THE PEOPLE VS CERES

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JEFFERSON CITY - The bronze statue that has sat atop the Capitol for nearly 95 years is causing controversy.

Ceres, who represents the Goddess of Agriculture, is expected to go back to her post on the dome next week, but Sundi Jo Graham, a local re-entry coordinator, has created a petition to stop its return.

"We have a false God on top of our Capitol that’s representing our state," Graham said. "That goes against all of my Christian beliefs. That goes against what I believe in and my values as a believer of Jesus. It goes against the word of God and so, you know, I cringe a little bit."

Ceres was removed from the Capitol over a year ago to be refurbished. Graham said prior to then she had no idea what the statue was nor what it stood for.

"I always made the assumption that because it was Jefferson City it was Thomas Jefferson," Graham said.

One member of the the Missouri State Capitol Commission, Dana Rademan Miller, said preservation is one of the main jobs of the commission. 

"One of the core responsibilities of the Missouri State Capitol Commission is to assure the preservation, restoration, and historical significance of the Capitol," Rademan Miller said. "Including the art that was selected and installed by the Capitol Decoration Commission nearly a century ago."

Graham said that once she learned what Ceres is and what she stood for, something had to be done. That's when the petition to keep Ceres back off the dome was born.  

"The intent behind the petition would be to bring awareness to people that what we are putting on top of the state Capitol doesn’t represent light, it represents darkness," Graham said. "It goes against the very thing that this state was founded on- belief in God. And it goes against the very nature of god."

Graham launched the petition online Monday night and by Wednesday morning it had over 400 signatures. 

In contrast, Rademan Miller said the initial reaction was in favor of the return of Ceres.

"The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly supportive of the project to repair the Capitol and the restoration of Ceres," Rademan Miller said. 

Graham said while it may not seem like a huge deal, it comes down to the topic of worship. 

"I know people think it’s small, but it’s not," Graham said. "Especially if you’re a believer, because God says 'Don’t worship false idols, don’t worship other gods before me.' And that is exactly what the statue is created to do."

The Office of Administration spokesman, Chris Moreland, said they do not have a comment at this time, but they are still on schedule to return Ceres to the top of the Capitol next week.

 

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