Friday Afternoon, January 13, 2023

On Tuesday, January 10, MRFF, acting on a complaint from a group of seventeen alumni, staff, faculty, and midshipmen at the United
States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, sent
a demand to the Academy’s superintendent that a gigantic painting of Jesus hovering over a lifeboat be removed from
its completely improper and Constitution-violating location
in the Academy’s administrative building.

USMMA’s superintendent, Vice Admiral Joanna M. Nunan,
promptly responded that evening, thanking MRFF for
contacting her about this matter and telling MRFF that
she planned to have the painting covered with a curtain.

True to her word, Vice Admiral Nunan had the painting
covered by yesterday, January 12, calling it "IMMEDIATE
REMEDIATION" and sending MRFF a photo as proof!
Before and after photos of painting without curtain and painting covered by curtain
"After" photo sent to MRFF by Vice Admiral Nunan shows painting
covered by temporary curtains that will remain until USMMA
procures permanent curtains more befitting the elegant room.
Photo credit "Before" photo: U.S. Coast Guard (The appearance of U.S. Department of
Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.) 
MRFF Matters – 1/13/23 – MRFF Salutes
Vice Admiral Joanna Nunan for
Swiftly Concealing Jesus Painting
Yesterday's email from Vice Admiral Nunan accompanying photo of the now-covered painting

Dear Mr. Weinstein,

I am glad that you agree that the installation of curtains will resolve the concerns with the painting. Given the historic nature of Wiley Hall, in which the picture hangs, the Academy is in the process of purchasing curtains that befit the elegance of the building. In the interim, and to immediately remediate the matter, the Academy has installed temporary curtains (picture attached).

When the permanent curtains and explanatory plaque are installed, I will send you pictures of those.

Thank you again for bringing this to my attention.


VADM Joanna M. Nunan, USMS
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
Kings Point, NY

MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein's response to Vice Admiral Nunan

From: Michael L Weinstein <>
Date: January 12, 2023 at 4:50:06 PM MST
To: "Nunan, VADM Joanna" 

……….roger and copy that, Admiral Nunan………MRFF and our now 18 USMMA midshipmen, faculty, staff and graduate clients on this matter at Kings Point thank you for your expeditious, corrective action here to fix this unconstitutional, sectarian display of Jesus Christ in the subject painting….…..we look forward to receiving the pictures of both the plaque and permanent curtains when they are installed……we at MRFF wish you all the best and continuing success as the Academy’s new Superintendent…..Mikey Weinstein, Founder and President, Military Religious Freedom Foundation 505-250-7727

Previous correspondence between Mikey Weinstein and Vice Admiral Nunan from January 10

From: Michael L Weinstein <>
Subject: URGENT! U.S. Constitutional Civil Rights Violation Under Your Direct Command
Date: January 10, 2023 at 4:57:27 PM MST

Vice Admiral Joanna M. Nunan
United States Maritime Service
United States Merchant Marine Academy
Kings Point, New York

Dear Vice Admiral Nunan,

My name is Mikey Weinstein, and I am the Founder and President of a large civil rights advocacy organization known as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF).

MRFF is presently representing 17 United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) midshipmen, faculty, staff, and graduates regarding the blatantly outrageous matter of unconstitutional Christian domination, triumphalism, and exceptionalism, as specifically detailed below. 

For the record, MRFF’s clients on this matter at USMMA, most of whom are under your direct command, are Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, and Native American Spiritualist.

I come to you this day to demand that the USMMA, which you currently command as its Superintendent, expeditiously remove a massive, sectarian painting illustrating the supremacy of Jesus Christ from the so-called “Elliot M. See Room” located inside of Wiley Hall, which serves as an administrative building at USMMA.

I am sure that you are quite well aware of that particular painting, ma’am. 

In this regard, please see the E-Mail directly below my E-mail to you from a USMMA graduate serving as the leader of the group of MRFF clients in this most unfortunate matter.

Admiral Nunan, I don’t want to belabor the brutally obvious point that this extremely large painting of Jesus is absolutely antithetical and destructive, as it is currently displayed, to the maintenance of good order, morale, discipline, and unit cohesion at USMMA, especially to non-Christians under your command. 

I’m not going to offer you a free clinic on the germane Constitutional law attendant to this sordid matter. However, I will tell you that the law here always focusses on 3 major anchors of analysis: time, place and manner.

Indeed, the time, place, and manner in which this enormous painting of Jesus is currently being displayed is egregiously violative of all accepted time, place, and manner legal mandates. 

