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Back in early November, the government of Oaxaca, Mexico donated a neat statue to sit outside the United Nations headquarters in New York City. It’s a “fusion of jaguar and eagle” and meant to symbolize a guardian of international peace.

[Mexican ambassador to the U.N.] Juan Ramón de la Fuente pointed out that the governor of Oaxaca, Alejandro Murat sent the sculpture to reinforce the presidency of Mexico during the month of November, in the Security Council of the United Nations Organization.

“With the purpose of demonstrating to the UN that Mexico has a powerful culture that can send messages through our artisans, and like 76 years ago Mexico continues to be a guardian of international peace and security” he said in his message.

Cool! All art is subjective, but anything that makes you look twice and want to grab a picture next to it is at least on the right track. Obviously, the message matters even more than the artifact.

But, as you might expect, the people who think Satan is everywhere immediately began treating the statue like a symbol of the biblical End Times Beast.

They noted that Revelation 13:2 describes the beast as “a leopard [with] feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion.” This is not that. Not even close. But when you’re the type of person who sees Jesus in grilled cheese, it’s not a stretch to see this statue as Satanic.

The Christian Broadcasting Network even ran a story on the statue with the blunt, inaccurate headline, “UN Sculpture Looks a Lot Like the End Times Beast Referred to in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13.”

It’s a completely insane headline with a story to match it.

But this unwarranted paranoia isn’t just coming from random people on social media. During his sermon yesterday, Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church in Tennessee told his audience that he planned to fly to NYC and film himself riding on top of (and preaching from) the United Nations statue.

… I mean, things are being fulfilled that we never would have imagined! Did you see that statue they put at the U.N. in New York? That is predictably prophetic! It’s there RIGHT NOW! Face of a leopard. Wings of an angle. Paws of a bear. It’s THERE, right at the U.N.

… You know, I’m gonna share a little secret with you. I’m gonna let the cat out of the bag, but I’m gonna let it out anyhow. Praise God, it’s gonna be fun. I got a preacher friend. We gotta figure out how to pull this off…

… I’m about to buy me some plane tickets to New York… ‘cause I’m going to the statue. And I’m gonna get me a live Facebook video… You got the wrong one, saying I won’t! I’m gonna do it! God done told me I’m gonna do it! I’m going to New York City, U.S.A. I don’t care what that masked up demon-possessed governor has to say about it. I’m going to climb up on leopard head, and I’m gonna preach to this nation that if we don’t turn, and if we don’t repent, God is about to level the whole thing, ladies and gentlemen! Because we’re watching the Bible come to life! We ain’t got time to play games and mess around! We got to get busy for the kingdom of God… Say it, folks! I’m about to pitch a fit, because the glory of God is rising in the nations!

Whether that counts as vandalism, I don’t know. I’m guessing climbing a statue at the U.N. violates all kinds of rules against, um, riding artwork.

I’m also not sure what that stunt would prove, other than showing the world Locke is nothing more than a publicity seeker who wants his message to get through to the lowest common denominator — the sort of people who genuinely think this statue represents some sort of evil. Because all the rest of us would just see a deranged preacher — one who seeks to divide all of us — screaming about the Christian god while sitting atop a gift of peace.

Keep in mind that Locke is typically all talk, no action. He said over the summer, for example, that he would sue CNN and Newsweek for defamation. Then, as expected, nothing ever happened. The idea that he’d actually go to NYC — a place with relatively strict COVID restrictions — all so he can do something so idiotic and pointless while also risking arrest? Not his style. He wants other people to take the hits for his cause, not himself.

Though you do have to appreciate the irony of a guy who typically holds church in a circus tent claiming he’ll be able to tame a fake beast. He lives up to every stereotype about him every day.

(Thanks to Kyle for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of FriendlyAtheist.com, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.