South Dakota Theocrats Deface Statue of Liberty in Flyer

A friend sends an image from the Family Heritage Alliance’s latest medicine show that should turn the stomach of all patriots:

Family Heritage Alliance flyer announcing religious propaganda tour, November 2015.
Family Heritage Alliance flyer announcing religious propaganda tour, November 2015.

Right-wing “family values” distractors Family Heritage Alliance make their theocratic designs clear with this abuse of the Statute of Liberty. They strip her of her torch of enlightenment and stick a Christian cross in her hands. They erase the square-edged tabula ansata, representing the law and American independence, and substitute a two-humped slab suggesting the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

The imagery is all the more disgusting in that the Statue of Liberty, since its placement in New York Harbor in 1886, has welcomed immigrants of all faiths from all around the world. “The New Colossus,” the great sonnet engraved at the base of the Statue, was written by Emma Lazarus, a Jewish poet who intended her words to greet those fleeing religious oppression. The Family Heritage Alliance now perverts this grand statue by hanging on her a sign that says, “Christians Only.”

Oh yeah, FHA is holding one of its powwows about imagined threats to religious liberty here in Aberdeen next Thursday, November 19, 11:30 a.m., at the Aberdeen Christian Fellowship. I’d like to think everyone is welcome, but their theocratic symbology leave me uncertain.

79 Responses to South Dakota Theocrats Deface Statue of Liberty in Flyer

  1. I’m considering attending the event just to see how many people are wearing buttons for Ben Carson, the Presidential candidate whose foreign policy advisor thinks the military should indoctrinate all Americans into Christianity.

  2. larry kurtz

    These people aren’t christians, they’re christianic domestic terrorists raising money with hate speech.

  3. exactly, Larry.

  4. Steve Hickey

    They are fellow South Dakotans who don’t want a theocracy.

    They want to champion the virtue of their moral framework as being best for everyone just as each of you also want to champion the virtue of your moral framework as best for everyone. May the best ideas win.

    They feel muzzled. You feel like they shove it down your throat. They feel like you and the rest of culture are shoving debauchery down their throat. You feel judged.

    All that is fine as long as we can still talk and respect and be civil. Maybe this blog and mostly it’s commenters can take the high road among blogs in our state.

  5. Enjoying a light roast in my red Starbucks cup while reading up on these charlatans. The American Taliban are alive and well and thriving in South Dakota.

  6. Richard Schriever

    Isn’t this the same organization that just hosted three Republican Presidential candidates in Iowa – and wants to round up all the gays, and if they don’t “convert” to heterosexuality in 6 months – execute them? If that isn’t advocating a theocracy, Steve Hickey – I don’t know what is.

  7. larry kurtz

    Steve, you know i love you, man; but Cory just put up this post to pimp Pat and we hit the ball out of the park and right into Powers’ cramped bathroom.

  8. Douglas Wiken

    One man’s debauchery is another man’s religion. These groups scream for tolerance of their mythology, while they want government to enforce their own mythology. They are the equivalent of a Christian Taliban.

  9. Porter Lansing

    “Puritanism,” H.L. Mencken famously decreed, is “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” USA was founded by Puritans who left England because the laws on morality weren’t strict enough for them? It’s those roots that make up many of our problems to this day.

  10. larry kurtz

    Hey, Cory: how is one group’s defacing of a national landmark in New York Harbor a symbol of theocracy any different than the effect of white people defacing a natural landmark as a symbol of democracy in the occupied He Sapa?

  11. owen reitzel

    One is coming to Mitchell but if I went I’d never be able to keep my mouth shut

  12. Bill Fleming

    Steve Hickey, if Richard S. is right^^^, these people are bad news. Have you seen their speeches? Mind boggling. Do you know if the people doing this tour are part of the same group?

  13. Steve Hickey

    Good point Larry on the four faces defacing the sacred hills. My wife doesn’t like the $20 bill because of what Jackson did to her ancestors.

    I can appreciate how the Cross being held by Lady Liberty is gristling for many. Turning the White House the colors of the rainbow was to others in similar fashion.

    Richard, championing a set of values isn’t theocracy. Theocracy is God-rule. Everyone in this group is happy with a democratic Republic. Again, may the best ideas win.

    Why are we not as footloose on this blog to call Shari’ah law a theocracy? There’s your theocracy. Islamic states are Islamic theocracies and if you think Family Heritage Alliance’s views on homosexuality are threatening, why the blind eye to the fate of homosexuality in a increasingly Islamic America.?

  14. Steve Hickey

    Richard and Bill – I have never heard of such a thing in any FHA meeting or mailing. I know the people well and so many of the pastors. That’s spewing false fears. These are traditional South Dakota church people. Period.

  15. I agree, Larry. Why do those Native Americans pollute Bear Butte with all of those ribbons they bought at Wal Mart?

  16. larry kurtz

    Steve: can you tell us a little bit about the guy appointed in District 9?

  17. Steve Hickey

    The new District 9 rep is a new name for me, hadn’t even heard of him until his appointment. We’ve only exchanged emails since, as I congratulated him. He’s a business guy and a leader – that’s what stands out to me in what the governor has shared with us about him. In that sense the governor’s appointment makes sense to me – Daugaard is all about Business. I’m sure Daugaard wouldn’t appoint a holy roller so you all can probably relax there. My hope is he’s open to a death penalty repeal. I don’t know.

  18. Bill Fleming

    Good to hear, Steve. Thanks.

    p.s. In my mind, asking a question is not spewing false fears.
    So I’ll ask another one.
    Do you renounce Kevin Swanson’s ideas?

  19. larry kurtz

    Any chance Mr. Steinhauer likes Bob Marley, if you get me drift?

  20. Steve Hickey

    Maybe the new Rep likes “Bob Marley.” Doubt it though.

    Who is Kevin Swanson?

  21. Robin Page

    Racism, hatred and discrimination have always been the “divine tools of men” in positions of power. As long as they continue to use these tools to “divide and conquer”, they will be able to hold on to their ruling power over the masses. However, as history has shown us, the masses eventually so “NO MORE” and revolt. It is obvious to many of us that today’s men in power are increasingly becoming afraid of the masses. The more they use their divination tools, the angrier and more organized the masses become. Revolution is inevitable!

  22. Bill Dithmer

    ” They feel muzzled. You feel like they shove it down your throat. They feel like you and the rest of culture are shoving debauchery down their throat. You feel judged.”

    There is one huge difference Steve. This group wants to take another persons rights away from them. Those on the other side of the equation want to see these rights protected from the abuses of the religious right.

    You can say what you want, but Christianity has never been told it cant practice its insane belief in the book of fables, only that they should keep it out of the government.

    The Blindman

  23. Bill Fleming

    Pastor Kevin Swanson:

  24. crossgrain

    Apparently it’s called ‘The Statue of Liberation Through Christ’. It was erected in 2006 by the World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church in Memphis, TN –

    If it’s any consolation, there’s a giant Buddha statue on some guy’s yard not far from the church – – But I don’t see him sitting on the Liberty Bell or holding the Declaration of Independence.

  25. Steve Hickey

    Pastor Kevin wouldn’t be invited to speak in our church, is that too soft of a renouncement? All I’ve seen of him or heard of him is what’s at the link you shared. It’s less radical than what your average Imam would say about the same subject.

  26. Bill Fleming

    Trying to remember when the last Imam hosted a major American presidential political rally. Can you help me out with that?

  27. larry kurtz

    Wonder if Hani Shafai is an Iman at his Rapid City temple.

  28. larry kurtz

    Shafai has hosted numerous events for Denny Daugaard. Other SD politicos, too?

  29. I for one think that is one good lookin’ graven image. Maybe Lady Liberty could use bigger boobs though…and show some leg too.

  30. Bill Fleming

    Hani is a friend of mine, Larry. I’ve never heard him speak unkindly of anybody. Do you know him?

  31. larry kurtz

    Only know him as a statistic on the Future Fund reports and from how speaking unkindly of fellow Republicans ain’t the way into Pennington County wallets, Bill. He’s an Iman, right?

  32. larry kurtz

    Bill, maybe you could talk more about your efforts to get an Iman to host a major American presidential political rally or urge one to be a moderator in a presidential debate in any political party or are you just bouncing ideas off one of the moons of Uranus?

  33. Bill Fleming

    I don’t know, Larry. Never discussed religion with him. All I know is that he’s Palestinian (because he told me he was). I don’t even know if he’s Muslim. Don’t care. He’s done a lot to help build the RC community. And his restaurant (where Botticelli’s is now) was great back in the day. Wish it was still there.

  34. Bill Fleming

    I was responding to Hickey’s brush-off about renouncing radical Christian bigots and using Imams as a straw man distraction to avoid having to really address my question.

  35. Bill Fleming

    …looks like he suckered you into it though, huh Kurtz? Chalk one up for Hickey.

