Virginia State SealVirginia’s attorney general recently had an attack of zealous Puritanical prudishness, which caused him to try to modify his state’s seal. The Norfolk (VA) Virginian-Pilot reports on his efforts to change it (WebCite cached article):

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli apparently isn’t fond of wardrobe malfunctions, even when Virginia’s state seal is involved.

The seal depicts the Roman goddess Virtus, or virtue, wearing a blue tunic draped over one shoulder, her left breast exposed. But on the new lapel pins Cuccinelli recently handed out to his staff, Virtus’ bosom is covered by an armored breastplate.

When the new design came up at a staff meeting, workers in attendance said Cuccinelli joked that it converts a risqué image into a PG one.

Here is the only image of the Cuccinelli’s proposed new seal that I could find, courtesy of the Virginian-Pilot, so please pardon the small size:

VA A.G. Cuccinelli's proposed new Virginian state seal

Note that the goddess Virtus is not only now clothed, she is armored — as in, ready to march off to war. It’s eerily reminiscent of my characterization of a Religious Right group (the FRC) as making themselves into Crusaders ready to go to war, in Jesus’ name, against the vile forces of secularism. I wonder if Virginia’s A.G. is a member of said organization, and if so, perhaps he views himself and his commonwealth as being Crusaders in the cause of Jesus Christ?

The Virginia state seal is, in any event, quite old … it dates to around the same time that the U.S. was founded. So it seems odd that, well over 2 centuries later, some Puritanical nutcase decides to object to it as “too revealing.”

I expect Cuccinelli is aware his move will be ridiculed, as this isn’t the first time something like this has happened:

If the jokes start to fly, Cuccinelli can’t say he didn’t see it coming, [U. of Va. political scientist Larry] Sabato said – not after what happened in 2002, when U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft ordered drapes installed to cover partially nude statues at the Justice Department. “Ashcroft had one excuse: it hadn’t been done before and he wasn’t prepared for the critical onslaught that he faced,” Sabato said. “Cuccinelli has no excuse at all. He knows what’s coming because of what happened to Ashcroft. You can only conclude that he enjoys being the center of pointless controversy.”

He was, in short, appealing to his peeps … i.e. the Religious Right which now controls Virginia, after the 2009 elections. I’m sure they’ll slobber over him for having done this, for having struck a blow for Christ against those wicked secularists.

But that only forces me to ask why he’d bother leaving a Roman goddess on the seal at all? What about the First Commandment, Ken? Or did you forget about it in your zeal to make Virtus more military?

P.S. If Virginia is a commonwealth, why is its seal referred to, by the media, as a “state” seal? Just wondering out loud.

Hat tip: Skeptics & Heretics Forum at Delphi Forums.

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