A southwest Missouri lawmaker wants Gov. Mike Parson to rid the Capitol of a “false god.”
In a letter Monday, Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, asked Parson to prevent a statue of the Roman goddess Ceres from returning to the top of the Capitol dome following a $400,000 restoration this year.
“I appeal to your good judgment, as a follower of Jesus Christ, to direct the Capitol Commission to not return the false god Ceres, the Roman goddess, to the top of the Capitol dome,” Moon wrote.
He added that putting a statue of Jesus on state property would prompt similar calls for removal and said the solution is to keep the building “idol free.”
A spokeswoman for Parson said Tuesday the governor’s office had “no response” to the letter “at this time.”
It would take a bit of an awkward reversal for Parson to heed Moon’s suggestion.
Parson and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe helped reintroduce the statue to the public in Jefferson City last week after a year of repairs, and Parson seemed pleased with the work.
“She’s all dressed up, she’s pretty to go back up on top on top of our state Capitol and represent all of us here in the state of Missouri,” Parson told Missourinet.
The 10-foot, 4-inch bronze sculpture, which depicts Ceres with a bundle of grain in her left arm, is supposed to signify the importance of agriculture to the state.
At least one other lawmaker noted that Ceres is far from the only pagan deity on display in the Capitol.
“I have some bad news for Mike Moon about all the stained glass windows adorning the House Chamber,” Rep. Phil Cristofanelli, R-St. Peters, wrote in a tweet.
Moon isn’t the first lawmaker with concerns about Capitol art.
Thomas Hart Benton’s depiction of a woman changing a baby’s diaper as part of a mural in the House Lounge prompted at least one lawmaker to file a resolution demanding its removal.
Moon is also no stranger to taking an unorthodox approach to political messaging.
In 2017, he beheaded and gutted a chicken on camera to make a point to fellow Republicans about abortion.
Moon, a four-term House member, is running for state Senate in the 29th District in 2020 and has attracted the support of prominent conservatives.
Former state GOP chair David Cole is also running in the primary to replace term-limited Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville.
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