Ahead of a Black Lives Matters protest on June 12, the British government covered up the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square in London to avoid defacement and vandalism.
The statue of Winston Churchill is quite notable for having a mild electric current running through it to avoid being covered by bird droppings. But recent protests in the 2,000-year-old city saw the statue being graffitied with the phrase “(Churchill) is a racist.” There are also calls to remove the statue of one of the nation’s greatest statesmen and place it in a museum. To prevent further damage and vandalism, the authorities have surrounded the statue with a tall and seemingly impenetrable shield.
Current British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, “The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square is a permanent reminder of his achievement in saving this country – and the whole of Europe – from a fascist and racist tyranny…. It is absurd and shameful that this national monument should today be at risk of attack by violent protestors. Yes, he sometimes expressed opinions that were and are unacceptable to us today, but he was a hero, and he fully deserves his memorial.”
The Cenotaph, a British War Memorial in Whitehall, has similarly been boxed up against individuals or groups interested in maiming a site dedicated to remembering the war dead.
Throughout the U.S., statues and memorials have been defaced by anarchists, rioters and protestors more interested in destroying history than preserving it. These people demand that any man or woman who “embraced hate or violence” should be denied a public memorial. But does such a person even exist?
As Jesus said in the Gospel of John, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Churchill was not a perfect man. According to historians, he likely held some racist beliefs, but his resistance to Adolf Hitler perhaps helped save the western world from Nazi tyranny. He was one of the greatest statemen in British history, and it was reflected by a desire for authorities to protect the statue of him in the country that he fought for despite the overwhelming odds.
Currently, in the United States, local and state governments are reacting to the violent and unreasonable mob by removing any statue or memorial that is considered offensive.
For example, Louisville, Kentucky recently removed the statue of Confederate Officer turned U.S. Military General John Breckenridge Castleman. In his obituary, it says, “General Castleman lived the repentance of a mistake against a just cause and a flag that was borne into battle for liberty and for a government that stood for both freedom and fellowship. No one ever worked more faithfully to correct a wrong against his country’s flag. No one ever learned to love his country’s flag more than Kentucky’s great horseman. He was one of the rebuilders of the South, and a rebuilder he became one of the builders of the nation.”
So, the question is, did General Castleman’s statue deserve to come down for the “sin” serving in the Confederate Military as a young man? Shouldn’t his apparent change of heart later in life and contribution to his community result in a conversation about repentance?
There’s also the vandalized statues of Christopher Columbus and Juan Ponce de Leon in Miami, where some of the symbols spray painted on the figures included a hammer and sickle, a communist symbol. It’s probably accurate to say that Communism killed more in 100 years than colonialism killed over several hundred.
When it comes to humanity, we are all deeply flawed due to our nature as sinners. The only person who walked this earth and clicked all of the boxes that this mob wants is Jesus Christ, but his statue would probably be removed just as quickly as any of these others.
The destruction of these statues will not change anything. History is fact not opinion and, unless new research immerges, unchanging. Instead, it’s much better to read and learn about history and the historical figures, which can bring a greater understanding not only of our past but God’s incredible love for us.
Photo from Life In Pixels / Shutterstock.com