A painting that portrays Barack Obama as Jesus Christ is currently on display in Boston, attracting a maelstrom of criticism from various Christian groups.
The painting, by artist Michael D’Antuono, is titled “Truth” and features Obama in blue suit wearing a crown of thorns with his arms outstretched, like Jesus on the cross. The piece is presently housed at Boston’s Bunker Hill Community College Art Gallery as part of D’Antuono’s “Artists on the Stump – the Road to the White House 2012” collection.
President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Bill Donohue, claimed the Obama Jesus painting was hypocritical, stating, “What makes this display so interesting is the flat denial of truth by so many artists and academicians, as well as their irrepressible hostility to Christianity,” he says. “Yet when it comes to their savior, President Obama, they not only pivot, they proselytize,” Donohue argues. It has been a busy week for Donohue, who also spoke out on Jamie Foxx’s glorification of the president at the 2012 Soul Train Awards.
D’ Antuono offered a rebuttal, claiming the crucifixion of the president was metaphorical. In a statement to Fox News, the artist declares his intent “was not to compare him to Jesus.” Rather, D’Antuono argues, the Obama as Jesus painting is a statement on partisan nature of our country.
“Peoples’ perceptions of the issues seem to get distorted though their political lenses,” the artist argues, “People have had drastically different interpretations from this painting. What you see in this painting will be a reflection of your own partisan view and that is precisely the point.”
The painting was originally supposed to be debut in New York on Obama’s 100th day in office, but was pulled at at the last minute due to negative buzz from critics.
“I always regretted cancelling my exhibit in New York because I feel my First Amendment rights should override someone’s hurt feelings,” D’Antuono told Fox News. “We should celebrate the fact that we live in a country where we are given the freedom to express ourselves.”
This time around, no one has protested the painting, according to a spokesperson for the Bunker Hill gallery.