Just when you thought the wingnuts couldn’t become any more ridiculous, they manage to top their own world record for utter stupidity. Julio Severa, a Brazilian blogger, writes at — of course — BarbWire that the Statue of Liberty is a pagan symbol that has cursed America. Because Islam, something something something.
The Statue of Liberty was originally conceived as a Muslim woman to stay at the approach to the Suez Canal in Egypt, a lantern in her upraised hand serving as both lighthouse and a symbol of progress.
But the sculptor, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi of France, was unable to sell the idea to the ruler of Egypt, because in the Islamic world, women are symbols of submission, not progress. So the Islamic Egypt rejected the “Islamic woman of progress.”
Yet, Bartholdi did not give up his idea. He sold it to Americans, by transforming the Muslim woman into a neo-classical sculpture representing the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertas, or Lady Liberty — as she is known today.
Not that the facts matter at all to someone like Severa, and not that his conclusion would be any less absurd if the factual premise were false, let’s start with a bit of fact-checking. It’s true that Bartholdi originally wanted to build a similar statue to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal. Bartholdi was endlessly fascinated by massive public works and monuments and his goal was to commemorate that incredible achievement. It had nothing at all to do with Islam, and as Severa notes, it was rejected as un-Islamic by the Egyptian leader at the time. Yet somehow Severa thinks this makes the later statue — not the same one he conceived for the Egyptian project — tainted by Islam, and therefore “pagan.”
And that’s the second problem. Islam is not a pagan religion. A pagan religion is one that does not stem from Abraham, which means is not Christian, Jewish or Muslim. Paganism was originally coined by Christians as a broad label for various groups of polytheists they interacted with. Now, if he actually wanted to find a pagan link to the Statue of Liberty, he could have noted that Bartholdi’s inspiration for the statue was the ancient Collosus of Rhodes, a statue of the Greek sun God Helios. But that fact is nowhere to be found in his article.
In the 1880s, in the exact time when America accepted goddess Libertas, over 90 percent Americans were Protestant. So the most natural symbol to represent America was the Bible, not a pagan sculpture.
How America came to accept a pagan symbol to represent her identity is a mystery. Perhaps, if revivals that came to America in the early 1900s and 1960s had come in the 1880s, America could have rejected the pagan goddess Libertas…
America accepted a disgrace on herself without knowing. A Roman pagan symbol of an old dead empire involved in the culture of death. Mystery of mysteries: the Roman goddess that is in New York has a hidden female soul submissive to Islam. The Statue of Liberty brings a pagan curse from the defunct Roman Empire. And as a bonus in the pagan curse, there is an Islamic curse…
The U.S. Libertas, and its occult submissive Muslim female soul, is a symbol fit for a pagan America. It promises freedom while she is herself a slave of her corruptions and depravities.
People often ask me why I write about these people and their bizarre ideas. The answer, one would think, should be obvious: Because there are a lot of people out there who actually believe this stuff. Millions and millions and millions of them. They influence elections. They run government agencies. They sit on university boards and design homeschool curricula. Their ideas are distributed on websites like BarbWire, owned by a guy who was the assistant dean of the Liberty University Law School, which is hugely influential on the Christian right. We need to shine the light on this deranged ideology rather than ignore it.