A statue of Ceres, the Roman Goddess of agriculture, is set to take place atop the capitol dome in Missouri, and this has drawn outcry from a conservative representative, Mike Moon, who has asked the governor to stop it from happening, citing the argument that if he were to put a statue of Jesus in the same place, there would be great opposition. As someone who is a strong servant of the old Gods (Greek), and also who believes in the separation of church and state, I thought I would give my outlook on this controversial matter, as I do not think there is really a comparison between a statue of Ceres and the theocratic dictation that many Christian representatives wish to institute among the American people.
In my religion, Demeter would be the equivalent of Ceres, and indeed, She has many similarities to Ceres in the Roman Polytheistic culture. So should the statue of Ceres return to the capitol dome? Well, for one, I think the representative who attacked the statue is severely misguided. If he put a statue of Jesus up there, we all know it would be with the intent to impose Christianity on the state of Missouri, and he proves this by citing the bible, calling Ceres a "false god," and further stating that Missouri has "no need for any other gods." Clearly, he doesn't think any religion is valid except his own, and has absolutely no respect for any other culture. Therefore, for him to erect a statue of Jesus with his personal intent, would be completely different than a statue of Ceres for the purpose of a simple ideal or symbol. The people placing the statue of Ceres aren't trying to force everyone into Roman Polytheism, because no one in the State Assembly follows that religion in the first place. The statue isn't being erected for religious dictation.
Therefore, I do not see an issue with the statue of Ceres being atop the capitol dome, because it was likely not erected for reasons of violating the religious rights of anyone, or of imposing a certain religious ideal. There are also no religious laws being made. Quite likely, Missouri placed it there to symbolize abundance, prosperity, and general success for their state, which are the things Ceres represents. She might even stand for a sense of multiculturalism, since agriculture is essential to every human culture in the world. In other words, what matters is intent.
It should also be noted, that Greek and Roman Gods appear in many places in our country. The Lady of Justice, or the blind folded Lady, is Themis, the Greek Goddess of Divine Law. Athena sits on the seal of California, and another depiction of Ceres can be viewed on the seal of New Jersey. The statue of liberty itself is a Roman Goddess, Libertas. The Missouri Capitol building is even a mirror copy of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Ancient Greek and Roman civilization basically built the Western World. There is no denying that the influence is significant on the United States. If Mr. Moon wishes to "get rid of Pagan things," he has a lot more to remove from our nation than just the statue of Ceres. He would have to uproot the entire foundation of the country and every state therein.
You can read the story here. But what do you think? Is the statue of Ceres atop the capitol dome a violation of the first amendment or the separation between church and state? You decide.
In the Goodness of the Gods,