Thursday, 26 January 2012

A giant Jesus for London?

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Here's an idea sure to divide opinion – the Camden New Journal reports that there are plans on the table to erect a giant statue of Jesus Christ, evoking Brazil's iconic Christ The Redeemer statue, on North London's Primrose Hill to mark the end of the 2012 Olympics and the transferral of host city status to Rio de Janeiro.

The proposal has not yet been reviewed by the local planning department but, according to the New Journal, a London-based planning consultancy working with the Brazilian Tourist Board recently sent an email "to a handful of Primrose Hill residents" informing them of the plan and requesting secrecy in order to retain "a 'wow' factor" for Londoners and “the world’s media" when it is unveiled at the end of the games.

Opinion among those interviewed by the New Journal is divided between those who wouldn't mind if it was temporary and a local councillor who says it "sounds a bit like some marketing brainstorm" and who thinks the planners "need to get some more original ideas". But the religious nature of the project has also attracted the attention of secularists, who question the wisdom of erecting a giant symbol of Christianity above the London skyline. In a statement on its website, the National Secular Society's president Terry Sanderson said:
"The Olympic Games is supposed to unite people of all creeds and cultures through sport. Introducing something as blatantly sectarian as this would completely go against the spirit of the games and be a kind of triumphalist statement about Christianity. It is a very bad idea and must be kicked into touch immediately."
So what do you think? Could London do without a Saviour lording it over its population, or is it time our decadent capital city acquired some new religious iconography and climbed on board with JC? Answers in the comments.
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