Perry Event Backer Hates Statue of Liberty

TFN Insider readers already know about some of the haters and other extremists (as well as here and here) Texas Gov. Rick Perry is partnering with on his prayer extravaganza in Houston next month. Today we have another name for the growing list: Dr. John Benefiel of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network in Oklahoma City. According to our friends at, Benefiel’s views are so outside the mainstream that he believes the Statue of Liberty is “a demonic idol”:

“Listen folks that is an idol, a demonic idol, right there in New York harbor. People say, ‘well no it’s patriotic.’ What makes it patriotic? Why is it? It’s a statue of a false goddess, the Queen of Heaven. We don’t get liberty from a false goddess folks, we get our liberty from Jesus Christ and that Statue of Liberty in no way glorifies Jesus Christ.”


17 thoughts on “Perry Event Backer Hates Statue of Liberty

  1. The Statue of Liberty should not be removed, just altered in a way that reflects our true concerns about unclean immigrations. The torch and hand should be replaced with a to scale bird to the world. ( bird finger)

  2. I used to believe that there was at least a shred of sanity in this world; now I know better. Perry’s allegiance to hate groups and mentally challenged people like that person who hates the statue of liberty because it represents the Goddess of Liberty. It sounds as if that nut would prefer a statue of Jesus the Christ instead, ignoring the fact that this is NOT a Christian country, despite all of the babbling of political candidates such as Bachman and others.
    The French Freemasons had no hand in presenting the statue to the United States. The hate filled people like that so-called minister always try to blame everything on the Masons. Several of my uncles are Masons, some of their wives belong to the Order of the Eastern Star, my sister belonged to the Rainbow Girls and my brother is a Chevalier in the Order of DeMolay; all related to freemasonry. Me? I was too busy working with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Ground Observer Corps before S.A.G.E. was completed and the GOC was shut down.

    This country is being split into pieces by the radical Christian wrong who feels this country belongs to them and them alone. all other are dirty sinners who deserve to die.

    Recently, I discovered that as a single woman, I’m as bad as a gay person or a lesbian. The hate groups are now picking on single women because we don’t have a man who owns us. The last “man” I was married to HIT me…ONCE and out the door he went. He had a good reason to hit me, I had earned my Ph.D. before he got a master’s degree.

    Perry’s “spirituality” is carried on his sleeve. I don’t trust people who have to go around bragging on how good a Christian he or she is. He breaks every commandment his Jesus gave him and dares call himself a saint?


  3. I’m with Beverly Kurtin. I live under Perry’s governorship. Trust me, you don’t want him or his tool backers anywhere near the presidency.

  4. I just refer them all to the 6th chapter of Matthew. New Testament. That pretty much says it all IMHO.

  5. how scary do these bizarre, people have to get before they are publicly denounced loud and clear by a man who is supposed to represent all of texas? this kind of biblical abuse would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening.

  6. My wife was raised as a devout conservative Southern Baptist and is arguably a much better Christian than me. When I played the videotape clip about the Statue of Liberty, she was laughing hysterically as she walked down our upstairs hallway here at home.

    These people are such an embarrassment to the Christian faith. The New Testament says to avoid even the appearance of doing evil (under which I include ignorant and stupid things).

  7. “We don’t get liberty from a false goddess folks, we get our liberty from Jesus Christ and that Statue of Liberty in no way glorifies Jesus Christ.”

    The good reverend apparently thinks that he and his ministry are glorifying Jesus Christ. If Jesus is coming tonight, the good reverend would do well to don his lightning-bolt-resistant rubber suit.

  8. Robert N. Bellah’s “Civil Religion in America” suggests a perspective that would imply the preacher is less crazy than first glance might suggest (if still crazy). A case can easily be made for the statue of liberty being an idol of the American civil religion.

    I suspect the preacher’s reasoning is something on the line of “All good things come from Jesus; liberty is a good thing; therefore, liberty comes from Jesus” — without actually bothering to look back and see whether there is anything in the Bible to justify individual liberty. (The actual biblical emphasis seems rather more on submission to worldly authority in worldly matters.) Season with a bit of “no graven image”.

  9. There has to be a simple explanation why radical Christianity has gone postal. The hysteria, fear, and paranoia is virtually the same at it was when “duck and cover” was a standard drill in elementary and secondary schools. At that time there was a clear and present danger to the West by Soviet miissiles, and covert operations. I can remember hiking past a Nike Ajax anti-aircrat missile system in the Berkeley hills.

