Church Wastes $22K On Metal ‘Homeless Jesus’ Statue Instead of Homeless

According to the Bible Jesus was always very concerned with the homeless, the destitute, the poor, the least cared for, wasn’t he? So, shouldn’t his churches echo that worry? OK, so let’s take that as a given as we discuss the actions of an Episcopal Church in North Carolina that wasted $22,000 on a metal statue of a “homeless Jesus” to make a political statement instead of spending that money on, well, you know, the homeless.

St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson, North Carolina, installed a stature it is calling a “homeless Jesus” on its property. It is a figure huddled in a blanket and laying sideways on a bench outside the church. The figure is almost entirely wrapped in its bronze blanket and the only way one can tell it is Jesus is a close inspection of the hands and feet where one can see signs of the holes from his crucifixion nails.


The so-called “Homeless Jesus” statue.

The leftist rector of St. Alban’s, Reverend David Buck, essentially admitted that the whole thing is a political stunt meant to further his and his flock’s left wing ideas.

“It gives authenticity to our church,” he told NPR. “This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for the marginalized of society.”

Now, most lefties get their panties n a bunch when people use Jesus for a political purpose. But, then again, that anger is only directed at people right of center who do so, apparently.

As NPR reported:

The sculpture is intended as a visual translation of the passage in the Book of Matthew, in which Jesus tells his disciples, “as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me.” Moreover, Buck says, it’s a good Bible lesson for those used to seeing Jesus depicted in traditional religious art as the Christ of glory, enthroned in finery.

“We believe that that’s the kind of life Jesus had,” Buck says. “He was, in essence, a homeless person.”

So, to push this political agenda, the church spent its $22,000 paid out to Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz. This Schmalzy statue is nothing but politics all the way through.

So, why did this Church waste so much money that could have feed or housed some homeless people like that? Because their left-wing politics are far, far more important than any ol’ thing Jesus cared about.

Shortlink:

Posted by on April 14, 2014.
Filed under Asshats, Christianity, corruption, Culture, Culture Of Corruption, Democrats, Liberals, Religion.
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, RightPundits.com, StoptheACLU.com, Human Events Magazine, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events.He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions, EMAIL Warner Todd Huston: igcolonel .at. hotmail.com"The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it." --Samuel Johnson

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  • Commander_Chico

    Ars gratia artis.

    • warnertoddhuston

      Were that it was. Instead its a political statement, not “mere” art.

      • Commander_Chico

        Religion is always political.

        • warnertoddhuston

          Untrue. Actually Christianity was created specifically to be an individual’s religion and NOT political. Not that many didn’t make it political anyway. But that doesn’t mean it was created to be political.

          • Commander_Chico

            Jesus was a rebel against the Roman state and the religious establishment of Israel.

          • warnertoddhuston

            So? See above.

          • jim_m

            So when He said, “Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” he was expressing a fusion of religion and politics rather than delineating a separation of political and religious spheres?

            One of the reasons that the Jewish establishment resisted his claims was that they wanted a political messiah. Christ rejected that.

            Once again Chico goes for the ignorant and bigoted stance on religion.

  • jim_m

    Washing the outside of the cup…

    • warnertoddhuston

      And not even letting the “homeless” HAVE a cup! :)

      • jim_m

        The point was that, like Christ’s criticism of the Pharisees, the church here is focused on looking good before men and not actually doing good. It is the appearance that seems to be important rather than taking meaningful action.

        • Brucehenry

          Unless it was a gift to the church, a possibility I raise above.

          • jim_m

            Possibly. But then the quote form the church is still every bit as damning

            “It gives authenticity to our church,” Rev. David Buck

            It gives your church a statue you dimwit. Authenticity would actually be doing something to care for someone else, and not just paying to have someone else do it. These are shallow people congratulating themselves for looking good without having to really care.

          • Brucehenry

            Well I’m not quite ready to leap to that conclusion on the basis of a couple of quotes from this short article.

            But I see what you mean.

          • jim_m

            I just think that anyone who thinks that a statue makes him “authentic” needs to have his head examined.

      • Brucehenry

        The NPR story says the sculpture was purchased “as a memorial” for a deceased parishioner. It sounds like it wasn’t purchased with church funds. My sisters and I bought a memorial bench with a little plaque for my mom when she passed and gave it to the church she attended. It’s possible some relative of the deceased parishioner did something similar.

  • Lawrence Westlake

    Bad demographics = Idiocracy.

  • GarandFan

    “This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be
    reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for
    the marginalized of society.”

    Yeah, and I’ll bet, like the liberals of Mill Valley, California, the last thing they want to see is a homeless person (or low income housing) in their area.

    • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

      Concern – or the appearance of it – is cheap.

      • Brucehenry

        $22K is cheap?

        • jim_m

          Last church I went to regularly had an annual budget over $2M and that excluded their school and summer camp.

        • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

          For a bronze statue? That’s not bad, actually.
          But really, it’s more the mentality of the ‘See how much we care’ movement. Instead of spending the money on the homeless, they spend it on a statue to show how much they care.
          As Jim said below, it’s about the ‘authenticity’ – the feeling that they’re somehow doing good by… not really doing anything at all about the problem.

          • Brucehenry

            Here’s a link again that implies the statue was a gift to the church from a parishioner. I don’t see how it makes the church a bunch of pharisees if they accepted a gift of this work of art that gets people to think about “the least of these.”

            Again, check the last paragraph of the story:

            http://www.wcnc.com/news/neighborhood-news/Homeless-Jesus-sculpture-sparks-controversy-247134691.html

            Nor is the person who paid for the statue a Pharisee, IMO, since he or she is apparently remaining anonymous.

            Warner may not like it if a congregation is thinking about helping the homeless and not thinking about persecuting gay people or whatever it is he thinks Christians SHOULD be thinking about, but there it is.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Every group’s got priorities – and they’re the ones who’ve got to be happy with them. I’ve got little to no problem with folks like this – it’s when they start hacking off unbelievers’ heads that I start objecting strenuously…

  • Paul Hooson

    A lot of people in religion make bad decisions. Look at altar boys who are molested by priests….when they could have held out for a bishop. – But, seriously, many churches deal with a lot of money, yet have little to no business experience. In some cases, some televangelists that have charity donation drives find that only 8% of donations actually reach the target of feeding missions because of overhead costs including salaries. In other cases, some churches are pretty sly when it comes to business. The Catholic Church owned a big tract of land that they wanted to sell to a shopping mall developer, so and archbishop had two bodies temporarily buried on the land in order to avoid taxes by having the land declared a religious owned cemetery, shifting the local property taxes onto everyone else. In other cases, purely political organizations claim to have to some religious mission, to avoid taxes, although they have no religious materials they distribute or church they own, such as Morality In Media, which also claims to an antijuvenile delinquency organization, yet has no mission in that area either, an has even received government grants at our own federal tax expense.

  • SteveCrickmore075

    I think this money on the statue is better spent, that many congregations or cults manage to do.Episicoplalians seem quite conventional but that depends on your definition of convention. Here is one that is very Old Testament that was revealed today as an offshoot of The Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints from the 1970s. in Ontario, Canada . “The cult leader inherited his father’s mantle as “Prophet,” as well as his harem. Things changed under Fred King,, becoming even more cult-like. He began to use violence, including beatings and threats, to control the congregation.” Ah freedom of religión allows you to do or say just about anything, since nothing can be disproven. https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/ontario-police-collar-head-cult-church-sex-violence-203129558.html

    • jim_m

      This was not about cults idiot. If we wanted to talk about morons involved in cults we would have an article about global warmism and then you could chime in with your religious buffoonery.

      • Paul Hooson

        What church isn’t a cult, Jim? The Old Testament Jews had many fantastic stories to try to explain their history and meaning, and the story of Jesus seemed to be adopted by cultists who combined three different Jewish traditional accounts of super rabbis or other larger than life fables of super humanness into one amazing story of a super human that some started to follow like a cult. Even the story of Moses had some awesome imagery, that has later been scientifically explained as nothing of a miracle such as the Red Sea supposedly dividing, when the reality is that there are periods of low tide that can be walked through for example.

        • jim_m

          Yes, if you want to use the formal definition of “cult” many religious movements can fall into that category. However, in this case we are using the more customary meaning of the word “cult” and that does not apply to main stream religions.

          I cannot help you if you insist on being a hateful anti-religious bigot. But since you are being that way, let me be clear on what we mean by a cult:

          a cult is a religious or semi-religious sect whose members are controlled almost entirely by a single individual or by an organization.

          This kind of cult is usually manipulative, demanding total commitment and loyalty from its followers. Converts are usually cut off from all former associations, including their own families. The Hare Krishnas, the Family of Love led by Moses David Berg, and Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church are some examples of this kind of a cult.

          You can also try this definition

          A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.

          You can try to obfuscate and call all religions cults in an attempt to smear religion in general but it does’t wash and the rest of us can tell the difference.

          • Commander_Chico

            Organized religion fit the description of a cult by definition.

            “Cult” is just a loaded word meaning “religion I don’t like.”

          • jim_m

            some people do use it that way, but I have posted clear definitions that are quite useful. If you want to be an anti-religious bigot be my guest. It certainly won’t be the first time you have expressed an ignorant and bigoted view here.

