Comments about ‘Artist Jon McNaughton pulls political, religious art from BYU Bookstore’

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Published: Wednesday, April 27 2011 8:00 p.m. MDT

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Pocatello, ID

I know Jon personally. He loves this country and sees what the present government is doing to it. Is he radical? No... He does want people to think when they see his work. Reaction is good. Offensive? Absolutely not. If you struggle with this painting and what it says you will pull your hair out when you see his painting titled: "The Forgotten Man". this painting makes liberals confulse. I am disapointed in BYU, but they have the right to do and sell what they want. The loss is to the customer. You see liberals like to censor anything they disagree with. (look at some of the above comments) censorship is okay if it has anything to do with conservatism or critical of our current president. Wake up!!!!! BTW Jon is a BYU alumnus. The bookstore is going to lose a lot of money from this decision. Because of one liberal professor. Amazing......... Jon is a great artist and an amazing person. I for one am proud to know him. He is one of the kindest people you will ever meet.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: dave | 9:14 a.m. April 28, 2011

I'm a conservative and I believe this artist has every right to produce and sell anything he wants to produce just like I supported the Danish artist who drew the cartoon that got him into trouble with the Muslim world.

I also believe private organizations have every right to pick and chose what they want to offer for sale.

Park City, UT

Mike Richards | 9:48 a.m. April 28, 2011
South Jordan, Utah

"Do you believe that 'liberals' allow discourse? Do you believe that 'liberals' champion free speech?"

I never said anything about liberals. I was commenting on the typical Utah "conservative". They confuse political conservatism with religious conservatism. In reality, the two are polar opposites.

Cedarite | 10:35 a.m. April 28, 2011
Cedar City, UT
You are absolutely correct.. Great post.

ida-coug | 10:43 a.m. April 28, 2011
Pocatello, ID
He loses all credibility when he states that "Obamacare" was passed with a disapproval of the American majority. It was prominent on the platform he used to get elected. A majority of Americans voted for him knowing full well that it would be done.

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

BYU is a religious institution, not political. To say that they're at fault for removing a political item from the bookstore and that they should show opposing views is like saying inappropriate material should be viewable in LDS Chapels. It makes no sense and it's wonderful that BYU realized the problems and fixed them. They were not refusing the artist from selling other items in the bookstore, just those that didn't fit the overall religious mission of the University.

Cedar City, UT

The Church and all parts of it must avoid political symbolism.

I've noticed that Deseret Book sells politically charged items. That's a big mistake.

The Church is a worldwide organization lead by the Priesthood and with the intent of bringing mortals unto Christ.

Worldwide there are a huge range of political entities and governments. From communism to socialism to far-right ideologies to monarchies and dictatorships. Every land has their current and historic range of political influences.

The Church is focused on Christianity. As Christ said "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's...". He did not care what the political issues were, His focus was on bringing us back to our Father.

Whether the Constitution is more important than China's current Consitution has nothing to do with the Church and the Gospel.

Martin Blank
Salt Lake City, UT

How ironic--a comment I tried to post earlier was censored, though it had, to my knowledge, nothing that violates the rules in the e-mail the DesNews sent me rejecting my comment.

I'll try again: True art allows for multiple interpretations and is a dialogue between the artist and his/her viewers. This painting has only one thing to say, and it says it badly. It's more a cartoon than art; more propaganda than reasoned dialogue. Like a black velvet painting of dogs playing poker, it only exists to get one message across: The conservative way of viewing the world is the only way; none else need apply.
I'm glad that BYU put principle above profit in this case. That tells me, more than anything, that BYU's still on the right track.

SJ Bobkins
Gilbert, AZ

The bad people have the truth, since Darwin's work while primitive by today's research is nevertheless proven and Skousen's conspiracy stuff which seeks to explain what is complicated in unrealistic elementary form, is discredited by any economic experts. If truth is a bad thing then put me on the bad side. Using Christ in any political way is disgusting, only meant to use the Savior of the world to sell a divisive message. If the Tea Party would go this far and hold s man most who know him would call a nutcase with an exaggerated resume, Skousen, in such high esteem then I'm very happy to remain a moderate.

Provo, UT

In the recent statement "The Mormon Ethic of Civility," the Church said the following:

"The Book of Mormon tells a sober story of civilizational decline in which various peoples repeat the cycle of prosperity, pride and fall. In almost every case, the seeds of decay begin with the violation of the simple rules of civility."

This painting is anything but civil. It demonizes entire groups of people with the most childish and clumsy stereotypes. It flies in the face of the Church's position of political neutrality.

"The political diversity of Latter-day Saints spans the ideological spectrum. Individual members are free to choose their own political philosophy and affiliation. Moreover, the Church itself is not aligned with any particular political ideology or movement. It defies category. Its moral values may be expressed in a number of parties and ideologies."

McNaughton's art directly contradicts the brethren on this. His painting insists that only one political position is acceptable to god.

"The Church views with concern the politics of fear and rhetorical extremism that render civil discussion impossible."

I can think of no better description of McNaughton's art than "fear and rhetorical extremism."

Kuds to BYU Bookstore.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

re: Dave,

Thanks for the clarification. It makes me feel so much better to know that you were only slamming religious conservatives in Utah.


Perhaps the Book Store is not at fault. As Rifeman wrote, it is a private organization and every business should have the right to choose what they sell. I know first hand how long a BYU football game lasts - when I can't buy a diet coke at the concession stand. No, I don't think that BYU should sell caffeinated products nor do I oppose their policy.

What I am having trouble with is understanding what BYU found offensive in that painting. They're not accountable to me but I am curious.

Draper, UT

Funny thing about this painting is that I'm not sure any of the founding fathers were christian. Were any of them christian? I'm talking actual history, not revisionist history.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Martin Blank | 11:41 a.m. April 28, 2011
Salt Lake City, UT

You said exactly what I was thinking when I saw his work at U-Mall around Christmas.
Illustration for the National Review would be the "Right" place this painting.
BYU wouldn't let a real Artist be displayed a few years ago, (Rodin) so why let a political statement parading as art remain?

Kearns, UT

BYU really needs to lighten up.

Centerville, UT

The negative fear of liberals taking over BYU is probably why it is good this painting is no longer sold at BYU as it apparently encourages such political thought. That helps establish BYU's good judgment in this case. The artist is free to sell it anywhere else. And I am free not to shop at such places.

Pocatello, ID

Wow... Jon has accomplish quite a bit by removing his paintings. It has brought out the self-righteous elitest members who tell us what the "brethren" would or wouldn't like about the painting. Even a few who think they are art critic's but wouldn't know great art if it bit them on the prosterior. Yet their hateful rhetoric shows in their comments. "Utah Conservative" and "I'm smarter than you" attitude. Then those of course who say the Savior would be offended by being used in the painting. I think the Savior is more offended by what is happening to this great country and from what is being allow under the guise of "Freedon of Speech" than be portrayed in a painting. Those of us who know Jon, know that he does nothing for self-grandization and has a great love for the Savior. BYU has the right not to sell the prints. Jon also has the right to remove them. I think if someone painted standing hand in hand with the Savior many of you would think it was great.

Murray Dad
Murray, UT

BYU, that bastion of free thinking, that Berkley of Zion, has pulled this painting.

Murray Dad
Murray, UT

Berkeley of Zion...

Murray, UT

A liberal professor at BYU, imagine that! I know students have graduated from the BYU law school and have gone on to become the executive director of the ACLU of Utah but this is revealing. Thanks for reporting this it was very enlightening.

Your Huckleberry
Iowa City, IA

This guys art =
1. Priestcraft (Making money off of religion)
2. Boring. The art does not stand out other than the inflamatory ideas he tries to stir up with his attempts to captivate extremists. They look pretty ordinary as far as art goes. So buy them if you want to but don't call it fine art.

Charlottesville, VA

Everyone seems agreed that this painting is a political statement. The artist is depicting Jesus Christ as taking sides in a political debate. The LDS Church (and BYU) maintains a position of political neutrality on all but a very few issues.

BYU does not want to risk sending the message that those who disagree with this artist on current issues are rebelling against God.

sandy, ut

Just another example of the church editing what they don't want the members or in this case the students to see. They do have a right not to carry the painting, but their reasoning is not sound. People who are offended by it don't have to buy it or look at it. People who do should be able to buy it and look at it all they want. How weak are we becoming as a society when we get offended by artwork? It seems people now days get offended by just about anything, and it is sad.

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