Favorite

The Observer got our first look at the Statue of Liberation Through Christ last weekend, and found it unsettling. It captures your attention though, and that’s the idea, we suppose. Or part of the idea, anyway.

We were at the intersection of Kirby Parkway and Winchester in Memphis. We’d been through here many times before, and we’d noticed the big church on one corner. But this time, something had been added to the church lawn.

The Statue of Liberation through Christ was unveiled on the Fourth of July. It’s a half-sized version of the Statue of Liberty with a few other significant changes. The most significant is that the new statue holds aloft in her right hand not a torch, but a cross. The tablet cradled in her left arm is inscribed not with the Roman numerals for “July 4, 1776” but with the Roman numerals I through X, representing the Ten Commandments. A tear falls from one eye. “Jehovah” is inscribed on her crown.

The statue was erected by the World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church, a predominantly black congregation that claims a membership of 12,000. The idea for the statue was conceived by the church’s pastor, Apostle Alton R. Williams. Williams has written that the teardrop represents God’s response to such national ills as legalized abortion, lack of prayer in schools, and the promotion of “secularism and humanism.” Surely, homosexuality belongs on the list too. Williams has condemned homosexuality in full-page ads purchased in Memphis’ daily newspaper. The purpose of the statue, he’s said, is to let people know that God is the foundation of the nation, to reconnect patriotism with Christianity.

The statue is controversial. Some people don’t believe that Christianity and patriotism should be connected. Patriotic non-Christians are among this group. The day The Observer was present, a small group of protestors circled the statue, carrying signs that warned against the worship of graven images.

The official name of the Statue of Liberty is “Liberty Enlightening the World.” The Observer thinks there’s little enlightenment to be gained from the Memphis version.



Every summer, The Observer waits alertly — well, waits anyway — for the first newspaper photograph of a zoo polar bear sitting on a block of ice or eating a popsicle or frolicking under the spray from a hose or doing anything else that suggests zoo attendants are helping the bear survive the heat. The first one we’ve seen this year was on page one of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette July 20. An AP photograph, not local, it showed a polar bear swimming in a pool while a young boy watched. The overline was “Polar opposites,” apparently a mild effort by an editor to ameliorate the triteness. Usually, these things say something like “Can you bear it?” or “Bear-ing up.”

This polar-bear-in-the-summer photo has been around as long as newspaper photography, and The Observer is of an age that we like assurance some things never change, having learned that change is often for the worse.

But the main reason we appreciate these cliched images is that they signal help is coming. The photos don’t appear until mid-July or thereabouts — in the hottest days of summer, to be sure — reminding us that bad as things are, the road to relief is downhill from now on. We are past the summer solstice; though we probably haven’t noticed yet, the days are getting shorter, the blessed end of summer is at least imaginable.

Incidentally, The Observer has never heard of a polar bear that didn’t survive the summer heat. Old people, on the other hand, drop with frequency, but nobody wants to see a geezer on a block of ice.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Addendum

    he Observer has our regrets, just like everybody else. For example: last week, Yours Truly published a cover story on the increasingly ugly fight over Eureka Springs' Ordinance 2223, which is designed to protect a bunch of groups — including LGBTQ people — from discrimination in housing, employment, accommodations, cake buying, browsing, drinking, gut stuffery, knickknack purchasing, general cavorting, funny postcard mailing and all the other stuff one tends to get up to in the weirdest, friendliest, most magical little town in the Ozarks.
    • Apr 30, 2015
  • Snake stories

    The Observer's boss, Uncle Alan, is something of a gentleman farmer on his spread up in Cabot, growing heirloom tomatoes and watermelons and crops of chiggers on property that looks like the perfect farmstead Lenny and George often fantasized about in "Of Mice and Men."
    • Aug 27, 2015

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Lessons from Standing Rock

    A Fayetteville resident joins the 'water protectors' allied against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • Child welfare too often about 'punishing parents,' DCFS consultant tells legislators

    Reforms promised by the Division of Children and Family Services are "absolutely necessary," the president of DCFS's independent consultant told a legislative committee this morning. But they still may not be enough to control the state's alarming growth in foster care cases.
  • Donald Trump taps Tom Price for HHS Secretary; Medicaid and Medicare cuts could be next

    The selection of Tom Price as HHS secretary could signal that the Trump administration will dismantle the current healthcare safety net, both Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Fake economics

    Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.

Latest in The Observer

  • Writers blocked

    OK, back to basics, Observer. Get hold of yourself. Give the people what they want, which is escapism! If you don't, this column is eventually just going to devolve into The Prophecies of Hickstradamus at some point in the next four years: "The Orange Vulture perches in the fig tree. The great snake eats Moonpies and Royal Crown Cola by starlight ..." That kind of thing. Nobody likes that. Too much deciphering and such.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Cassandra

    The Observer's grandfather on our mother's side was a crackerjack fella. Grew up in the sandy hills north of Conway. County boy, through and through. During hog-killing time in December 1941, the story in our family goes, when word of Pearl Harbor reached his little community, he and his friends loaded into his T-model truck and made the rough journey to the first speck of civilization that included an Army recruiting office, where they all enlisted.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Ruth Coker Burks, the cemetery angel

    • Thank you, Ruth! Thank you.

    • on December 2, 2016
  • Re: Art in America

    • I have being hearing about this blank ATM card for a while and i never…

    • on December 2, 2016
  • Re: Asa and Trump

    • I have being hearing about this blank ATM card for a while and i never…

    • on December 2, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation