A JUDGE has given the green light to a statue that a cluster of Catholic killjoys tried to have banned on the grounds that it would make the Spanish city a focus of satanic worship.
The statue’s sculptor, José Antonio Abella, above, said he was delighted at the judge’s decision and hoped it would end the media frenzy that gripped the city after the sculpture was first unveiled.
The judge’s dismissal of an injunction sought by the San Miguel and San Frutos Association was reported by the Guardian which said that the local council commissioned the statue to celebrate the legend that its Roman aqueduct was built by the devil in a single night – and to get tourists into less-visited neighbourhoods.
The plan to erect Abella’s piece – showing a jovial devil taking a selfie – was temporarily halted after a local Catholic group launched an online petition claiming it was overly friendly and insufficiently abominable to constitute an accurate representation of Satan.
The group whined that Abella’s creation “glorified evil” and would be deeply offensive to Catholics. It argued that in “sacred iconography” Satan is always shown to be “despicable and repulsive” and that people would find “a good-natured” devil grossly abhorrent.
Their petition to get rid of the statue gathered more than 5,600 signatures in three months.
Maria Esther Lázaro, a founder of the association, is reported here as saying:
We found it repulsive, we think it’s obscene, and we don’t think that this statue is suitable to represent the city
But the city council was informed last week that the judge had dismissed the complaint and ordered the complainants to pay €500 (£440) in legal costs.
Segovia’s heritage councillor, Claudia de Santos, above, said the decision meant the statue could be installed as early as this week on the intended spot 200 metres from the aqueduct.
We’re living in a time when people and groups can use social media to amplify their grievances when they feel their rights are being attacked. But I think the great majority of Segovians would see what they’ve done as irrational. We don’t understand how they can claim that this statue somehow violates their religious sensibilities.
She added that the council’s aim had always been to use the legend and statue to attract more visitors to other examples of the city’s Roman and medieval splendours.
Asked how the council felt about suggestions that the statue could make Segovia a pilgrimage site for satanists, De Santos replied:
I don’t think there’s any possible answer to that question. I don’t have the intellectual capacity to counter it and I doubt there is such a thing as satanic tourism.
Sculpture has become increasingly unacceptable in Pakistan, notably since General Zia’s Islamisation in the 1980s when even the paintings that depicted the human figure, and especially the nudes, were banned.