St. Paul: A big small victory for religious freedom!

In my native place, more anti-Christian news, but with a small victory:

City of St. Paul stops fighting statue of Jesus atop bluff
by Bill Keller

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP)

See Video HERE [Watch.  This man is an inspiration.]

There’s a marble statue of Jesus standing 17 feet tall on top of a Mississippi River bluff overlooking downtown St. Paul, and the owner says it’s there to stay now that the city has stopped fighting it.
“I’m very happy,” Tuan Pham said.
Pham told FOX 9 News he won his battle with the City of St. Paul after years of struggling over the 4-ton statue. The stony stalemate began with an anonymous complaint in 2011.
Pham bought his home in 2007 after emigrating from Vietnam with his wife and 10 children in 1980. He commissioned the statue as a replica of the 105-foot Christ of Vung Tao statue in his native country.
Initially, the city asked Pham to remove the statue because of its proximity to the edge of the bluff. They also denied his appeal because an ordinance required a 40-foot setback from the edge of the bluff.
Yet, comments made by one City Council member about religious statues on the bluff were what set the stage for a civil rights lawsuit.
“In our view, this case wasn’t about bluff setback,” explained James Magnuson, of Mohrman & Kaardal. “This case was about the right for a citizen to worship as he chose.”
So after losing his first fight with City Hall, Pham called upon a higher power – the U.S. Constitution.
Fundamentally, we think this is a case about religious liberty,” Magnuson said. “Tuan Pham was a man who escaped religious persecution in Vietnam and he came to this country, as he says, ‘to build a better life based on ability to exercise his religion freely.'”
With legal help from the Alliance Defending Freedom, Pham ultimately settled with the city without going to court. In fact, Pham was so excited he even had the settlement agreement bronzed to confirm the statue will stay for years to come. [I love this guy!]
“My reaction was, ‘Thank God,'” he said. “Here in the free country — no matter how big you are, how small I am, how rich you are, how poor I am — we have equal treatment.
Yet even as he struggled with the city, Pham also had to deal with an arsonist who damaged the statue by piling wood around the base and setting it alight in April 2012. While the statue escaped with a few streaks of soot and discoloration, the family was very shaken by the brazen vandal being on their property. The statue has since been restored and Pham said it looks “like new.”

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  1. JamesA says:

    What an inspiring story. I find myself being proud and ashamed of my country at the same time. How long will we have these freedoms ? God help us.

  2. ladytatslace says:

    Yes! one small step for Religious freedom. Let’s hope there are more of them.

  3. tjg says:

    I find myself being proud and ashamed of my country at the same time.

    JamesA – agreed

  4. Suburbanbanshee says:

    What kind of arrant busybody tries to tell a man he can’t have a statue on his own lawn? What, aren’t normal zoning laws bad enough, so now we have to offend against people’s constitutional rights too?

    The city and the city government of St. Paul should be darned grateful that this great American man fought their stupid, self-enslaving government overreach.

  5. Bruce Wayne says:

    I have been to Vung Tau (name spelled incorrectly in that news report) and seen the original Pham based his statue on. It is worth checking out on the web and is a very nice beach town. Actually, having large Marian and Christ statues prominently displayed on one’s rooftop, on balconies or in one’s yard is a common feature of the Vietnamese landscape, urban and rural. Vietnamese piety has been very inspirational to me personally (helped lead me to my wife in fact), and always reminds me of two things:

    First, the glorious achievements of the Jesuit order in its early modern missionary work which all contemporary Jesuits should immerse themselves in understanding, and then seek to recapture that same zeal so as to revitalize their Order.

    Second, that Catholicism is not a religion of or for the “comfortable” but for the bearing of crosses along with Christ on the Via Dolorosa. The Vietnamese government still, from time to time, engages in bodily attacks on even elderly men and women worshiping or processing at Catholic Churches. It often jails priests or other Catholics as “political enemies” and always pushes an anti-Catholic agenda replete with calumny in its state-controlled propaganda machine (the media). And yet every single Mass on a Sunday starting at 4 a.m. is packed to overflowing, which usually means over 600 strong. American Catholics will have to (re)learn this lesson soon enough.

    By the way, although there is not a single EF mass in the country I can say that their Novus Ordo liturgies blow away the typical suburban American parish in terms of dignity and reverence both in the liturgy as well as the conduct of the faithful.

  6. Facta Non Verba says:

    The firm that represented Mr. Pham is the same firm representing many (all?) of the various Minnesota plaintiffs challenging the HHS mandate. They are good guys.

  7. robtbrown says:

    In other news, ESPN presented its list of the top NFL coaches. Four of the top five–Lombardi, Shula, Halas, and Noll–Catholic. Bill Walsh filled out the five, and he became Catholic a few years before his death.

    Of course, Lombardi went to daily mass (also Shula) and said his Rosary every day.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    Great witness to truth and common sense.

    Suburbanbanshee, there are some neighbourhoods where one cannot have religious statues in front yards or clotheslines in back yards–too many laws like that in the States.

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