JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Christian lawmaker in Missouri recently sent a letter to Gov. Mike Parson to ask that he not reinstate a statue of the Roman goddess Ceres to the capitol dome. The statue had been removed last year to be cleaned and revitalized, a project that reportedly cost $400K.
“Governor Parson, you and I have placed our trust in the same Lord, the God of the Bible. As such, I appeal to your good judgment, as a follower of Jesus Christ, to direct the Capitol Commission to not return the false god Ceres, the Roman goddess, to the top of the Capitol dome,” Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, wrote. “We serve a mighty God and we have need for no other god(s).”
The Romans considered Ceres to be the goddess of agriculture, being responsible for providing the harvest each year. According to the pagan legend, she had a daughter with her brother, Jupiter, who was kidnapped by the god of the underworld to be his wife. While Ceres objected to the marriage, Jupiter allowed it, making Ceres angry and cursing the crops.
Jupiter thus tried to get his daughter back, but because she had eaten before her rescue, she was forever required to return to the underworld every winter. Mythology claims that this is why trees lose their leaves and plant life remains dormant until the spring.
“Ceres was worshiped at her temple on the Aventine Hill, one of the Seven Hills of ancient Rome. Her festival, the Cerealia, was celebrated on April 19. Another special time for Ceres was Ambarvalia, a Roman agricultural fertility rite held at the end of May,” the site Ceres Virginia outlines.
Ceres is depicted in the Missouri sculpture as holding a sheaf of grain and is meant to represent the agricultural heritage of Missouri. It was erected in 1924, according to local television station KRCG.
But Moon says that the State should not be honoring a pagan goddess, and notes that if the statue had been of Jesus, it would have been opposed by Church-State separatists.
“If we chose to erect a statue of Jesus on, or in, some state property, there would likely be an outcry from those who disagree with our choice. Those who would oppose the statue of Jesus are the same who would argue in support of placing a false god on our capitol’s dome. Should we not stand firm in our beliefs as well by refusing to honor a pagan god?” he asked in his letter to Parson.
Moon’s request has indeed been scoffed at by those who have no issue with the 10-foot bronze figure.
“This wasn’t a controversy before. It isn’t now. Moon just can’t stand it when the government isn’t actively promoting Christianity,” opined Hemant Mehta of The Friendly Atheist.
The editorial board of the Joplin Globe sarcastically came up with a list of other items that Moon should seek to sanitize.
“We urge state Rep. Mike Moon to introduce legislation requiring Aurora — the largest town in his district — to change its name,” it wrote. “Aurora — a fine town in every other respect — was named after the Roman goddess of dawn, and we fear this pagan reference will provoke frenzied bacchanalian outbursts that will not reflect well on the 8,000 or so people in this otherwise decent, God-fearing community.”
“It is also now clear that Mike Moon must change his last name — ‘moon’ being scandalously associated with the word ‘luna,’ which is Latin for ‘moon,’ and Luna also being the name of a Roman goddess of Earth’s only satellite. Unless he changes his name, people might draw associations between the words ‘Moon’ and ‘lunatic.'”
Moon implied that he knew the mockery would be forthcoming, writing in his letter to Parson, “Realizing that using your authority to keep the Capitol free of the display of false gods will result in a firestorm of ridicule, I encourage you to remember Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego. When they risked being thrown into the fiery furnace, they told the king, ‘[O]ur God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.'”
According to reports, Gov. Parson doesn’t seem to be interested in removing the statue, telling MissouriNet at an unveiling ceremony, “She’s all dressed up, she’s pretty to go back up on top on top of our state Capitol and represent all of us here in the state of Missouri.”
God’s Law, as outlined in the Torah, states, “Turn ye not unto idols nor make to yourselves molten gods. I am the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 27:15 also states, “Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place.”
The Bible also speaks of rulers who “did what was right in the sight of the Lord,” outlining that when they took the throne, they had the idols of the land removed.
2 Chronicles 34:3-4 says of King Josiah, “[I]n the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images. They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars which were above them he cut down. And the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images he broke in pieces, and made dust of them and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.”