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California ski resort’s plan to install Virgin Mary statue sparks outrage among locals seeking to block project

A California ski resort's recently announced plans to install a statue of the Virgin Mary has sparked outrage among some local residents who are trying to block its construction.

McLeod's Mount Shasta Ski Park announced on social media last week that it plans to install a 20-foot-tall statue of the Virgin Mary atop Douglas Butte in northern California.

“You can see what will become the base of the statue this season, and the statue itself is expected to be installed by next summer,” the resort said.

“The installation of this statue is very important to the owner, as this was a shared goal with her late husband and business partner, Ray Merlo,” the social media post continued. “They have dedicated resources over the last few years to improving the ski park. In the words of Robin Merlo, this statue is a promise fulfilled and a great way to help all of us here at the ski park.” It is a true expression of dedication to the family we cherish.”

The resort said the statue's purpose was “not to focus on any particular religion, but to recognize and celebrate the beauty and spiritual power of the mountains we all love.”

Resort posts Instagram and Facebook A rendering of the statue was included.

The project's plans sparked outrage among some local residents, prompting the resort to turn off commenting on posts.

Critics have set a goal of gathering 2,500 signatures to “Stop the Construction of Religious Statues at Local Ski Parks” in hopes of putting pressure on resorts to cancel the project. An online petition has been launched. As of Monday morning, the petition already had more than 1,900 signatures.

The petition read: “Many of us have been skiing at our beloved local ski park on Mount Shasta since we were children. It has always been a place of joy, togetherness, and natural beauty. But religious statues… Recent building efforts threaten to destroy this precious environment.”

The petition says the statue of the Virgin Mary “alienates members of a diverse community who do not share the same religious beliefs.”

“Local gathering places should remain neutral spaces that promote inclusivity and respect for all visitors, private or otherwise,” the petition asserts.

It called on the resort's owners to “immediately cease and desist from this construction project.”

“We urge the U.S. Forest Service, from which the ski park has a permit, to insist that Mount Shasta Ski Park halt this project,” it added.

The petition suggested that the funds used to erect the statue be donated to homeless shelters and detox facilities.

Signers of the petition called the project “outrageous,” “horrible” and a “gross sacrilege.” Supporters used the petition's comments section to denigrate Christianity.

“Keep your religious beliefs to yourself. If you want to build an expensive statue, build one for the Native Americans your ancestors slaughtered and took this land from you, you hypocrites. We won’t spend another penny on you. You guys are evil,” one of the petition’s supporters wrote.

Another participant called on resorts to “keep religion out of skiing.”

A third commenter said: “With less than 20% of humanity being Christian and with so many extremists in that environment threatening women and reproductive freedom, this is very, very sad. “This is a thoughtless act.”

“Religion is poison,” another supporter wrote, quoting Mao Zedong, the Chinese communist dictator responsible for the deaths of some 65 million people. This comment was one of his most popular in the thread, receiving 14 likes.

The ski area did not respond to a request for comment. new york post report.

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