Relying on advice from attorney general, state parks officials won’t allow ‘Surfing Madonna’ on public property

The following are excerpts from a March 16 story in the North County Times. A link to the full story is provided below.

After seeking legal advice from the state attorney general’s office, the State Parks system has decided not to allow the famed “Surfing Madonna” mosaic to be displayed on state-owned land near Moonlight Beach.

“Their opinion was very clear, and that opinion was that it would violate the state constitution,” Clay Phillips, superintendent of the State Parks’ San Diego Coast District, said Friday.

Phillips said that the attorney general’s office has ruled that displaying the 10-foot-by-10-foot mosaic, which features the Virgin of Guadalupe as a surfer, on state-owned property would violate the “no preference” clause of the state constitution. That clause states that the state cannot show, or even appear to show, preference for one religion over another, he noted.

The mosaic’s creator, Leucadia resident Mark Patterson, expressed disappointment Friday at the news, but said he hadn’t yet given up hope that his preferred site — state-owned land on the northwest corner of Coast Highway 101 and Encinitas Boulevard — can still work out…

Patterson, who isn’t Catholic, has repeatedly said that he doesn’t consider his piece to be religious. The Virgin of Guadalupe is a cultural icon in Southern California and the piece’s message is “save the ocean,” he has stressed.

He said Friday that he would love to get his mosaic —- a rogue public art piece that he first secretly attached to a railroad bridge support along Encinitas Boulevard last spring — back out on public display. The mosaic has been storage ever since Patterson was forced by the city of Encinitas to remove it from the bridge support last summer…

Phillips, the local State Parks superintendent, said that the attorney general’s office did an extensive review of the piece’s history, people’s opinions about it and the artist’s view of it. It found that there was evidence that people didn’t view it as religious artwork, he said.

However, “they also did find evidence that the artist did proclaim it as a religious piece,” Phillips said, citing a Feb. 3 posting that Patterson made on the California Catholic daily blog. In that blog posting, Patterson wrote that “the Virgin came to me three times over the course of five years — and I felt completely inspired by Her when I made the mosaic.”

In the post, Patterson also noted that he isn’t Catholic, but is a Christian and meant no disrespect by using the Virgin’s image in his mosaic.

Patterson confirmed Friday that he wrote the blog posting, saying he wrote it to respond to people who were upset about him using the image. He said he did not mean to imply that he was inspired by a religious vision when he created his mosaic. The image of the Madonna as an ocean-loving surfer was simply a picture that he found himself drawing several times in his notebooks, he said…

To read the full story in the North County TimesClick Here.


Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 12:12 AM By JLS
As a public official, if the Atty General even thinks or is suspected of thinking about religion, she should immediately be arrested and sent to a Chinese re-education camp.

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 3:46 AM By BETH
Our Blessed Mother never appeared participating in sports to anyone, nor is sports participation in the Bible. This is a sacrilege. Using religious icons to promote political thoughts is an abomination. If Patterson used an Islam Icon, he would not be here to tell the story.

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 4:56 AM By Debbie
At least the State had the sense to recognize a Religous figure/icon when they see one, even if they don’t care about its desecration. Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee ……- – – also please ask your Son to bless our Country, our State and the rotten Catholic voters who put evil politicians into office.

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 6:44 AM By JMJ
As long as the state doesn’t allow or put up any other such displays for other ‘religions’ there shouldn’t dismay. Of course, as I mentioned before, Mary or Jesus wants our salvation, which is far more important than ‘saving’ the ocean and besides, with all of the waxes that those surfers put on their boards and/or bodies, it just cannot be doing the ocean or the fishes any good. At least that mosaic isn’t as bad as what Obama is doing to our country with his attacks on God’s people. +JMJ+

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 7:59 AM By Life Lady
Please can this object be kept where it is and forgotten? Our Blessed Mother’s images are deserving of a more respectful treatment of interpretation. Would anyone consider it appropriate to display Mohammed as a surfing Imam? This “artist” might benefit from a history lesson of Her impact on world events beginning from her initial “be it done unto me according to thy word”. If he had any true love for Her he might have developed his “inspired thoughts” into something better suited to Her.

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 8:21 AM By Laurette Elsberry
I bet that far-left California Attorney General Kamala Harris would not decree that St. Nicholas (“Santa Claus”) is forbidden on State property. The promoters of consumerist religious holidays would demand her recall. But what about “All Hallows” and “St. Valentine’s Day”? Maybe only the Easter Bunny would be safe from Harris.

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 8:30 AM By Catherine
So the state attorney general’s office even validates the importance of CCD’s blog. Awesome! We do need to pray for Mark. It looks like he was trying to build a campfire in two different campgrounds. First he posted on CCD that he was inspired to do the mosaic. Next he washed his hands of wanting to appear religious in order to have his artwork exposed. Then the office of the state attorney general washed their hands of Mark’s artwork when they saw what Mark posted on CCD. Perhaps Mark Peterson should start working on a new mosaic project. How about a chameleon that changes different colors with each different passer by?

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 9:25 AM By MacDonald
@ Beth 3:36 AM — no sports in the Bible? How about Saint Paul: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24) However, I still agree with you that Our Lady of Guadalupe, as far as I know, was never into the surfing scene.

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 9:29 AM By Maryanne Leonard
The sooner this abomination is removed and forgotten, the better. As a mosaic artist, I declare that this work is not art; as a Catholic, I say that this is not religion; and as a taxpayer, I say that this effort has earned and deserves no place in the public venue. This was just a way for a second-rate worker in mosaics to try to garner free publicity, knowing well that it would result in just exactly what happened. All the sputtering and raving about this depiction of the Madonna by faithful Catholics was an embarrassment, reflecting both ignorance of our magnificent faith heritage and ignorance of this man’s obvious true motivation in pulling this manipulative prank on the gullible. The image of the Madonna has been exploited here for personal aggrandizement, and this regrettable endeavor is to be denounced on all levels. Thank God above that the State of California agrees and will see to it that this ridiculous incident is brought to a close.

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 10:11 AM By J. K. Slainte
Are there not religious-themed paintings in public museums and other facilities? Will the Attorney General now commence an art-burning campaign?

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 10:27 AM By Bud 
Mr. Patterson wasn’t honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe when he created the “Oh so Chic” what he calls art….. Like the Smithsonian “chic art.” The so-called artists know why they did what they did and it isn’t about art. For once, the California government is correct!!!! Take it down!!!! let the “artist” find another free place to put grafitti!

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 11:28 AM By k
I was just reading an article about how much information retailers have on their customers. One of the things it said is that they know what you post online. Here, this artist’s work is being judged because he declared on CCD that it was inspired.

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 11:37 AM By Andrew
MacDonald, Our Lady was not a weight lifter, skier, swimmer or running athelete either. The Bible never attributes any sports to her or her Son, or to the Apostles. Paul never said the Holy Family was in sports and never was he. In fact he said he does NOT run aimlesslly, or box as one beating the air.

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 11:51 AM By Catherine
Maryanne Leonard, Now don’t be too harsh on your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Remember two things. First, we are always supposed to set the example of charity to invite everyone to know the Teachings of the Catholic Church. If they exhibit bad behavior or choose differently then they choose differently because God gives each and every one of us free will. Christ came to redeem all sinners Maryanne. St. Paul was once a great persecutor of Christ. We should invite all to hear the truths of our beautiful faith. Yes, we even invite those who desire personal aggrandizement. Then our error will not have been on the side of a lack of charity. Second, Maryanne, ugliness is also in the eye of the beholder. Many might be tempted to return the harshness by informing you that the embracing of the very ugly monstrosity known as the Crystal Cathedral is also an artistic embarrassment that reflects both ignorance of the Catholic Faith and ignorance of what a Catholic Church should represent. Yes, the humiliating purchase of the Crystal Cathedral is a testimony to the personal aggrandizement to an ego but you still choose to embrace this ugly purchase. Just yesterday a Protestant woman asked me, “What in the heck was that bishop thinking?” You see Maryanne, ugliness can also be embraced and for many Catholics this is a much bigger embarrassment than your delegation of embarrassment rights to others.

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 2:16 PM By k
Whatever happened to Ray Stevens?

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 2:43 PM By JLS
Andrew, nor does the Bible say that the faithful are meant to be couch potatoes. But the Bible does say that “God is all things to all men” (St Paul). BTW, St Paul surfed into the beach from one of his shipwrecks … you probably did not know this. Gee, I wonder if Mary, Star of the Sea was there with him.

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 2:46 PM By JLS
Faith is like a mustard seed, and inspiration is much like this as well. Jesus said not to prevent his “little ones” from approaching him. And here we have lots of stiff necked Catholics forbidding a man’s attempt to express an inspiration of faith in Blessed Mary Ever Virgin. Jesus is not only God, yet He is also completely man … He is marrying Heaven and Earth, and earth includes many peoples of many different ways of life, not merely those who sit on couches, eating chips and watching TV for the latest word from God.

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 3:03 PM By Maryanne Leonard
Catherine, I agree with you that the Crystal Cathedral is an architectural abomination and wish that it were not about to be a place of Catholic worship. But it is, and I do have to salute the financial brilliance of this very practical purchase, a necessary consideration in this day and time. I also hope there will eventually be a big remodeling budget and project and, failing that, I hope that God will force our hands and send us a big earthquake merely under this building, at off hours, of course, so that no one is hurt. Your thoughts about Christ coming to redeem all sinners is true and seems especially needed in the case of this artist, who has said he is not a believer. Even more thrilling than the thought of saving our beautiful ocean, as wonderful as that concept is, would be saving of the soul of a human being for eternity. I believe the task of approaching a man who dares to depict Our Lady as an Orange County surfer chick is a challenging project well beyond my abilities, but I would invite you or anyone else out there so inclined to give it their best shot, with my blessings. I’m pretty busy here trying to save my own soul but agree with you that sharing the message that Christ came to redeem all sinners, including this man, is the most charitable, loving and Christian thing anyone can do.