How is a statue of Jesus in a park, free of religion? It's not!
There is a statue of Jesus in a national park in Montana. Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg denied there was any religious aspect to the statue at all. At all. In fact, he said there wasn't even a hint of a religious aspect to a statue of Jesus. He said it was a war memorial. He stated that no one ever complained about it being up for the past 60 years until now. Well, I can put the congressman's mind at ease.
Thousands of times over the life of that statue people were amazed that on federal property, there was a religious icon. Not everyone who viewed it was happy. Indeed, not all those unhappy with it were those "nasty" atheists. Some Christians, not evangelical or fundamentalist ones of course, probably didn't like it being in that setting.
The congressman, states because it was put up by the Knights of Columbus, "does not make it a religious statement." The Knights of Columbus by the way is the same outfit that put "one nation, under God" put in our Pledge of Allegiance. That had no religious aspect, either? The Congressman says it just honors war veterans. Atheists, Jews and others too, I guess.
I am sure atheist and Jewish war veterans are happy that there is a statue of Jesus honoring their service, right? Should we even pretend that the support by individuals for this statue is just because it is a supposed war memorial and nothing to do with its' religious nature?
Now, if this statue had no religious aspect to it whatsoever, why was it a Jesus statue? Could it not easily have been a statue of say, Thomas Paine? Abraham Lincoln? Thomas Edison? I mean, if it had no religious aspect whatsoever, couldn't have anything been used? Why a religious figure? Why use a religious figure that happens to promote and endorse one particular religion? Strange, coindence, right?
What would happen if this was a statue of a Hindu figure or of a Jewish star? What if there was a verse of the Quran on a statue? Would the congressman have defended such a statue? Is there a bridge in Montana I can see you? Are there many bridges in Montana?
The fact is if the religious right can say any statue of Jesus or a giant cross or even a 10 Commandments displays is a war memorial, they can put them up anywhere. On the front lawn of the Capitol, on the lawn of the Washington Monument. All they have to say, "what, you hate our veterans and don't want to honor them?" There could be millions of little statues of Jesus on public land and all could be called war memorials.
Fox and Friends, the regular propaganda of the religious right, conducted this interview. This is the same supposed news show that brushed off theft against atheist signs. The same outlet that regularly ignores constant vandalism against atheist/humanist signs on private property. Imagine if one Christian sign was vandalized? They would spend three hours on it!
Now, all I want is the government to be neutral. Put Jesus statues all you want on private land but why should the religious right have free reign to promote their beliefs on the land that belongs to us all? Honor veterans but not all veterans were Christians and not all Christian who died in a war would have been happy with a religious figure on public land honoring them. Is that too much to ask? It seems to be.