Church’s ‘Catholic’ Jesus statue to find new homeBy Christina L. Myers Associated Press
COLUMBIA — A statue of Jesus that a Baptist church in South Carolina voted to remove because the congregation deemed it too Catholic has found a new home.
The hand-carved, 7-foot statue and accompanying reliefs depicting scenes from Christ’s life have been displayed outside the front entrance of Red Bank Baptist Church in Lexington for a decade. But church members voted last month to move it. The Rev. Jeff Wright, the church’s pastor, would not say when the statue will be taken down but said it is going to another church.
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, Wright said.
“This is not a denomination issue, it’s a church decision,” Wright said. “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?’”
In a letter to the artist Delbert Baker Jr., Wright wrote that the statue and reliefs bring into question “the theology and core values” of the church.
“We understand that this is not a Catholic icon, however, people perceive it in these terms,” the letter read.
“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?’” The Rev. Jeff Wright