Nevada (US), August 2 (ANI): In a remarkable interfaith gesture, 'Ganesha' sculpture in downtown Coeur d'Alene (Idaho, USA) has Roman Catholic support now, despite opposition by various other groups.
Fr Charles T. Durante, acclaimed Roman Catholic priest in Nevada (USA), in a statement on July 31, said: "Part of our faith calls us to strive to understand one another and appreciate each other's differences. This Hindu sculpture is an expression of an ancient culture and faith tradition and should be respected as such."
Jews, Buddhists and Hindus in separate statements have already applauded the City of Coeur d'Alene for public display of "Ganesha" sculpture in its downtown.
Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in North Carolina (USA), in a statement, said: "The City of Coeur d'Alene and its Arts Commission should be commended for their strength and inclusive attitude in displaying the 'Ganesha' sculpture along with 14 others in downtown as a part of 'ArtCurrents', its public art display program."
"Ganesha may not be as sacred to us as it is to our Hindu friends, but we still welcome its addition as an integration of a wider range of public art into the community and an enhancement of the overall appeal of an urban area", Rabbi Freirich added.
Jikai' Phil Bryan, well known Buddhist minister in Nevada, stressed: "I applaud the City of Coeur d'Alene for advocating unity in diversity in its 'ART Currents' program by displaying 'Ganesha' sculpture".
"Such positive actions by Coeur d'Alene, of encouraging Artworks of many faiths, guide us in ways of respect and harmony in these difficult times. This is truly 'old-time America,' helping each other however we can. Thank you Coeur d'Alene for showing us all a good and righteous path to follow in our diverse society", he pointed out.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has already welcomed this Lord Ganesha sculpture, and applauding the City of Coeur d'Alene for this gesture, he called it "a step in the right direction".
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that this public display of Lord Ganesha would bring more inclusivity in religion and help create a unity that celebrated diversity. Moreover, Ganesha's presence was always considered auspicious, he added.
"Ganesha" on East Sherman Avenue and South 6th Street by Spokane metal artist Rick Davis is part of 15 sculptures of "ART Currents-Coeur d'Alene Public Art On-Loan 2011-2012 Program". Spread throughout the downtown area, variety of art pieces on-loan from local and national artists are on display for one year and for sale. Besides "Ganesha" (which is priced at $35,000 and is third most expensive), Spokane metal artist Rick Davis created "St. Francis of Assisi" and "Great Blue Heron" are also on display, in addition to Native-American-themed "spirit bear" representing harmony/peace created by another artist, reports suggest.
"Coeur d'Alene now dedicates 1.33 pc of the total cost of all eligible capital improvement projects to fund art in public places. The purpose of the public art program is to integrate a wide range of public art into the community and reflect the diversity of communities, artistic disciplines, and points of view", according to a brochure.
Sandi Bloem, Wendy Gabriel, Susan Weathers, and Steve Anthony are the Mayor, City Administrator, City Clerk, and Recreation Director respectively of City of Coeur d'Alene; while Fred Ogram is Chairman of its Arts Commission, a 12-member panel appointed by the Mayor. Guiding Principle of Coeur d'Alene Arts Commission is to "Select artworks of sufficient scale to capture public attention. Make an impression."
In Hinduism, elephant-headed and human-bodied Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
Coeur d'Alene, founded in 1878 and known as "Lake City", is home to the second largest metropolitan area in Idaho. Broadcast journalist Barbara Walters reportedly described the city as "a little slice of Heaven". Its Christmas lighting display is claimed to be among the largest in USA. Notable people associated with Coeur d'Alene include actress Patty Duke, martial artist Trevor Prangley, television producer-director Charles Sellier, etc. (ANI)