Some time ago I stumbled upon a painting (I later found to be done by a Mormon) of Jesus holding the US Constitution as if the Founding Fathers did not so much write it as they were handed it by Christ himself. My brief comment about it was welcomed by a very vibrant conversation.
Lo and behold, there is a follow-up to the original painting:
The painting features current President Barak Obama standing on the Constitution and flanked by all the other presidents including George W. Bush who is just over his right shoulder. Click here for a larger, interactive, version of this painting.
What first strikes me about the painting itself (other than FDR standing) is that it is Obama who is standing on the Constitution amidst shreds of paper containing the Bill of Rights. Could we not also put other presidents, like, I don’t know, George W. Bush himself who presided over the near military state as the Patriot Act was signed into law to “protect” the American people while giving the federal government unprecedented power over the populous?
More Than Meets the Eye
Short of making this post overly political (considering the subject of the painting), I want to comment on the overtones that this work shares considering the artist who painted it and the similarities to the one formerly mentioned.
If, according to the artist Jon McNaughton, the Constitution was handed to our country’s founders by Christ himself, its violation is not only a violation of the law of the land, but of God’s sacred decree. We could equally expect the author to paint a picture of a group of nation leaders cracking the tablets containing the Ten Commandments or setting Bibles ablaze. Should the US Constitution be put on the same stand as divine revelations from God?
Jesus Christ did not visit the Native Americans after his resurrection and he did not offer new sacred texts written on gold plates that were only seen and translated by one man in secret. Christ did not visit the Founding Fathers of our country and hand them the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Constitution, while a firm foundation for our country, was not divinely inspired and is not infallible.
Secondly, and again more politically, this was painted by a Mormon. Is it any coincidence that another Mormon has a very good chance at achieving the Republican nomination for president? There are fewer subtleties in this work than the other, which contained several direct references to the Mormon faith, but it is no less a product of a specific political agenda that could definitely change the fabric of our republic.
It has been speculated that when George W. Bush was in office he saw himself as an active player in the End Times and acted accordingly. The hubris that goes into that kind of decision-making is frightening because it may be likely that decisions are made to actually incite violence than to quell it. What, then, happens when a person who considers the US Constitution the infallible Word of God along with the perspective that the Christian faith is wrong and incomplete? My friend, it sets us up for a potentially even more compromised presidency marred with blind arrogance.
The motto of the Reformers is more relevant today: Sola Scriptura! There is no higher authority that we can turn to than the inspired Word of God. The Bible teaches us the history of God’s action and the story of humanity’s fall from grace and the restoration of God’s people by the salvific work of Christ on the cross. No other document can compare and no other document is on the same level as this one.