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Transformers Statues Rejected by Neighborhood Board

Newton Howard is a brain scientist who teaches at Georgetown University. He says, “We are transformers. We change things as humans.” This idea of humans using their ingenuity to create new possibilities is one that Newton says holds extraordinary value, especially for children.

For this reason, Howard commissioned the creation of two life-sized statues of Bumblebee and Optimus Prime, stationed outside the door of his home in historic Georgetown. They are characters from the long-running animated series Transformers, which has merchandised children’s toys, and in recent years has spawned cinematic adaptations from action filmmakers.

In a conversation with a local columnist, Howard quoted Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” He says statues have been popular with neighbors and passersby, with people often coming to take photos in front of them. However, the statues do have their detractors, which include people in the Old Georgetown Board, a panel who review projects in the historic neighborhood. That board recently voted to reject Howard’s request for the statues to remain permanently.

Newton learned of the decision from local media coverage, and from messages of support from friends and neighbors. Newton said, “I have received so many beautiful messages. The people that want this to be removed are people that are showing no grace, no openness, no inclusion, no invitation to others. It’s an awful message. It’s contrary to what I believe.”

After addressing potential safety concerns by securing the statues to his property, Newton applied for another exemption, which is to be voted on later in the year. He’s prepared to pursue legal action to defend the statues.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Just as people have found inspiration from these transforming statues, people around us can find inspiration when they see us transformed by the gospel.

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