By Scott Shephard
It's not often that I quote the Bible in this blog, but here goes:
"And Jesus said. . . 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church. . . . I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven. . . .'" Matthew 16:18
What Christ meant when he said this is still hotly debated but some interpret it to mean that Christ was designating Peter (Petrus in Greek and close to the word petra, which means "rock") as the "first Bishop of Rome." All of the other Bishops of Rome, aka Popes, can trace their paths to power back to Peter. It's a 2000 year-old line of succession.
But wait! I am showing a photo of Mt. Rushmore. Could there possibly be religious overtones in this sculpture? If you are willing to take the leap with me, let's jump. But before we jump, I'll say, "Yes" in answering the question.
First, I don't know what Gutzon Borglum said when he picked Mt. Rushmore for his most famous sculpture. I doubt it was, "Upon this rock. . ." More likely it was, "That one there."
But Mount Rushmore is called the "Shrine of Democracy." And the word "shrine" has religious shadings. Frankly, we treat the four presidents on the mountain somewhat like deities: their faces show up everywhere, they are literally larger than life, and they are generally treated as perfect exemplars of the America Way. Finally, we might see them as more perfect in death than they were ever in life. (And let's not forget that Lincoln is a bona fide martyr.)
There is a pretty serious cult of personality going on here and for me, the teaching of this started when I was in elementary school and continued through high school. So if you ask me, Jesus and Mt. Rushmore are connected in a certain way. But you don't have to think like me. Please.
Finally, in all of this, I am not saying that the Four Dead Presidents are equal to Christ or even Christ-like. So take a deep breath, my Christian friends. . . .
So ends my sermon on the Mount. (Take another deep breath, Christian friends.)
Canon 1D 1/800s f/10.0 ISO250 320mm