Patriotism, As Understood by Christians

I guess I missed this when it came out in 2005.

The Statue of Liberation Through Christ “combines Christianity with patriotism to showcase the origins of God’s design for America.”

Taking 5 years to build, at a cost of $260,000, and 72 feet tall, this little beauty stands out front of “World Overcomers” church on the corner of Winchester and Kirby Roads in Memphis, TN, cheek-by-jowl with a dry cleaner, jeweler, convenience store, auto service center and auto glass shop.

“Lady Liberation” rather than Lady Liberty …

extends the cross of Christ high above her head proclaiming to the world man’s true source of full and complete liberation; and that America belongs to God through Jesus Christ.

And if that’s not weird enough, she holds the Ten Commandments in her arm. And the tear on her cheek

represents Lady Liberation’s despair over America’s rapid decline from its Judeo-Christian values. She weeps for our nation’s self-destruction as the protective hand of God is removed.

The interesting thing about this is that it exists at all. Here’s what the developers’ website has to say about the REAL Statue:

THE STATUE OF LIBERTY is probably the nation’s most familiar iconic symbol of patriotism and independence. It also represents freedom for the entire world. For over a century now, her right torch-filled hand has been extended in the air providing a light that has pointed millions of immigrants to the liberty capital of the world.

THE STATUE OF LIBERTY was presented to the United States by France in the late 19th century. It stands at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor as a welcome to all returning Americans, visitors, and especially millions of immigrants who come looking for opportunity, freedom, prosperity, and liberty.

The copper statue was a centennial gift from France to the U.S. and a sign of friendship between the two countries. The statue personifies American ideals, much like Uncle Sam. In a more general sense, the statue represents liberation from tyranny, dictatorship, communism, and monarchy.

Yet alongside that bit the site can unselfconsciously say:

LADY LIBERATION extends the cross of Christ high above her head proclaiming to the world man’s true source of full and complete liberation; and that America belongs to God through Jesus Christ.

and

This nation was designed by God to be a place where men, women, boys, and girls from every race, color, and creed could come and pursue God peaceably and worship Him as they so choose.

We praise God for Lady Liberty’s message of freedom from tyranny, dictatorship, communism, and monarchy; lighting her torch to mankind for freedom from physical restraint and allowing the positive enjoyment of various social, political, and economic rights and privileges.

Yet, Liberty’s message is still incomplete. It lacks spiritual liberty and significance. Millions find freedom from physical or social tyranny, yet they are enslaved in spiritual bondage and dictatorship by a spiritual enemy named Satan.

Gah.

The image of the Statue has been dragooned into advertising, cartoons, movies, countless purposes that have little to do with its original meaning, so I guess I shouldn’t have a problem with yet another group borrowing it to sell their message. But something about it being used in this way seems especially offensive.

Pitching a message so skewed from its original meaning — even diametrically opposite in some ways (submission to a mystical heavenly “king” rather than democratic equality, for instance, or allegiance to a supposed holy book rather than a Constitution constructed by men) — I can only say it irks me.

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