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Jesus is getting evicted.
A Baptist church in South Carolina plans to take down a hand-carved statue of Jesus Christ because it’s believed to be too Catholic. The statue, along with accompanying artwork depicting scenes from Christ’s life, will be removed Thursday.
The art will be removed because a majority of the congregation voted that the 7-foot-tall statue and sculpted reliefs were “causing come confusion.” It has been displayed at Red Bank Baptist Church for more than a decade.
Pastor Jeff Wright wrote a letter to the artist, Delbert Baker Jr., saying “We have discovered that there are people that view the art as Catholic in nature. We understand that this is not a Catholic icon, however, people perceive it in these terms.”
Wright wrote that the statue and reliefs bring into question “the theology and core values of Red Bank Baptist Church,” but didn’t elaborate further as to how or why.
Baker, a former member of the church, was given the opportunity to remove the piece himself if he wanted to keep it. Baker chose not to but hoped the art would not be destroyed. Instead, he’s hoping it might be donated to another church or sold to support a mission.
“I’m not interested in stirring the pot, but people not liking it because it looked too Catholic is crazy, man. It’s been up there for 11 years,” Baker told The State on Tuesday. “I don’t agree with the letter, it bothers me.”
In a response letter, Baker told the church leaders that he wanted the Christ statue to appear to be stepping out in a symbol of the Lord’s commission, and that the other images in the reliefs were based on basic facts about Christ’s life which can be found in the Bible.
“Under each arm the reliefs depict scriptural and historical events that we as Christians believe represent the life of Christ. There should be no confusion on the facts of Jesus’ birth, life events, the miracles, His crucifixion, death and most importantly His resurrection,” Baker wrote.
Rhonda Davis shared out the photos of the church letter’s and Baker’s response in a Facebook post. She called the choice “disturbing and sad that in a time when we are all needing to come together as brothers and sisters in Christ to project and reflect His love to a lost and dying world…”