    I was stationed at Ft Huachuca, AZ but lived in Tucson. It was not uncommon to see an armed USAF convoy moving warheads to the ballistic missile silos along Intertate 10. We know how how close we came to a nuclear exchange during the Cuba crisis, averted by one Soviet officer who refused to arm the nuclear warheads in his submarine’s torpedoes.

    That was the time when the life expectancy of US forces along the border in Germany was about seventy two hours before the Soviets were in a position to cross the Rhine. Recently I found out that the Soviets had planned to parachute ten airborne divisons to open the way from Fulda-Bad Hersfeld to Frankfort am Rhine, The largest extant amphibious landing fleet was at Vladevostok, now rusting at Vladevostok.

    In spite of the awesome power of the Soviets, the spectre of millions of Russians and/or Red Chinese to invade the Continental US was not taken seriously. From Kamchatka to Alaska to Seattle gets you no where save exposed and opposed by some really ticked off Canadians and Americans.

    So where is the really big threat that calls for measures not even dreamed up by Joe McCarthy, the KKK, or the John Birch Society? The Soviets had their own junk science, like Pavlov’s dogs, but absolutely nothing portraying our junk science as a threat to the workers of the world, united,

    My hunch is that the good old days (the Fifties) were the days of duck and cover, and of loyalty oaths, and the Attorney General’s list of subversive organizations that you had to be clear of if you wanted a public job. Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for the Richmond to San Rafael, CA was rejected because he was suspected of having been a Communist in the thirties. The President of the Longshormans Union in San Francisco had been a Communist, but as he was repeatedly voted into office, was arrested for Miscegnation which was a crime in Calfornia. His wife was Japanese.

    Anger and fear generate a hightened sense of being, adrenaline, endorphins, almost exstatic. it’s also addictive. The Right needs it’s fix.

    OBTW: The counterculture, activist, flower people were equally addicted. The mechanism is the same.

  10. Sorry. The whole concept of American civil religion is the personal property of the Religious Right, Christian fundamentalism, and far right evangelicalism. It consists of things they created: government-sponsored prayer, Pledge of allegiance, In God We Trust on coins—the whole 9 yards. The Statue of Liberty is a secular historical monument, and I have never known anyone who worships it. Therefore, it no more qualifies as an idol than any other nonreligious statute. Put another way, the preacher in Oklahoma is full of it. You can figure out what “it” is.

  11. By the way, if the key question is whether the Statue of Liberty honors Jesus, I think we need to ask some other key questions that are critical to the faith worldview in our nation:

    1) Does my Hanes underwear honor Jesus?

    2) Does Ben’s shampoo honor Jesus?

    3) Does the second stud in the south wall of Dan Quinn’s dining room honor Jesus?

    I feel sure that national spiritual disaster will ensue if answers to these questions are not quickly found.

  12. No, not all elements of the civil religion is the personal property of the Christian Religious Right – though they are certainly trying to claim absolute ownership of them. Though I must admit I’d find it entertaining to listen to someone try and prove the traditional ritual of Fourth Of July fireworks is based on the Bible. (Maybe not; they’d probably just consider Psalm 100:1 sufficient for proof.)

    Yes, the Statue is a secular historical monument; however, it is also a symbol, the object of patriotic pilgrimages and of patriotic devotion. It’s certainly not something that is traditionally recognized as religious; but that doesn’t mean there’s no para-religious element involved. I’d add Dale Cannon’s Six Ways of Being Religious to my suggested reading list. The Statue looks to involve aspects of Way of Sacred Rite, Way of Devotion, and (in her poem – though a perspective downplayed in the current revival) Way of Right Action.

    Oh, and just because it’s an idol doesn’t mean it’s the primary focus.

  13. My shampoo does honor Jesus, but my conditioner honors Osiris, so my hair is confused.

  14. What concerns me about Perry at this moment is his open attack on the separation of church (OK, religion) and state. You get my drift.

    Perry stated something to the effect, “They’re not going to like us no matter what we do, so why try?” Nice Us versus Them theme, Rick. Seriously, Rick, I didn’t think we were going to the prom, just attending the same school.

    So, Perry is pushing the envelope. How openly theocratic can he be? Seems like the envelope is pretty stretchy. Thank you Houston Chronicle for sitting on your hands about this. And Dallas, and Austin.

  15. “The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World, French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue has become an icon of freedom and of the United States” – Wikipedia

    Ahah! We have found the insidious reasons the Roman Papists snuck in their pagan idols, disguised as a Trojanic Lady! Likely as part of a plot to get a Roman Catholic elected President!