COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – A new public sculpture of the Hindu god Ganesha is drawing complaints in Coeur d’Alene.
The Kootenai County Constitution Party is urging Christians on its website to protest the artwork, calling it an “abomination” approved by the “godless group of individuals” who manage the city’s public art program.
Local chairman Daniel Brannan said many Constitution Party members believe only Christianity provides a world view “consistent with the framing of our Republic.”
“Many people in the party would tend to agree with opposing something like this,” Brannan said. “It is representative of a false god, of a particular religion other than the one on which our country is so solidly founded.”
The sculpture depicts Ganesha, a four-armed being with an elephant head. Created by Spokane artist Rick Davis, the statue is one of 14 dedicated Friday throughout downtown Coeur d’Alene as part of a new public art program.
The sculptures depict everything from a giant stand-up bass to a woman playing with otters. There are elk, moose and deer. Other subjects include St. Francis of Assisi and a Native American-themed “spirit bear,” which in some tribes represents harmony and peace.
Gary Odom, field director for the Constitution Party’s national office in Pennsylvania, said protesting the art seems to lack political value. “I can’t believe it’s something they felt was necessary,” he said.
But Brannan said government officials nationwide have been hypocritical about the separation of church and state when it comes to artwork. He said when Christians want to place public artwork depicting, for example, the Ten Commandments, those monuments regularly are turned away, but symbols of other religions are accepted.