doesn't believe in the separation of church and state. That's where the problems begin.
During the discussion today, I discovered that only recently the artist Jon McNaughton presented a painting called "One Nation Under God". This painting was "inspired by a vision" that the artist had during the 2008 elections, and it is in my view an attempt to re-write history in order to make propaganda for a theocracy. Jon McNaughton has presented the picture on his interactive website, which loads slowly, but is worth looking at because you can hover over the picture and read detailed explanations about what the painter had intended to express.
A very good website with detailed commentary about this painting can be found here.
In addition, Jon McNaughton's interactive website has been parodied in a very funny way here!
I thought that the art of making paintings for purposes of political propaganda had ceased to exist, but apparently this does not seem to be the case.
The worst thing is that Jon McNaughton tries to re-write history with his painting because he creates the impression that all the "founding fathers" and basically all of the "good people" within the US population would accept Jesus as their "political leader".
A real eye-opener in my opinion is another other picture in which somebody included REAL quotes of some of the depicted people in the painting "One Nation Under God" - here:
(please click on picture to enlarge and read the quotes)
I wonder whether mainstream politicians in the USA today would be able or willing to say similar things (“The Bible is not my book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma” - Abraham Lincoln). I think that they will most likely keep quiet in order not to upset any of their voters. That's why ultra-religious politicians such as Sarah Palin can then have a "free ride", and we should all pray to God, if we believe in him or not, that Sarah Palin will never ever become the President of the United States. If that happened, the Americans would not know what hit them. That's the reason why we all spend so much of our free time in the fight against Sarah Palin, because this woman has to be exposed.
There is in my view a very dangerous movement on the rise in the USA with their "back to the ancestors and founding fathers" ideology, in which the views and beliefs of the founding fathers are being horribly distorted. I am actually quite pleased that the artist painted "One Nation Under God" because the picture (especially in connection with the artist's statements on his website) very clearly shows the entire narrow-mindness and hypocrisy of these people, and their shameless attempt to re-write history. As the artist Jon McNaughton painted the picture as a response of his "visions" during the 2008 presidential campaign, it is also not a coincidence at all that the school-teacher in the painting looks like Sarah Palin, that the little child with the mother is "handicapped" and that the "Liberal News Reporter" looks like Katie Couric.
So it doesn't come as a big surprise that the Palinbots just love the painting - in a funny coincidence, C4P yesterday published a post about Jon McNaughton's painting, and predictably as always, they go on to praise Sarah Palin's faith:
"One of the things that impressed me about Governor Palin from the beginning was her 'fearless faith.' She didn't hesitate to express her belief in God and her belief that all children were precious in His sight. Her courage to stand with and stick to her convictions made a significant impact on me."
I personally think that painters should absolutely refrain from making political propaganda paintings in general, after so many abuses of this artform in the past - and "One Nation Under God" isn't the only picture of that kind that Joe McNaughton has created. Also, imagine how the right-wingers would react if a painter for example would make a picture with President Obama in the center, with all the founding fathers, soldiers and "good Americans" surrounding him and admiring him - you would be able to hear Glenn Beck screaming from thousands of miles away!
They would be equally offended by this picture as I am appalled by the abuse of Jesus Christ for political purposes - and propaganda paintings have never done the world any good . After all, they were used with considerable enthusiasm by sinister individuals like...
...and a painter is doing his object of worship no favour if he uses the same techniques. We now live in the 21st Century, and we should try to avoid all the grave mistakes which were made during the 20th Century.
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