If you’re interested in gazing up at a 40-feet bronze statue of Jesus, try to get to Syria before al-Qaeda fundies blow the thing up.
From the Washington Post:
A giant bronze statue of Jesus has gone up on a Syrian mountain, apparently under cover of a truce among three factions in the country’s civil war.
The gargantuan Son of God was
resurrected erected on Cherubim mountain a few weeks ago, positioned on a base that brings the top of his head to 105 feet. The whole project is, as they say, a leap of faith.
That the statue made it to Syria and went up without incident on Oct. 14 is remarkable. The project took eight years and was set back by the civil war that followed the March 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad.
Christians and other minorities are all targets in the conflict, and the statue’s safety is by no means guaranteed. It stands among villages where some fighters, linked to al-Qaida, have little sympathy for Christians.
But why a giant statue of Christ in a place racked by so much strife — brought on in no small part by, um, religion?
Because “Jesus would have done it,” organizer Samir al-Ghadban quoted a Christian church leader as telling him.
That’s right: Were Jesus to come back to Earth, one of his priorities would be to build a giant idol of himself. Makes sense.
It took three days to raise the statue. Photos provided by organizers show it being hauled in two pieces by farm tractors, then lifted into place by a crane. Smaller statues of Adam and Eve stand nearby. The project, called “I Have Come to Save the World,” is run by the London-based St. Paul and St. George Foundation.
No one associated with the endeavor will disclose how much the statue costs, but to get a ballpark idea, I called a U.S. foundry and asked them how much they would charge to cast, in bronze, a detailed sculpture of a human figure. The gentleman on the phone said a rough price for casting a ten-foot statue would be $35,000 to $45,000, and that a doubling in height would approximately quadruple the expense (on account of the complexity of the job and the volume of the bronze needed).
Going by that information, a 40-foot sculpture might set a client back more than $750,000, not counting the sculptor’s fee, transportation, the land, the massive base, the cost of the crew to put it all together, and other expenses. Foundries in the Middle East probably work for less than their U.S. counterparts, but it’s plausible that the entire Cherubim Jesus project, including the Adam and Eve statues, cost well north of a million dollars.
The giant Christ, sponsored as it is by a London-based charity, might bring comfort to some and serve as an enormous provocation to others. 10 to 12 percent of Syrians are Christians; more than 85 percent are Muslims.
To believe that the sculpture will go unmolested for long requires superhuman optimism. Traditional Islam forbids idolatry, and fundamentalists of that persuasion have been known to enforce the prohibition by any means necessary.