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‘Homeless Jesus’ Statue Causes Debate in North Carolina Town

According to a report from Charlotte-based local news station WCNC, a statue outside of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson, N.C., is polarizing many members of the community. The piece, which depicts a realistic looking man covered in a blanket, lying on a park bench, is titled “Homeless Jesus,” and is so popular among some religious leaders that a version was even blessed by Pope Francis. On his website, artist Timothy P. Schmalz said the sculpture is meant to be a “representation that suggests Christ is with the most marginalized in our society.”

Unfortunately, not everyone in Davidson is a fan of the church’s art display. One resident interviewed by WCNC complained that “Jesus is not a vagrant, Jesus is not a helpless person who needs our help. We need someone who is capable of meeting our needs, not someone who is also needy.” In a letter to the editor on the Davidson News website, another neighbor said, “It is about people driving into our beautiful, reasonably upscale neighborhood and seeing an ugly homeless person sleeping on a park bench.” Perhaps it’s because of these sentiments that Reverend Doctor David E. Buck told the site the display is permanent, adding, “It’s here because it’s wonderful art that reminds, with this beautiful (church) structure here, that our faith is expressed through our concern and care for the homeless. We think it’s the perfect place for it” …

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