MRFF is hereby demanding on behalf of its 17 aggrieved USMMA clients that this Jesus painting be immediately removed from its present situs to another place at USMMA where its display is in full accord with the salient time, place, and manner requirements of American Constitutional law, such as the USMMA Mariners Chapel as mentioned in the E-Mail from the USMMA graduate below.

Admiral Nunan, you apparently have a background in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and thus, MRFF appeals to your good faith, rationality, and reason to see how utterly untenable it is for you to continue to allow the display of that sectarian Christian supremacy painting in Wiley Hall.

To the credit of the Department of Defense (DoD), it banned the display, anywhere worldwide, on its military installations of the noxious Confederate flag about 2 and half years ago because DoD correctly recognized how such a display wretchedly eviscerates good order, morale, discipline and unit cohesion within its ranks.

We understand that USMMA and the USMS are not part of DoD but are instead under the control of the Department of Transportation (DOT). We seriously doubt that DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, copied above, would be very pleased to know the time, place and manner in which USMMA is presently displaying that sectarian Jesus supremacy painting.

The outrageousness of that Jesus painting’s display is only further exacerbated by the fact that this room is also used regularly for USMMA Honor Code violation boards where midshipmen are literally fighting for their careers, and, often even more, as they face the shameful ignominy of potential expulsion with prejudice if found guilty of USMMA Honor Code violations.

Oh, I could go on and on, Admiral, but the consequential facts here speak for themselves.

I realize that you only took over command of the Academy about a month ago. Nevertheless, it is surely a shame that the command climate at USMMA is seemingly toxic enough to preclude those faculty, midshipmen, staff, and graduates under your command, and others similarly situated, from raising their civil rights grievances about this Jesus painting internally. Truly, they felt they could not do so without facing the very real likelihood of extremely serious blowback from you and/or your senior USMMA leadership. 

Their genuine fear of reprisal is why they came to MRFF for help.

MRFF will stand by to receive your answer to our demand, on behalf of our 17 USMMA clients, that USMMA is removing that non-secular Jesus painting from its current illicit location to another location at USMMA where Constitutional law will be satisfied by its prominent display, such as the aforementioned USMMA Mariners Chapel.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Esq.
Founder and President
Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF)

From: MRFF Client's/U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Graduate’s E-Mail Address Withheld
Subject: Request help from Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
Date: January 10, 2023 at 1:25:34 PM MST
To: Mikey Weinstein <>


I am an alumnus of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) located in Kings Point, New York. I am writing on behalf of a group of aggrieved Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Native American, atheist and agnostic USMMA midshipmen, alums, staff, and faculty requesting MRFF's help concerning the painting of Jesus standing over a lifeboat in the Elliot M. See room within Wiley Hall, the administrative building at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. We choose to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, retribution, and retaliation from USMMA leadership, Maritime Administration leadership, and Department of Transportation leadership. 

The painting of Jesus standing over an open lifeboat carrying survivors of a sunken merchant ship has hung in the Elliot M. See room for decades denigrating non-Christians. Its location in the administration building implies that the Academy officially endorses Christianity over other faiths. It marginalizes non-Christian members of the Academy. In addition, the Elliot M. See room serves as the backdrop for Midshipmen Honor Boards, creating a hostile atmosphere for non-Christian midshipmen defending themselves against alleged honor violations. The painting does not ensure a diverse, equitable, or inclusive environment for non-Christian USMMA midshipmen, graduates, staff, or faculty. 

The Superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is Vice Admiral Joanna Nunan, United States Maritime Service, a U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate and retired U.S. Coast Guard Admiral. While in the Coast Guard, she served as Vice Chair of the United States Coast Guard Academy Board of Trustees and was also that body’s Diversity and Inclusion Chief, helming efforts to increase diversity and inclusion within the U.S. Coast Guard. Her background provides the experience and knowledge to ensure a welcoming, diverse, equitable, and inclusive Academy. We implore her to immediately rectify the painting’s location. Anything else is completely unacceptable.  

We want the painting moved to the USMMA Mariners Chapel to ensure an inclusive Academy experience for all faiths and non-faith traditions. We look forward to the Academy and Superintendent's quick action on this matter. Some members of this group are new MRFF clients, and some are prior MRFF clients; we thank you for everything you do and your support in ensuring Constitutionally-guaranteed religious freedom. 


A graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

Please withhold my name and personal information

Vice Admiral Nunan’s prompt response that evening

Thank you for reaching out to me on this matter. I had already identified similar concerns with this painting, and I am taking steps to address it. First, I have asked my staff to purchase a curtain to be placed in front of the painting. This will completely block the painting from view, but also allow those who wish to view it the opportunity to do so. Second, I have asked the Director of the American Merchant Marine Museum to prepare a plaque that explains the history of the painting, which will be installed near it. Given the size of the painting, there is no other location to which it can be moved.

