A Missouri lawmaker has asked Gov. Mike Parson to prevent the state from reinstalling a statue of a Roman goddess on the dome of the state Capitol, saying a statue of Jesus could be disputed so a pagan idol should not be allowed.
Rep. Mike Moon, an Ash Grove Republican, told Parson in a letter sent Monday that the statue of the Roman goddess of agriculture, Ceres, represents a "false god."
Moon wrote that because he and Parson are Christians, "We serve a mighty God and we have need for no other god(s)."
"If we chose to erect a statue of Jesus on, or in, some state property, there would likely be an outcry from those who disagree with our choice. Those who would oppose the statue of Jesus are the same who would argue in support of placing a false god on our Capitol's dome. Should we not stand firm in our beliefs as well by refusing to honor a pagan god?" Moon wrote.
The governor's spokeswoman said Wednesday that he would not respond to Moon's request "at this time."
The statue, which shows Ceres holding a bundle of grain, was originally installed on the Capitol dome in 1924 and taken down in November last year for renovation. It is scheduled to be returned to the Capitol on Monday.
The 10-foot, 4-inch statue was returned to Jefferson City last week and Parson praised the statue's renovation during an unveiling ceremony, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"She's all dressed up, she's pretty to go back up on top of our state Capitol and represent all of us," he said.
Dana Rademan Miller, the clerk of the Missouri House of Representatives and a member of the commission that oversees the Capitol, said the commission's main responsibility is to preserve the Capitol's original design as much as possible.
"Ceres is a symbol representing our state's strong agricultural economy and the majority of individuals I've spoken to are excited about the restoration and her return to the Capitol," Miller said.
Ceres' restoration is part of a $50 million project to renovate the Capitol's exterior, which is expected to be completed early next year.
Moon, who is running for a state Senate seat, drew attention in 2017 when he beheaded and gutted a chicken on Facebook to announce legislation banning abortion in Missouri.