A California congressman is getting some unwelcome attention after a group of activists confronted him for displaying an unusual painting of the Statue of Liberty in his office.
The painting, done by a high schooler for a student competition, depicts lady liberty wearing a Muslim hijab under her seven-spiked crown.
It’s prominently displayed in the reception room of the Congressman’s Santa Anaoffice:
The Orange County Register reported that Correa “sees nothing objectionable in the painting”:
“You take it in the context of a lady, probably a Muslim American — with all that’s going on, she’s a proud American,” Correa said by phone from Jerusalem, where he was attending meetings as part of a congressional information-gathering trip. “That’s what it says to me.”
Members of the group “We the People Rising,” an anti-illegal immigration group, asked the Congressman to take down the painting on July 3rd because members believed it inappropriately combined church and state.
Correa told the group members to bring him “a legal opinion that shows me it’s not allowed.”
We the People Rising’s Robin Hvidston told the OC Register that it’s clear the student is quite talented and “we wish her the best.”
The student’s painting came in fourth in Correa’s district-wide competition. The Register reports that the winner, “a photograph of a mural featuring Mexican American veterans from WWII,” won the competition and is on display in Washington, D.C. The hijab draped Statue of Liberty came in fourth.
Complaints to the Congressional Rep’s office have multiplied — including “unspecified threats” which the Register reports are being investigated by Capitol Police.
When Independent Journal Review called the Congressman’s Santa Ana office, a man who answered the phone but didn’t want to be identified confirmed that the painting is still up and prominently displayed.
The spokesman told IJR that the Congressman’s office was getting “a lot of calls” about the painting but he wouldn’t say which way the calls were going.