I ask your patience as the Academy takes these necessary and appropriate steps. I assure you that no meetings with mandatory attendance, including Honor Board hearings, will be held in the conference room until this work is complete. And I commit to providing you with confirmation once completed, including a picture.

Again, I sincerely appreciate you bringing the concerns of those you represent to my attention.


VADM Joanna Nunan, USMS
U. S. Merchant Marine Academy

Mikey Weinstein's reply

From: Michael L Weinstein <>
Subject: URGENT! U.S. Constitutional Civil Rights Violation Under Your Direct Command
Date: January 10, 2023 at 9:25:23 PM MST
To: "Nunan, VADM Joanna" <NunanJ@USMMA.EDU>
Cc: Secretary Buttigieg <>

…..copy that, Admiral….

…..On behalf of MRFF and our 17 midshipmen, faculty, staff and graduate clients at USMMA, we thank you for the swift reply, Admiral Nunan…

.....especially at such a late hour on a weeknight, where you are located in New York, and after having just received our demand message only about 3 hours earlier…

…...the specific ameliorating steps and plans you outlined below to remedy this unconstitutional debacle are acceptable to MRFF and our clients…

…..Admiral, you have asked for our “patience” and we understand why you did so……however, I am sure that you also reasonably understand that it is VERY hard for those who have been viciously oppressed for so many years, with their basic civil rights being continuously, openly and notoriously violated, to just sit back quietly for an institution like USMMA to actually follow through in a timely manner as you have graciously described below ……

…….Leo Tolstoy has a great quote about this precise request you have made for “patience”; “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”…..however, Abraham Lincoln also opined in this regard, “I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.”

…..MRFF and its clients at USMMA will grant your respectful request for the “warriors” of some quantity of patience and time here but I can assure you that we will NEVER “walk back” to allow the prior decades of disastrous display of that Jesus supremacy painting to wreak havoc upon those at USMMA who cannot fight back without exposing themselves and their families to hideous institutional revenge, retaliation reprisal and retribution at the Academy ….

……in this regard, we DO ask two things of you please, Admiral; (1) approximately how MUCH time should we expect to pass here before the curtain and plaque are acquired and put into place?….and, (2) we presume that you have already made it crystal clear to all of those under your command at USMMA that absolutely NO mandatory meetings will ever be held in that room again until at least such time that the curtain you propose is properly installed?

….again, MRFF and our USMMA clients appreciate what you have expeditiously confirmed to us on the record here….

……we respectfully await the answers to our 2 queries above, Admiral Nunan…

………with gratitude, Mikey Weinstein/MRFF 505-250-7727

Merchant Marine Academy clients thank MRFF

"Thank You from Merchant Marine Academy group"

From: MRFF Client/USMMA Alum’s E-Mail Address Withheld
Subject: Thank You from Merchant Marine Academy group
Date: January 11, 2023 at 10:03:11 AM MST
To: Mikey Weinstein <>


On behalf of the Merchant Marine Academy group, we want to thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication on solving the painting of Jesus in the Elliot M. See room in Wiley Hall.

This would not have happened without your work.

Thank you again.

Anonymous Alumnus

Email from non-Christian U.S. Merchant Marine Academy grad after seeing MRFF's news that 
the gigantic Jesus painting in the Academy's administrative building would be covered up


From: (USMMA graduate's name withheld)
Date: January 12, 2023 at 8:51:54 AM MST
Subject: USMMA

Good morning!

I just read the article discussing the MRFF's request to USMMA to cover up the Jesus painting in the Elliott M See Room, and I wanted to reach out to say THANK YOU!

I have no idea who the seventeen people are that chimed in to request to have it covered/removed, but feel free to add my name to that list. 

I attended *KP from 20XX to 20XX, graduating with an Engineering Xxxxx degree and commissioning in the USCG. I am now out of the Coast Guard and enjoying life as a private citizen, but I still recall clearly how I felt as a non-Christian at KP. 

I also wanted to thank the Weinstein family personally for writing their book and publishing it. I was given it as a gift after I was accepted to USMMA and it was on my desk shelf all four years that I was at the Academy. On bad days, it would remind me that others felt the same way and that I had just as much of a right to be at KP as anyone else. 

I'd always wondered if the family did anything beyond publishing the book, and now I have my answer!

Thanks so much for all you do and I'm excited to see what comes next!

Best Regards, 

(name withheld)

*KP=Kings Point, NY, the location of USMMA

A few examples of MRFF's many successes
in getting religious artwork removed
from command areas

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