Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

Baptist congregation votes Jesus statue out for being ‘too Catholic’

Red Bank Baptist Church in Lexington has voted to remove a  statue of Christ and its accompanying reliefs after 11 years, because they are believed to be too “Catholic in nature”.

The white, hand-carved statue in question shows Christ with his arms outstretched and stepping out of the wall, while the reliefs depict images from Christ’s life, death and resurrection.

Red Bank Baptist Church leaders sent a letter to the artist, Bert Baker Jr., earlier this month, informing him that the congregation had voted to remove the statue because it was being perceived as a Catholic icon and was causing confusion among churchgoers.

“We understand that this is not a Catholic icon, however, people perceive it in these terms. As a result, it is bringing into question the theology and core values of Red Bank Baptist Church,” church leaders Jeff Wright and Mike Dennis said in the letter.

Baker, a former member of the church’s congregation himself, was commissioned to make the statue for Red Bank in 2007.

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 said in his letter.

In comments to local newspaper The State, Baker said he was “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.”

“I don’t agree with the letter, it bothers me,” he added.

Rhonda Davis shared photos of both the church’s letter and Baker’s response in a Facebook post, and commented that she found it “truly sad” that the statues were going to be removed for reasons that singled out Catholics.

She called the decision “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…”

In his response letter to the church, Baker said that he was “stunned that your letter both insults the intelligence of the Red bank community (as not intelligent enough to know that Red Bank Baptist Church is a Baptist church despite having a large sign stating as much) and, more disturbing, singling out the Catholic Church in such a manner as to suggest that their denomination is deficient in theology and lacking in Christian core values to the point that you wish to prevent or avoid any perceived association with them.”

“In a world that is dying with prejudices, it is disappointing [that a] church that claims Christ as its head would exclude any of His followers.”

Red Bank offered Baker the chance to remove the statues himself before May 31 if he wanted to reclaim them, but Baker said that he made the statue and reliefs for the church and that it was their choice to do with them as they wished.

However, he said he hoped the art would not be destroyed and that it instead might be donated to another church or sold to support a mission.

“I was commissioned to make the sculpture, and whatever they choose to do with it is their prerogative,” Baker told The State. “I just didn’t want it destroyed. I don’t want to take it down personally, but I hope they find another place for it.”

By Mary Rezac / CNA/EWTN News

Photo, Gerry Melendez/The State Newspaper, Columbia: In this 2007 file photo, Bert Baker, an amateur artist, had recently finished a 7-foot-tall sculpture of Christ at Red Bank Baptist Church.






  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Jun 1810:00 am Junta Diocesana
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    6:00 pm Crozier Event - St. Anthony of Padua
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 19 Arch Bishop Lyke Conference
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    9:30 am Beaufort Deanery Meeting
    From the Calendar of Office of Catechesis
    10:30 am Crozier Event - St. Peter's - Columbia
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 2011:30 am Bishop - Mass at Pastoral Center
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    6:00 pm Crozier event - Pastoral Center - Charleston
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 219:00 am Bishop - Mass at St. Benedict's - Mt. Pleasant
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 226:00 pm Ordination of the Adorno Deacons - Immaculate Conception - Goose Creek
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 235:30 pm St. Philip Neri - Fort Mill - 25th Parish Anniversary - All day event - Mass at 5:30
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 25 Xavier Institute for Black Catholic Studies
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Jun 276:30 pm Bishop presiding Confirmation - Stella Maris - Sullivans Island
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 288:00 am Mass at St. Patrick's - Charleston
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 304:00 pm Fortnight for Freedom - Cardinal Newman HS - Columbia
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jul 1 Daniel Rudd Fund Application open
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Jul 2 St. Anthony of Padua Summer Academy Holiday-no school
    From the Calendar of St. Anthony of Padua School Greenville
    Jul 4 Independence Day
    From the Calendar of St. Anne and St. Jude Catholic School
    Independence Day
    From the Calendar of St. Anthony School Florence
    Jul 9 Summer Academy Resumes
    From the Calendar of St. Anthony of Padua School Greenville
    High School CLI
    From the Calendar of Youth Ministry