This is one of Norman Rockwell's most optimistic works in that there is no heavy shadows or darkness... except in the prayer book held by the man closest to the viewer. I think religion was a big deal to Rockwell and definitely is something he believed united all peoples (or really the universal search for spirituality and meaning). This is an illustration that has no opening for the snarky comments (and believe me, I've tried). Possibly his starkest work.
Chip Kidd brings it home with his biggest (in my mind) statement on abuse of freedom, his recurrent theme in his take on Rockwell's "Four Freedoms". Anyone who has ever seen this perversion of Christianity1 on the side of the road during Gay Pride parades/festivals knows what Kidd is talking about here. When people begin using the teachings of their religions in ways that magnify their own human paranoia and fear, how is this bringing the peace that is so often talked about in these teachings?
I've said it before... Rockwell's take on the four freedoms says "Remember. Be Grateful."
Kidd's says "Watch Out!"
1. I mean God is love... right?