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Lovely or Lewd? Parents Upset Over Statue In Neighbor's Yard

Art or Porn?

It’s a simple statue of a woman holding a plate. A golden cloth is draped around her waist, leaving the rest of her body bare.

The half-nude statue is in the yard of an Ogden, Utah neighborhood filled with children, many whose parents think the statue is inappropriate. That’s why they complained to the city, asking that the statue be removed.

North Ogden City Manager Ed Dickie says the residents approached the North Ogden City Council to say the statue doesn’t belong in a neighborhood with many elementary school-age children passing by the statue every day.

In response, the city visited the owner of the home where the statue sits and asked him to take it down. The statue stayed and the city let the matter drop. Ed Dickie says the city doesn’t have the right to force the homeowner to remove anything from his yard. Dickie hopes the neighbors work it out amongst themselves. But neighbors continue to be outraged, one even anonymously called a local newspaper, the StandardExaminer to complain.

“Nothing is happening. He’s not doing anything about it,” the woman told the newspaper. “It’s lewd and there’s so many little children under eight.”

When the Standard-Examiner contacted the owner of the statue he expressed surprise that the issue rated a newspaper story, but declined further comment. He said he has contacted a lawyer to protect his interests.

Reminds me of the time BYU officials banned Rodin statues because of nudity. BYU is the Mormon church-owned University in Provo, Utah. After convincing the Cantor Foundation to bring the Rodin exhibit to Provo, BYU censored the famous 19th-century sculptor because of certain nude statues. Four of the sculptor’s most famous works, including “The Kiss”, were hidden.

Look, I’m from Utah. Was born and raised in Provo so I’m used to this kind of puritanical behavior. God forbid the children see the nude human body! They might immediately start having sex! Ten to one they’ve already seen nudity before and if they haven’t, isn’t a beautiful work of art a good first start?

I grew up in a highly religious environment which taught me to be embarrassed by nudity and, as a result, ashamed of my body. What’s so wrong with beautiful nudity? Am I wrong to not see a problem with a naked statue? Am I wrong to not feel weird showing a young child a naked statue and explaining, factually, what they’re seeing?  Also, regardless of how you feel about the nude statue, do you think the city should be able to force the homeowner to move the statue?

Photo: StandardExaminer

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