A Jewish artist who is planning to work on "the ultimate portrait of Christ" is inviting President Obama to offer his testimony of faith in Jesus for an ambitious million-Christian project.
Already, Israel-born artist David Ilan has called upon Christians across the world to share their testimony and "reserve a dot" on "The People's Portrait of Christ," which will consist of at least one million dots.
Ilan, who was raised in Los Angeles, uses a drawing technique called Pointillism, in which he creates portraits with pen and ink on canvas using only dots.
The artist came up with the idea for the Christ portrait after working on a similar project involving survivors of rape and sexual abuse. Through his "Points with Purpose" project, Ilan noticed that the name "Jesus" kept coming up in the survivors' stories. And he also noticed that believers in Jesus were further along in their recovery than those who did not mentioned Jesus.
This observation inspired him to create a portrait of Jesus in which believers would explain the impact Jesus has had on their life.
"I really want to know exactly how Jesus helps people in such a powerful way, because I see firsthand with the survivors in Points with Purpose that he does," Ilan explained.
In light of recently publicized polls showing only one third of Americans believing President Obama is a Christian, Ilan felt Obama's answer to the project's question – "Why Jesus?" – might help some to cast away their doubts over Obama's faith.
On Wednesday, Ilan issued an open invitation to the White House for Obama to get his dot and share how Jesus has made a positive difference in his life.
Since he is Jewish, Ilan feels he's in an impartial position to jump into the Christian-Muslim debate over Obama's faith.
"The project gives President Obama a unique opportunity to set the record straight about his religious beliefs," Ilan said. "One million other Christians are doing the same thing, so the President isn't being singled out because of the controversy."
And while a "dot" from the president would be a big catch for the project, Ilan made it clear that Obama's dot will be the same size as the dots representing all the other Christians who are coming together to form the image of Christ.
Obama's dot, the artist said, will be right next to the dots of average people from nearly every country on Earth.
"When it comes to religion, the president is on the same level as everyone," Ilan remarked. "He will be sharing his beliefs about Jesus just like the rest of the Christians in the project. The only difference is that President Obama will be proving something about himself at the same time."
Earlier this month, the artist expressed his hope in getting one million Christians to participate in his project by midnight Christmas Eve. If successful, he will begin drawing on Christmas Day.
And if he can begin on Christmas, Illan expects to finish the portrait by Easter Sunday.
To date, Ilan has done portraits of celebrities including David Beckham and Diana Ross. For his latest project, Ilan is recruiting Christians through the website www.dotsforjesus.com.