The last few weeks have been both emotional and contemplative for me as I have watched the public respond to the removal of all my artwork from the BYU Bookstore. I want to take a few moments and walk through my emotions in regards to going public with this issue.
When I made the decision to pull the rest of my art from the BYU Bookstore, I felt like I was about to say goodbye to an old friend. I figured that I could either remove the rest of my art and say nothing, or I could let the public know why they would no longer see me at Women’s Conference, BYU Education Week, etc. I prayerfully considered what I was doing and felt good about the decision.
I began by posting on my blog and Facebook about what happened at BYU and it didn’t take long before many began to react to the news. Many of the major papers in Utah weighed in on the story. Soon, the news grew outside of our state as many expressed astonishment at BYU for rejecting a “conservative” image such as this.
When I made my decision to go public I knew that I would pay a heavy price. Even without the One Nation Under God, I sell a significant amount of art at BYU. I expect to lose thousands of dollars in annual sales for this decision. I knew that BYU would probably be praised by the rest of the country for rejecting my painting. (If you read any of the comments from the Salt Lake Tribune or Huffington Post article you can see that.) In short, I knew I would be a very unpopular guy for drawing attention to this issue. (But when has popularity ever been a factor in doing the right thing.)
My only regret over the last two weeks is the number of people that have taken this issue out of context. Some have condemned BYU as a whole, and I don’t feel this way. My issue is with only a couple of individuals.
I hope people will remember that even if BYU feels a need to remain politically neutral, they must stand firm on conservative principles that make us a moral and righteous people. The painting, “One Nation Under God” is not meant to be politically correct. It does not endorse a political party. It only asks the viewer to consider what is at stake in our country. Every American should decide whether they will support our Constitution which defines a limited federal government. As John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” If anything good comes from all this I hope it will be to draw attention to the question…will you STAND FOR TRUTH or be caught up in the tide of political correctness that is sweeping over this nation?