DAVIDSON: 'Homeless Jesus' sculpture sparks controversy - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

'Homeless Jesus' sculpture sparks controversy

Posted: Updated:
© WCNC/NBC Charlotte © WCNC/NBC Charlotte
DAVIDSON, N.C. -

A sculpture of a "Homeless Jesus" outside a church in Davidson has resulted in neighbors and church leaders debating its message and appropriateness, according to WCNC in Charlotte.

The sculptor, Timothy Schmalz, claims on his website that the sculpture outside St. Alban's Episcopal Church was rejected by cathedrals in Canada and New  York. Articles on his site also claim that Pope Francis blessed and accepted the sculpture into Vatican City.

One issue people in Davidson have is that from a distance, especially in the evening, the sculpture looks like a real-life homeless person sleeping on a bench outside the church.

Some have even called the police.

"I was concerned for the safety of the neighborhood," Cindy Castano Swannack told WCNC.

Only upon closer look do people realize it's not a real person.

The only identifying feature on the sculpture itself is the crucifixion marks in the feet. A plaque next to it shows the "Homeless Jesus" title and that the inspiration came from a passage in Matthew 25.

"It's Jesus representing the most marginalized of society," said Rev. Doctor David E. Buck, the rector at St. Alban's.

Buck says the sculpture combines beauty, art and religion.

"We're reminded of what our ultimate calling is as Christians, as people of faith, to do what we can individually and systematically to eliminate homelessness," Buck said, "Part of a faith commitment is to care or the needy."

In order to make the piece interactive, there is room to sit on the bench next to it.

It brings church members like Chuck Dillman that much closer to God.

"If you've been through what I've been through... somehow I got lost about religion," Dillman said while sitting on the bench.

"It brings me right up here with Him, yeah," said neighbor Ellen Donaldson, "It gives me an overwhelming sense of peace and comfort."

"I can't understand why anyone wouldn't want this" said Buck.

Not all the church members approve of the sculpture.

Swannack says it's an inappropriate message and wrong for the neighborhood. She says she wishes it showed Jesus standing over a homeless person and protecting them.

"Jesus is not a vagrant, Jesus is not a helpless person who needs our help," she said, "We need someone who is capable of meeting our needs, not someone who is also needy."

The work ended up at the church because a member set aside money years ago to honor a friend and fellow church member who died of cancer in 2007. They finally decided upon a piece of art they liked and gave it to the church.

  • Students suspended from Haut Gap Middle School

    Middle school students suspended for trying fire trick with hand sanitizer in classroom

    Middle school students suspended for trying fire trick with hand sanitizer in classroom

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 7:17 PM EDT2014-08-27 23:17:05 GMT
    Two students are suspended for three days after they were caught trying to start a fire with hand sanitizer on Wednesday afternoon. Erika Taylor, spokesperson for the Charleston County School District, said the students were alone in a classroom at Haut Gap Middle School and were caught by a teacher after noticing the smell of something burning. The children were not injured and the fire department did not respond. Taylor said the students were suspended for 3 days. It is not known if the stu...
    Two students are suspended for three days after they were caught trying to start a fire with hand sanitizer on Wednesday afternoon. Erika Taylor, spokesperson for the Charleston County School District, said the students were alone in a classroom at Haut Gap Middle School and were caught by a teacher after noticing the smell of something burning. The children were not injured and the fire department did not respond. Taylor said the students were suspended for 3 days. It is not known if the stu...
  • SC House meets to vote on 2 vetoes, costs taxpayers $34,000

    SC House meets to vote on 2 vetoes, costs taxpayers $34,000

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 7:12 PM EDT2014-08-27 23:12:59 GMT
    The South Carolina House of Representatives met for a one-day special session Wednesday to vote on two bills Governor Nikki Haley vetoed. The session cost taxpayers about $34,000 in mileage, hotel, and meal costs. House Speaker Bobby Harrell says the bills couldn't have waited until lawmakers return in January. “If you didn't come back until after the elections, the next General Assembly doesn't have the authority to deal with vetoes from the previous General Assembly. This General Assembly i...
    The South Carolina House of Representatives met for a one-day special session Wednesday to vote on two bills Governor Nikki Haley vetoed. The session cost taxpayers about $34,000 in mileage, hotel, and meal costs. House Speaker Bobby Harrell says the bills couldn't have waited until lawmakers return in January. “If you didn't come back until after the elections, the next General Assembly doesn't have the authority to deal with vetoes from the previous General Assembly. This General Assembly i...
  • DHEC: GenEarth, Berkeley County Plant accused of awful odor, is breaking state law

    DHEC: GenEarth, Berkeley County Plant accused of awful odor, is breaking state law

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-08-27 22:41:04 GMT
    GenEarth, the bioenergy plant near Moncks Corner that has many people in Berkeley County complaining of horrible odors, is now being accused of breaking state law. The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control sent the company a letter August 21st accusing the company of violating the law. The letter was sent two days after News 2's Raymond Owens talked to residents at some Moncks Corner neighborhoods about a strong odor, described as being similar to burned sewage, that was in the ar...
    GenEarth, the bioenergy plant near Moncks Corner that has many people in Berkeley County complaining of horrible odors, is now being accused of breaking state law. The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control sent the company a letter August 21st accusing the company of violating the law. The letter was sent two days after News 2's Raymond Owens talked to residents at some Moncks Corner neighborhoods about a strong odor, described as being similar to burned sewage, that was in the ar...
Powered by WorldNow

210 W. Coleman Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Telephone: 843.216.4875
Fax: 843.881.3410
Email: news@wcbd.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.