By Kelly Boggs
McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)--If a city were to display a manger scene on the courthouse lawn or post the Ten Commandments in the council chambers, the American Civil Liberties Union would threaten a lawsuit. However, let a community depict a pagan goddess in a public arena and the ACLU is strangely silent.
Hecate, a goddess of paganism, is the central character in a fresco being crafted for the civic center in Statesville, N.C. Though many evangelical ministers in the community of 22,000 are objecting to the work, the stalwart champion of the First Amendment, the ACLU, is nowhere to be found.
The Charlotte Observer reports that artist Ben Long has been commissioned to create the fresco (the art of painting on fresh plaster), which is 21 feet high and 19 feet wide. The theme of the work is "crossroads" and will incorporate the words of the goddess, "Choose wisely"
Long said he chose to utilize the image of Hecate because, "She was one of the main figures in Greek mythology and very symbolic of crossroads."
Reacting to those who charge the work promotes paganism is Statesville's mayor, John Marshall, who was quoted by the newspaper as saying, "I don't see in it what they see in it."
The artist and the mayor may both have a limited understanding of Hecate. However, if they believe that the goddess of their fresco is simply a benign character of Greek mythology they are indeed naive. Type the goddess' name into an Internet search engine and her pagan religious reality becomes very evident.
From a website titled, "Sacred Circle," the following is gleaned: Hecate, the Dark Goddess; the Dark Mother; the Triple Goddess; the sender of nocturnal visions; Goddess of the Crossroads; Queen of the Witches. The information continues with the following quote, "Many are of the understanding that Hecate is purely Greek of origin. This however is not so. For she has been from the beginning of time, from all ages."
After visiting a few other sites, it is clear that Hecate has a religious following. Her devotees pray to her and see themselves as priests who dispense her truth. She is simply a pagan deity. Thus, the city of Statesville is, perhaps ignorantly, promoting religion.
Ron Harrison, director of the South Yadkin Baptist Association is quoted by the newspaper as saying, "We could not have a picture of Jesus Christ in there, I know. Hecate is a religious figure and well-known as a leader of witches."
The ALCU has a long history of attacking public portrayals of anything Christian. Prayer, Bible reading, the cross, the nativity and the Ten Commandments have all been cited as violating the First Amendment.
It will be interesting to see how the ACLU will react to the Statesville situation. If nothing is done, they will reveal that it is not so much the separation of church and state that motivates them, rather it is specifically the separation of Christianity from the state they desire.