Jesus statue 'too Catholic' for a Baptist Church, and has to go

Jesus statue 'too Catholic' for a Baptist Church, and has to go June 11, 2018

A hand-carved, 7-foot statue has been displayed outside the front entrance of Red Bank Baptist Church in Lexington, South Carolina, for a decade, but church members voted last month to have it removed.
In a letter to Delbert Baker Jr – the man who created the statue and accompanying reliefs depicting scenes from Christ’s life – the Rev Jeff Wright, the church’s pastor, wrote that the whole kit and caboodle bring into question “the theology and core values” of the church. The letter said:

We understand that this is not a Catholic icon, however, people perceive it in these terms.

Wright made clear that:

This is not a denomination issue, it’s a church decision. We are removing it to end some confusion. Some people have seen it, guests that have been here and have asked, ‘Why is this on the front of a Baptist Church?’

And he emphasised:

I don’t have any animosity against the Catholic denomination at all or the people that are fussing about this. The statue has served its season. The church is making changes physically; this is the time for it to come down.

Wright said another church is about to give Jesus a new home, that church members meant no harm in the decision – and the attention has turned what was a simple church issue “unfairly” into a social justice issue.
Religions have been divided over religious iconography for more than 500 years as artists adorned buildings with elaborate stained glass windows, paintings, and statues, said David Fink, assistant professor of religion at Furman University.
There are noticeable physical similarities in the Red Bank church’s statue and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, historically one of the most Catholic countries in the world, Fink added.

It’s hard to identify one feature that makes it Catholic, but even the existence of a statue of Jesus is unusual at a Baptist Church. There may not be a clear rationale in play here. They may just want to be a little more clear in their branding.

Wright said his church, about 20 miles west of Columbia in one of the most conservative parts of the state, just wants to move forward

"I will pray Eldath, Goddess of springs, waterfalls, and peace, for you."

Exorcist plans counter-attack against witches cursing ..."
"I really miss mentions there of the Higgs boson, galaxies, etc."

Exorcist plans counter-attack against witches cursing ..."
"It's also debatable not only the use of a torture instrument as a symbol but ..."

Crucifix is not a religious symbol, ..."
"Just like "Christianism is not a religion", right?"

Crucifix is not a religious symbol, ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • AgentCormac

    Give me the Marilyn statue any day of the week!

  • Frank

    “Wright said his church, about 20 miles west of Columbia in one of the most conservative parts of the state, just wants to move forward”.
    I suggest to “move your church forward” and into the real world toss all your bibles in a dumpster and hand out copies of books by Dawkins and Hitchens to your congregation.
    “They may just want to be a little more clear in their branding”. Ah yes we are in the United States of Consumerism. Brand is everything. Well I brand Rev Jeff Wright as an IDIOT.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    @AgentCormac, at least we know thatMarilyn was a real person.

  • John the Drunkard

    So, in THIS instance, the ‘eternal truths’ of their brand of xtianity ARE subject to popular vote?

  • H3r3tic

    I look at a statue like that and think he’s saying, “no shit man, it took my float and ran out 20 meters of line! When I’d reeled in enough to get it into the shallows it rose up, tossed it’s head and broke my 12 pound line like it was thread! No shit man, that trout was this fucking big!” About as believable as owt else in the bible eh?

  • L.Long

    How is a statue of a mythic dude “too catlick”????

  • Stonyground

    There is a CofE church near us called St. Mary’s. A few years ago there was a huge kerfuffle when they installed a statue of Mary. This was perceived to be way too Catholic for the CofE and I think it ended up being removed. It really is all so infantile and silly.

  • Robster

    Bit of a surprise really that an enterprising toy manufacturer is yet to develop a Meccano Jesus Kit. The DIY deity could come complete with all the various bits required by the differing faith flavours and purchasers could add or subtract the bit they want or don’t want from their very own bespoke Jesus. Punters could add a bit more Catholic or protestant accoutrements to meet their particular desires and wishes for their very own Jesus. The deity’s colour could be changed to meet the differing market needs, for the Africans perhaps a tinted Jesus while the remaining Scandinavian Christian would prefer a bleached, blonde Jesus with perfect teeth?

  • 1859

    This is priceless coming from the mouth of a religious devotee –
    ‘…There may not be a clear rationale in play here…’
    Has there ever been in the last 2000 years any ‘clear rationale’ in anything the religious devotees of any religion have ever said or written or thought ? No. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this type of confusion still happens.

  • barriejohn

    Robster: There’s always the Brick Bible!
    https://youtu.be/hnoVI4n9MbM

  • Har Davids

    Lobster,
    Try jesusdressup.com for starters. All it needs is adding a 3d-printer and you’re good to go; we can all create a Jesus to fit our tastes.

  • tonye

    Robster, barriejohn,
    Have you forgotten the ‘Buddy Christ’ toy that was made following the release of Dogma?
    In the movie, the late,great, George Carlin introduces it.
    https://youtu.be/mC7jSAvQpu4
    As you may have guessed it did not go down well with the RC boys. There still a few floating about on the internet.

  • barriejohn

    @tonye: If you look up Jesus Figurines etc., on ‘tinternet, some great stuff comes up, including Bobble Head Jesus, Solar Powered Jesus, and “Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand”! However, my all-time favourite has to be this one:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ashton-Galleries-Christmas-Kneeling-Poseable/dp/B01HGW8AJ2/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528796323&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=ashton+drake+glory+to+the+new+born+king
    “Celebrate the true meaning of Christmas” (by sending us your money). Hahahahaha!!!!!

  • tonye

    @barriejohn,
    That takes tacky to a new high.

  • Robster

    Gentle people, thanks! A plethora of customisable Christs in an already well identified market. I’m surprised Frank the pope at Vatican inc is yet to join the party.

  • barriejohn

    Robster: One Dancing Pope Francis Figurine (Solar Powered) as requested!
    https://www.amazon.com/Puckator-Ff70-pope-Figure-Solar-Plastic/dp/B01DPEQ77M