  36. larry kurtz

    speaking of religious tolerance via Custer Chronicle: anti-FLDS author in town named after war criminal

  37. Bill Fleming

    That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing Fareed Zakaria, Reza Aslan, Chris Matthews, Bill O’Riley and Bill Mahr co-host a Presidential debate (after the primary) and put everybody from both parties on the spot. :-)

  38. “A friend sends an image from the Family Heritage Alliance’s latest medicine show that should turn the stomach of all patriots:”
    I feel the exact opposite; I’m happy we live in a country where this type of speech is protected, even if I disagree with the message. If anything, I think this type of imagery marginalizes their cause. This blog is the namesake of the first amendment, no? :) Besides, imagine if the real Statue of Liberty was wielding a giant cross like that: Manhatten would be SO protected from vampires!

    To me, the ironic thing is that they use their religious freedom to complain about a lack of religious freedom. I wonder what would happen if someone in China built a statue of Chairman Mao holding a cross?

    It’s sad that, as I write this, the people who gave us the original Statue of Liberty are under attack by zealots who would like nothing more than to make the whole world a theocracy.

  39. rohr, were you joking at 11:23; and cory, “powwow” may have been a poor choice of words in Indian country??

  40. Porter Lansing

    Anyone have anything to say about RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM, this morning? Or about people who think their way is the ONLY way? People without the tolerance to “live and let live”? People who DEMAND that everyone do everything as they see as right?

  41. mike from iowa

    Donald-them loons are pushing the envelope of decency,praying all the while that gubmint will step in,so they can claim they were right all along. They already have declare themselves victims,now they just need Uncle Sam to fulfill their prophecy.

  42. Porter Lansing

    Crickets? That’s because SoDak politics is cancerous with religious extremism. You’ve elected legislators whose first obligation isn’t to their constituents. It’s to their church….and they’re all Republicans. Your corruption of government and missing money isn’t just an anomaly. It comes from selfishness and Republican “I’m above your ethics, because I’m right with God”, beliefs. Women’s rights are a shallow pool of deception. Voter’s rights are a competition between campaign donor’s money and your poor and hungry. Obamacare, which is helping millions get a leg up, is considered blasphemy. Next election, stand up and fight these right-wing, religious bullies, if only for the sake of the less fortunate among you.

  43. Lighter note here that has to do with good vs evil. Anyone watch the latest episode of Supernatural? If you missed it you can watch it online for free. The demons are reporting to the King of Hell Crowley and going over the Pacific Northwest where there is a 40% drop in the collection of souls and they speculate it is because of one reason but they can’t be sure. Anyways it’s a humorous break from the God Squad.

  44. The writers of the show had fun injecting that into the script. lol

  45. larry kurtz

    peace, love, dope.

  46. “king of the president” @6:45 and “cow manure all over my body…with open pussy sores… with carved happy faces” @ 6:45- introducing cruz, jindal, huckabee this week a political event in south carolina w/pastor Rep. kevin “slippy, slappy, schwany” swanson

  47. @:30 and then @ 6:45

  48. mike from iowa

    Keerrrist Lynn,it is patently obvious why soul collection lags in the Pacific NW. It is rilly damp up there-soggy damn damp- and souls have to be dry before they get to hell or else the flames would be damped down.

  49. I think it is more a case of religious opportunism than extremism. We have politicians here in South Dakota that get elected mainly by playing into peoples fears and prejudices (and greed). When I think of extremism, I think of Westboro or the compound out by Custer. Now I do think we have had politicians who were religious and true to their convictions; the names McGovern and Hickey come to mind.

  50. Porter Lansing

    Fear, prejudice and greed are the building blocks of extremist, born-again slice of Christianity. I’m not saying Hickey isn’t true to his beliefs. I’m saying his beliefs are oppressive and discriminatory to women.

  51. Bill Fleming

    Porter, if you are trying to equate Pastor Hickey with the murderous ISIS radicals who just brutalized Paris, you are completely full of s—. Just sayin’.

  52. Porter Lansing

    Your assumption is full of s—, Fleming. And the fact that you need to invent it, to justify and defend a man of “disrespect to women”, is telling.

  53. Bill Fleming

    If you didn’t mean to draw the equivalency then you have no reason to react with hostility at my questioning if you did, Porter. It’s not at all unreasonable on my part to note that your remarks here come very close to crossing that line. I’m suggesting that you back away from it. Today’s not the day when I have much patience reading rabble rousing bulls—.

  54. Bill Fleming

    P.s. Porter, have you ever heard of ‘mansplaining’ and ‘whitesplaining’? You strike me as a posterboy for it. The women who post here are fully capable of speaking for and defending themselves.

  55. Porter Lansing

    One point at a time, Fleming.
    1. You used the curse word first, which is the only example which might be construed as hostility. I fed it back to you like the oatmeal you obviously missed, this morning.
    2. I’m not soliciting your suggestions or do I really care what your patience level is.
    3. Mansplaining? If the wonderful women who post here are self-sufficient then I’m obviously not speaking to them, am I? In public speaking it’s essential to know who you’re talking to before you begin. There are hundreds of women who read the Free Press but don’t post … they do vote, though and deserve defense against a bully with political power.
    Thank you for your participation, Fleming. Always a pleasure to speak with you, sir.

