There will of course be a temptation for conservatives to regard this particular rooftop debacle as just one more “art fail,” and we have kind of gotten used to all of those. Those come along every couple of weeks. But something far deeper, far more serious, is manifesting itself.
This statue sits atop a New York City courthouse. The artist explains it on this wise: It is part of an “urgent and necessary cultural reckoning underway as New York reconsiders traditional representations of power in public spaces and recasts civic structures to better reflect 21st-century social mores.”
Cultural reckoning is exactly right. This is not the chickens coming home to roost. This is the chickens coming home to die, and then to rot. The carcasses are all over the front yard, then the maggots started in, and flies are everywhere, all over the house.
Chemosh was the supreme god of the Moabites. King Solomon made the horrific blunder of building a sanctuary for him near Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:7). King Josiah, whose presence is greatly to be desired in New York City just about now, did Israel the great service of providing that sanctuary with a visit from some Iron Age bulldozers (2 Kings 23:13).
I am using Chemosh here for a stand-in symbol for that entire pantheon of bad actors—for Molech, for Dagon, for Baal, for Asherah, for Elyon, and for Hadad. I am not using him as a stand-in symbol for the thin mist of pretended neutrality. Such neutrality does not exist, although it is only fair to note that the pretense of it most certainly does. And while idols don’t exist either, the demons behind them do (1 Cor. 10:20 ).