The Christian sculpture at Whitewater Memorial State Park in Liberty, Indiana that caused so much controversy can stay right where it is, says Indiana Department of Natural Resources director Cameron Clark. And Governor Mike Pence is backing him up:
Department of Natural Resources Director Cameron Clark sent a letter Tuesday morning to the Union County Development Corp., saying the agency was “pleased to accept” its gift of a statute featuring a soldier standing at a cross at Whitewater Memorial State Park in Liberty.
The letter says the statue is to be permanently placed at the park and “become property of the DNR in perpetuity.”
“I fully support the decision by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to accept the sculpture commissioned by local citizens to honor all who have fallen in service to our country,” Pence said. “The freedom of religion does not require freedom from religion. The Constitutions of our state and nation more than allow the placement of this Hoosier artist’s sculpture on public lands.
“So long as I am governor, I will defend the right of Hoosiers to display this sculpture in Whitewater Memorial State Park as a lasting tribute to the service and sacrifice of all who have worn the uniform of the United States.”
I have no idea what Constitution the governor and DNR director are reading that makes this sculpture with a Christian cross legal. Does this mean they’ll also accept an atheist bench in the park? What about a statue of Baphomet from the Satanic Temple? If they don’t, on what basis do they approve works of art (or whatever the heck you call The Kneeling Farmboy)?
The Freedom From Religion Foundation says it will only pursue a lawsuit if they have plaintiffs from the state willing to identify themselves as such. (If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll pass your name along.)
It’s a disappointing decision by the people in charge, especially since the burden will eventually fall on Indiana taxpayers.