A North Carolina proposal to place a statue of the Rev. Billy Graham inside the U.S. Capitol has won final approval from the state’s lawmakers. The statue of the renowned evangelist would replace that of former Gov. Charles Aycock, who had ties to the white supremacist movement. The AP reports that on Thursday, the North Carolina Senate voted unanimously to pass a measure asking a congressional committee to approve Graham’s likeness as a state contribution to the Capitol. The bill will now head to to Gov. Pat McCrory for final approval.
I have no problem with it, but I can already hear the atheists screaming their heads off over it. It’ll be challenged by those who hold to a false understanding of the separation of church and state, end up in the Supreme Court, and be voted down by Kennedy and his ilk. Just saying it like it’ll happen, people. :shrug:
I would be shocked if the Supreme Court would bother to hear a case concerning whose statues are placed in Statuary Hall.
If it goes to court, it could come before them as a test case for other adornments to state houses. Certainly the 10 Commandments is such an issue. There are those who are determined to seculariize every aspect of public life in America. I’m just saying this statue isn’t going to be appreciated by the Freedom From Religion crowd and others like them. They’ll challenge it, I’m sure. Indeed, I’m surprised they haven’t, already.
They would have a huge uphill battle if that’s the case since there’s no reasonable cause to assume that merely having the statue of a religious person (or cleric) demonstrates congress establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Furthermore Billy Graham wouldn’t be the first religious/cleric in Statuary Hall. Each state gets two historical figures from their state. Utah includes Brigham Young (2nd Mormon prophet), and California has none other than St. Junipero Serra (though there’s pressure to remove him due to controversy over his treatment of Native Americans, not because he was a Catholic friar).
We would hope it would be an uphill battle, and one the naysayers would lose, but in the current atmosphere of secularization, getting a statue approved and go unchallenged can be very difficult. All the ones you cite were erected long before secularism had taken over so many of our institutions, including the federal government. I hope I’m wrong–that this statue will go up unopposed, but I’m pretty sure someone will be “offended” and there will be a battle royal over it.