  56. Bill Fleming

    1. Yes today I’m especially testy.
    2. Proof that you’re full of s—. Go back and read your comments above. You tried to get a rise out of people this morning, then when nobody wanted to play you went into a rant.
    3.I don’t need a lecture on the nature of mass communications. I’ve been doing it professionally since 1973.

  57. Bill Fleming

    ‘No matter what side of the argument you are on, you always find people on your side that you wish were on the other.’ – Jasha Heifitz

  58. Porter Lansing

    >Doing it “not very well” since 1973, I’d observe.
    >You’ve not read me on a rant (maybe an elevated discussion) but someday you might. Using vulgarities isn’t appropriate, here. Young people care about what I’m saying and don’t need to see your cursing.
    >As far as “getting a rise”, another essential in public speaking is timing…often referred to as Saul Alinsky’s “never let a crisis go to waste” paradigm, which I wholly agree with.
    >LWIY, amigo (last word is your’s)

  59. larry kurtz

    Porter, you’re in way over your head and out of your league. Back off.

  60. Porter Lansing

    Awwww, thanks for your concern, Curtsey but I was a South Dakota AAU swimming/diving champion in 1965. I can swim even if it’s “over my head”. Also swam the five mile swim across Lake Kampeska, should you or Powers need a lifeguard. :)

  61. larry kurtz

    Porter, Bill Fleming has more brains in his middle fingers than you have in your entire being: peace off.

  62. Porter Lansing

    Curtesy … Highest respect for Art History. I’d love to know more about it, especially Italian Renaissance.

  63. Porter Lansing


  64. Porter Lansing

    an unrefined, ill-mannered person.
    “at last the big obnoxious boor had been dealt a stunning blow for his uncouth and belligerent manner”
    synonyms: lout, oaf, ruffian, thug, yahoo, barbarian, Neanderthal, brute, beast, lubber;

  65. Bill Fleming

    So much for my having the last word. Oh well, thanks for proving my point a third time, Mr. Lansing. Three strikes and you’re out. ?

  66. mike from iowa

    Sure was a beautiful day today.

  67. Bill Fleming

    MFI, indeed. Just finished a walk down Rapid Creek and around Canyon Lake. Must be at least 500 Canadian geese here on winter vacation. A herd of bighorn sheep hanging around the fish hatchery.
    Came home to an enormous 5 point trophy mulie sleeping on the front lawn. The big bucks all come in and hang out in town during hunting season.

  68. mike from iowa

    Yeah,well I got mice. No antlers seen yet. No big horn mice, either. Just run of the mill deer mice. All American as well. :)

  69. Douglas Wiken

    Posting until the big bucks come home.

  70. mike from iowa

    Rut should be on in iowa for archers after big whitetails. Maybe too warm yet. Rutting bucks in iowa pay no attention to surroundings when they stick their nose to the ground and run and they still are more conscious than pols in South Dakota.

    There is white privilege in iowa’s game regulations. White(albino) or piebald deer are off limits to all hunters in the great state of iowa.

  71. Steve Hickey, I propose no “muzzling” beyond the proper strictures of the Constitutional separation of church and state, which is good for believers and non-believers alike.

    I turn no blind eye to Sharia law… it’s just that no one is proposing Sharia Law here in South Dakota. My daily freedom in this community is threatened less by Muslim fundamentalists and more by Christian fundamentalists. Show me, Steve, that your replacement in District 9 wants to implement Sharia Law, and I’ll roast him as thoroughly as I will for the bills he will support on behalf of his apparent church, the Temple of High Holy Chamber of Commercism.

    I will grant, Steve, that Dale and FHA aren’t overtly proposing a regime as radical and oppressive as their Muslim fundamentalist counterparts. Dale and FHA don’t celebrate the murder of innocents and the mayhem in Paris the self-proclaimed Caliphate deems so praiseworthy. If I saw Dale Bartscher coming at me with his smile and his theocratic symbols and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi coming at me with his Kalashnikov and suicide fighters, I’d call in the airstrike on al-Baghdadi and tell Dale to duck.

    Remember, relativism (“tolerance” gone mad) does not paralyze me. I don’t want any theocrats in my country. I reject any religious belief that claims a right to impose itself on any human being by law or violence. I reject the exclusivism that allows Dale Bartscher to think that the claim “America is a Christian nation” is not just descriptive but normative as surely as I reject the exclusivism that allows al-Baghdadi to translate “Allahu Akbar” as “Kill the infidels!”