Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Pagan States of America

The United States is a Christian nation, right? That's what the TV preachers tell us. Christianity might be good enough for the masses who toil in the private sector, but their masters who rule from the public sector look to the classical world for inspiration.

This struck me during a visit to the Minnesota state capitol building in St. Paul. The artwork inside the building's rotunda is uniformly and inescapably pagan. I take responsibility for the poor quality of the photos that follow, but the inherent pagan imagery is clear. Nothing Christian to be gleaned.

Outside the capitol building is the iconic gold-leafed copper and steel statuary group, "Progress of the State." According to the Minnesota Historical Society, "The four horses represent the power of nature: earth, wind, fire and water. The women symbolize civilization and the man standing on the chariot represents prosperity." Why should secular government pay homage to the elementals?  (image from the MN Historical Society web site)

And if you're visiting Minnesota's twin cities, be sure the check out the lower level of the old Hennepin County courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. There you'll find this impressive statue of the Father of Waters, a personification of that venerable elemental force, the Mighty Mississippi. 


A visit to the Wisconsin state capitol, in Madison, confronted me with similar imagery in the form of statuary, shown below.  

Where in all this are Adam and Eve? Noah and the ark? The exodus from Egypt? The arrival at the promised land?

Where's the immaculate conception? The loaves and fishes? The crucifixion and the ressurrection?

Isn't the United States a Christian nation?.     

I suppose that the dearth of Biblical imagery in seats of government has something to do with the notion of a Constitutional wall that separates church and state. And the reason pagans get a free ride might have to do with that word, "church," as opposed to, say, "temple." Curiously, Mormons maintain both churches and temples, covering the bases, I suppose.

In any case, it's clear that Christianity is good enough for Joe and Josephine Blow, but paganism the elite retains to itself for its own veneration.

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