Monday, January 19, 2015

Statuary Hall, Liberal First Amendment Concern, and Today's Holiday--And How They All Relate

Several years ago I got a tour of the US Capitol, and one of the highlights was Statuary Hall.  In the Hall each state contributes two statues of prominent people from that state; California's are Father Junipero Serra, who founded the California missions, and the Reverend Starr-King, a minister whom President Lincoln credited with helping keep California in the Union during the Civil War.

I was the first person my tour guide had ever encountered who know who Starr-King was, which explains why every once in awhile there's talk of replacing his statue with Ronald Reagan.  As long as California remains a dystopian "paradise", though, that will never happen.  But it's still interesting to see two men noted for their religions memorialized by California.

I read at Joanne's blog that Serra is soon to be canonized by the Pope:
Serra was no saint, writes my friend Elias Castillo in A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions, will be published in a few weeks. “The missions were death camps where more than 60,000 Indian workers died, many as a result of whippings, disease, and malnutrition.”

“I”m astounded,” he told the San Jose Mercury News. “For the Vatican, which has apologized for how the Indians were treated, to now canonize one of their great monsters?”

It does seem rather odd, doesn't it?  Actually, it seems rather odd for both California (Statuary Hall) and for the Catholic Church.

7-1/2 years ago I was in an almost-ghost-town in California's Gold Country and came upon this:
(click to enlarge)

A year later I made my visit to Statuary Hall.  I didn't take pictures of California's statues, as no one on the planet would recognize Serra or Starr-King anyway.  And while I enjoyed Hawaii's King Kamehameha, I took a picture of only one statue in there:

Joanne has an author friend who wrote this book:

So that's how this post all comes together.

Have a great day.

1 comment:

maxutils said...

I don't really care about what Serra did so long ago … he set up a cool highway system, and converted native Americans and put them to work. Maybe they were better off, maybe not, but we were effectively taking their land. Here's my REAL problem. I find all religions ridiculous, and that's on me, and if you're religious I would never wish to impose my beliefs on you. But--shouldn't religions pal y by their own rules? It's my understanding that to be canonized as a saint, you need to have performed 2 witnessed miracles … and I haven't seen Serra's list yet.