Early statue smashers between 726 and 787 C.E. used their hammers on Byzantine religious icons they deemed sacrilegious, becoming known as “iconoclasts” from the Greek for “image breaking." Statues were smashed again in the Protestant Reformation of the early 1500s when some followers of Martin Luther destroyed windows, statues, and even alters with carvings of people believing that they violated the Bible’s Second Commandment against graven images.
Our current “image struggle” is claiming former icons like Robert E. Lee (who championed the racist Southern cause), Frank Rizzo (police brutality), and Christopher Columbus (pillage of native peoples in the Americas). Standing on top of City Hall watching history unfold, William Penn (founder of Pennsylvania, champion of religious freedom, and owner of 12 enslaved people at his Pennsbury residence) waits to see how high our statuary purification goes.
Editorial cartoons from this week include: