A California ski resort is under fire for plans to build a 20-foot statue of Jesus’ mother.
Those frustrated by the decision to add Mary to Mt. Shasta Ski Park in McCloud, California, have launched a petition seeking to stop its construction.
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The petition — “Stop the Construction of a Religious Statue at Our Local Ski Park” — argues the statue will “threaten to disrupt” the environment at the ski resort.
“The ski park is not just an outdoor space; it’s our community’s gathering spot,” the petition reads, in part. “It is where we teach our children to ski and where we meet with friends and family during the winter months.”
The text continued, “The religious icon currently under construction threatens to alienate members of our diverse community who do not share the same religious beliefs. Local gathering places, whether private or not, should remain neutral spaces that promote inclusivity and respect for all visitors.”
The treatise, which already has more than 1,950 signatories, goes on to state the area is already appreciated for its current “natural beauty and spirituality” and dismisses the need for such an “intrusive religious icon.”
The petition text ends with a plea for the owners of Mt. Shasta Ski Park to stop the project and for the U.S. Forest Service to intervene.
But a spokesperson for the resort told KTVU-TV the project is unfolding on private land and all permits have already been secured.
The Forest Service also backed the reality that Mt. Shasta Ski Park is privately owned.
Other critics have alleged the presence of the Virgin Mary statue would somehow dishonor Native American culture, which runs deep in the area.
Mt. Shasta Ski Park announced the project in a Dec. 9 Facebook post, explaining it is “personal” and noting the statue will be completed next summer.
“The installation of this statue is very important to our owner as this was a shared goal with her late husband and business partner, Ray Merlo,” the statement read. “They have dedicated their resources to improving the Ski Park over the last few years and in the words of Robin Merlo, this statue is a promise fulfilled and a true representation of the dedication to family that we all value so much here at the Ski Park.”
The statement concluded with a statement about different religions and the owners’ intentions.
“The goal is not to focus on any one religion,” the text reads. “But to acknowledge and honor the beauty and spiritual power of the mountain we all love so much.”
As Fox News noted, the reactions have not all been negative. Some welcome the symbol and believe there’s a desperate need for more faith in society.
“Please stay strong and continue with your plan,” one supporter wrote. “This world — and this state, especially — needs more religion.”
So far, Mt. Shasta Ski Park seemingly has no plans to back off the project, sharing a statement with Fox News that called “negative reactions” to the monument “disappointing” and concluded that the owner looks forward to “completing the project early this summer.”
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