Most boys and girls get over the whole naked statue, National Geographic school film topless Amazon tribes thing by the third or fourth grade, but some people never stop obsessing over the "nasty." If they find it salacious, it is their place, their Godly duty, to remove it, or ruin it, for everyone else.
Anyone not obsessed with declaring many things unsavory is fully aware that statues of the human body, in all its beauty, go back to well before Christ was a child, to the Greeks if not further. It simply is, and I know I am on shaky ground in using this naughty word with the religious right, art.
These folks talk about how this nation needs to return to traditional values. Traditionally, for thousands of years, statues of the human form have offended no one but the sexually obsessed and the wacko. The statues in question in the Department of Justice date back to the 1930s, when the building was built. Is this not one of the eras of traditional values to which the Cal Thomases, Pat Robertsons and John Ashcrofts want us to return?
One of the two statues being hidden, called the Spirit of Justice, is of a woman with one breast exposed. The other statue, called the Majesty of Law, has a cloth draped around the male subject's waist.
It ain't exactly Playgirl or Penthouse Pet of the Month stuff. Actually, it's about as racy as the pet of the week feature in this newspaper, which, if the Justice Department under Ashcroft had its way, would have us putting pants over Weimaraners before we shoot their photos.
Instead of concentrating on the really sordid and sick in this nation, things such as child porn, child-accessible on-line sex and Michael Jackson appearing on television, Ashcroft and his minions are worried about statue boobies, and decades-old statue boobies at that. But this is just one minor example of how bad things can get when you have narrow-minded bigots who think they have God on their side running the government.
When we elect Republicans we know what we are going to get: a government really cozy with big business, big defense and big money. That's fine. It's still America. It's just Republican America. John Ashcroft America, though, is different.
No one elected John Ashcroft to be attorney general. In fact, he was beaten in his 2000 run for U.S. senator from Missouri by a dead man. That's how much the people of Missouri, who know him well, thought of John Ashcroft.
Yet it is John Ashcroft who has used the Sept. 11 savagery on our country as an excuse to disregard jurisprudence and civil liberties provisions of our Constitution that have served this nation beautifully for 200-plus years, who wants to allow illegal alien snitches to be awarded with legal residency, who said anyone who opposes his measures to wreak havoc on the Constitution is aiding and abetting the enemy, who is spending taxpayer money and federal time to cover semi-nude, old statues.
While we are fighting for our freedoms with those from elsewhere who hate what we stand for, we are fighting for our freedoms internally with an attorney general who hates many of those freedoms. To cover parts or all or otherwise alter those statues destroys them. Before we went to war on the Taliban, one of the big grievances we had with its Muslim leaders was that they had destroyed ancient Buddhist statues they found offensive to their religious beliefs.
How, in this case and many others, is John Ashcroft any different from the Taliban?