A new petition on Change.org is demanding that the city of St. Louis, Missouri, change its name and remove a statute of the city's namesake, King Louis IX of France.
The petition begins by noting the recent success the "New Civil Rights Movement" has had removing controversial statues, both those that were torn down and those that were legally removed. Petitioners say the current climate is the perfect time to take down the King Louis statue and change the city's name:
Over the past several years beginning with the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, America has underwent a New Civil Rights Movement. Part of this movement has been removing statues of racists, slavemasters, and Confederates from public spaces. In 2017 St. Louis removed the Confederate Monument in Forest Park after protests. In 2020 the statue of Christopher Columbus was removed from Tower Grove Park. It is now time for St. Louis to take the bold step to remove the statue of King Louis IX from Forest Park and rename the city.
The statue, KMOX-AM said, was originally unveiled in 1906 where the Gateway Arch currently sits. It now is on Art Hill in front of the St. Louis Art Museum.
According to the petition, the city's name and statue are "an outright disrespect" to Muslim and Jewish residents of The Gateway to the West.
King Louis IX, the petition states, was a "rabid anti-semite" who persecuted Jews and whose life was an "inspiration" to Adolf Hitler's Nazis:
For those unfamiliar with King Louis IX he was a rabid anti-semite who spearheaded many persecutions against the Jewish people. Centuries later Nazi Germany gained inspiration and ideas from Louis IX as they embarked on a campaign of murderous genocide against the Jewish people. Louis IX was also vehemently Islamophobic and led a murderous crusade against Muslims which ultimately cost him his life.
King Louis IX is the only French king canonized by the Catholic Church, KMOX said, adding that he was a devout papist "who ordered the burning of some 12,000 manuscript copies of the Talmud and other Jewish books."