What do you think when you see this image? Before you read the context behind it under the image, what’s your initial reaction?
pic copied from flickr. photo by fearlessvk.
This statue was built about 2 years ago by a church in Memphis. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the building in the background is a church. World Overcomers is a “mega church” that includes “a school, a bowling alley, a roller rink, a bookstore and…12,000 members.”
A Memphis-area megachurch has erected a Statue of Liberty lookalike — holding a cross instead of a torch — to remind Americans of their “spiritual liberation” and to show that Christianity should guide the nation.
The fiberglass-and-steel “Statue of Liberation Through Christ” was dedicated during a July 4 carnival and barbeque at World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church. Standing 72 feet high, Liberty also carries a copy of the Ten Commandments, has a broken, gold chain at her feet, and bears a single tear on her cheek.
Alton Williams, pastor of the Memphis church, said he commissioned the statue — which required $260,000 and nearly five years to build — to declare to passersby that Jesus is the only way to salvation.
“I decree the spirit of conviction on this intersection,” Williams said during the unveiling ceremony. “This statue proves that Jesus Christ is Lord over America. He is Lord over Tennessee. He is Lord over Memphis.” [more]
And for some of you who will instantly think that should have given the money to the poor, the pastor has a response:
Some critics complain the $260,000 spent on the statue should have been given to the poor. Williams said his church gives a lot of money to charity and mission work, adding, “We believe in not only giving to the poor, but also preaching the gospel to the poor. This is more important than temporary assistance. God’s desire is that everyone become self-sufficient.”
And here’s the NY Times story on this church and the Statue of Liberation Through Christ.
And while it may be easy to criticize this church, I really don’t think we can criticize them for spending this kind of money when there around thousands and thousands of churches that spend much more money on stuff that many of us would consider unneccesary.
Is it wrong to want “Jesus to be Lord over America?” For me, absolutely not. But then, why does this statue scare me so much? You?
How would Seattle react if Quest built something similar on 15th Avenue to greet all the commuters on 15th Avenue?