I first saw it over at A Spork in the Drawer which also has a link to an article on the statue from the NYT.
The statue is 72 feet tall. It's called "The Statue of Liberation Through Christ" and aside from hoisting a cross instead of a torch, the figure is also cradling the Ten Commandments and bears the inscription "Jehovah" on the crown.
The statue is on private property and was paid for with private funds. The pastor of the church who commissioned the statute calls it "a creative means of just really letting people know that God is the foundation of our nation."
He also has said that our nation's ills include "promotion of expressions of New Age, Wicca, secularism and humanism." And he added, "This statue proves that Jesus Christ is Lord over America, he is Lord over Tennessee, he is Lord over Memphis."
Now people can pretty much do whatever the hell they want (within the law) on private property. But I open with this story because I believe that the attitudes behind the creation of this statue also help to create the kind of atmosphere where the following events occur. And these events do involve the State (as in Separation of Church and State):
Fallen Soldier Gets a Bronze Star but No Pagan Star
At the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in the small town of Fernley, Nev., there is a wall of brass plaques for local heroes. But one space is blank. There is no memorial for Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart.As Shakespeare's Sister put's it:
That's because Stewart was a Wiccan, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to allow a symbol of the Wicca religion -- a five-pointed star within a circle, called a pentacle -- to be inscribed on U.S. military memorials or grave markers.
The minister who served as the chaplain of Sgt. Stewart’s unit, Rtd. Army Chaplain William Chrystal, strongly supports Sgt. Stewart’s widow’s request to have the pentacle put on his memorial. He suspects that the reasons it’s being denied are strictly political, considering “It’s such a clear first Amendment issue… I think the powers that be are afraid they’ll alienate conservative Christians if they approve a symbol that connotes witches and warlocks casting spells and brewing potions.” I believe he’s right, which leaves me with only one question.And this:
Just how much of our country are we going to sacrifice to protect the delicate sensibilities of the willfully ignorant?
Jewish Family “Forced to Move” Over School Lawsuit
A large Delaware school district promoted Christianity so aggressively that a Jewish family felt it necessary to move to Wilmington, two hours away, because they feared retaliation for filing a lawsuit. The religion (if any) of a second family in the lawsuit is not known, because they're suing as Jane and John Doe; they also fear retaliation. Both families are asking relief from "state-sponsored religion."But it apparently wasn't enough to just taunt a sixth grade kid, the Stop the ACLU Coalition went ahead and published the Dobrich's name, address, and phone number on their web site. You know, just in case anyone might want to make to take the suggestion that they "disappear" seriously.
On the evening in August 2004 when the board was to announce its new policy, hundreds of people turned out for the meeitng. The Dobrich family and Jane Doe felt intimidated and asked a state trooper to escort them.
The complaint recounts a raucous crowd that applauded the board's opening prayer and then, when sixth-grader Alexander Dobrich stood up to read a statement, yelled at him "take your yarmulke off!" His statement, read by Samantha, confided "I feel bad when kids in my class call me Jew boy."
...A former board member suggested that Mona Dobrich might "disappear" like Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the atheist whose Supreme Court case resulted in ending organized school prayer. She disappeared in 1995 and her dismembered body was found six years later.
The crowd booed an ACLU speaker and told her to "go back up north."
In the days after the meeting the community poured venom on the Dobriches. Callers to the local radio station said the family they should convert or leave the area. Someone called them and said the Ku Klux Klan was nearby.
Jesus' General calls this for what it is: a pogram.
I will echo what Shakespeare's Sister has to say:
"I’m so bloody sick of this bullshit I could puke."
UPDATE: Welcome Crooks & Liars readers!