John Gilmary Shea, American Catholic historian, writer and theologian, was not best pleased. He'd just heard that the Statue of Liberty was coming to New York Harbor.
As far as he was concerned She was a Pagan Goddess with no right to be in a Christian country. Plus incorrect claims were being made in Her name.
It was no Roman deity, Shea wrote, but Jesus Christ Our Lord who was the 'true light that enlighteneth the world'. Ditto freedom. 'He HATH made us free', not the false idol destined for the otherwise fully liberated Bedloe Island.
Nor was it only Catholic thinkers opposed to Her presence. The words 'Pagan' and 'idolatry' were being furiously bandied about by plenty in Protestant congregations too. Christians of all stripes were writing letters to their political representatives, outraged in sheer disbelief at the notion of a Pagan icon being placed anywhere on US soil, let alone in the first place that most visitors saw upon arrival.
No-one in the 1870s and 1880s missed that Liberty was a Goddess. It was even there in President Cleveland's speech at Her statue's dedication - 'we contemplate our own peaceful deity keeping watch before the open gates of America'.
It's only the decades since which have over-written, in the minds of the majority, Her Pagan roots with Her modern allegorical meaning of the American ideals for liberty and freedom. But She's still a Pagan deity.
By the end of this article, you'll know which one.