          • Paul Hooson

            I actually like religion a lot, and even used to host Bible study groups at my home at one time. But, from a realist standpoint, Christianity seems to be little more than a cult of some who combined several popular fables of some Jewish superrabbies that Jews used to tell as folk lore for years into faith. While Christians could not wait for some manisfestation of God, others like Jews continued to hold out for faith in God in their hearts and developed a culture that they believed mankind should reflect God’s inspiration in mankind by proving to be creative and using God’s inspiration to develop talents as reflection of God living in their lives.

  • JWH

    NPR (http://www.npr.org/2014/04/13/302019921/statue-of-a-homeless-jesus-startles-a-wealthy-community):

    The bronze statue was purchased for $22,000 as a memorial for a parishioner, Kate McIntyre, who loved public art. The rector of this liberal, inclusive church is the Rev. David Buck, a 65-year-old Baptist-turned-Episcopalian who seems not at all averse to the controversy, the double takes and the discussion the statue has provoked.

    From WCNC (http://www.wcnc.com/news/neighborhood-news/Homeless-Jesus-sculpture-sparks-controversy-247134691.html):

    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.

    A couple miscellaneous thoughts:

    1) I’ve seen this covered before. Several local people called police because they thought a homeless man was sleeping on a bench in a wealthy neighborhood. Not sure if they were calling police because they thought the man needed help, or because they thought he was driving down property values.

    2) At least one local Davidson resident is upset because they believe Jesus should be depicted in glory, not as a homeless man on a bench.

    3) The church says that it commissioned this artwork to provoke a conversation about Jesus’s doctrine and about poverty and homelessness. It’s certainly provoked conversation. But is the conversation about homelessness and compassion? Or is the conversation merely about the statue?

    • jim_m

      The conversation is about the statue. What the church seems to be after was a conversation of how pious they were. Seriously. Why even advance this idea of the statue making them “more authentic” if the intent was not to create the appearance of holiness?

      • Brett Buck

        I would think they could just actually *be* authentic, rather than make expensive pointless gestures to appear that way.

        Mother Teresa didn’t need a PR department.

      • Matt

        It’s already been established that the statue was a gift, so there’s no use in arguing about how the church could have “better spent” their funds. As for merely trying to look pious, who are we to say what that church is or isn’t doing to practically address homelessness. Do we have any idea what kind of homeless ministry they have? Do we know how much they donate to homeless care and relief? No, we can’t pretend to know. What’s certain, though, is that homelessness is a problem that’s easier to ignore than to face head on. The point of the statue is to make a situation visible that we’d all rather avoid. That’s what good art does- it makes us see things anew, however uncomfortable.

        • jim_m

          What in my comment above referenced the money spent? Nothing.

          As to the question of what the church is doing about homelessness? I would suggest that the fact that they did not mention their homeless ministry and that the main point was that the statue gave them more authenticity as a church.

          So no, we do not know what they are doing, but we can infer from what they emphasize in their words that what they emphasize in their activity is the appearance and not the doing.

          • Matt

            My point on the money spent was in response to the article, not your comment, but the point is the same. You and Huston make some sweeping assumptions about the church based on very little information.

            I’d like to hear more thoughts on the statue itself, instead of how authentic or inauthentic the church is.

          • jim_m

            With regard to the statue, it is highly dishonest to suggest that Jesus was homeless. Yes, He lived an itinerant lifestyle, but He did so by choice and not necessity. Most of our homeless today suffer from mental illness, that was not the problem with Jesus.

            Claiming that Jesus was homeless is an attempt to shame people into taking some sort of action. It is dishonest and manipulative.

            There. I said it.

  • Share

    John 12:1-8
    New International Version (NIV)
    Jesus Anointed at Bethany

    12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

    4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.[b]” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

    7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you,[c] but you will not always have me.”

  • ackwired

    Help me out here. I don’t see the political content in this. How is a reminder that Jesus was homeless political? Is there something advocating government action that was not reported?

  • Douglas Keith

    This statue could easily last 100 years or much longer. (Many bronze statues from ancient Greece and Rome are still in good condition.) That means it will cost less than $1 per day to get folks thinking about Jesus and his message. The church needs to spend some of its money on ministry and spreading the Word. $1 per day doesn’t sound like too much.

    • jim_m

      If you want to amortize the spending over the lifetime of the monument you can argue that the spending isn’t all that great. The far bigger issue is the attitude that claims that a symbolic gesture is just as worthy as actually doing something to help the needy. A statue does not authenticate your faith but these people apparently think that it does.

      • Brucehenry

        You keep saying that, and Lawson hints at it too, but it appears that one member of the church bought the statue as a memorial to a friend and gave it to the church as a memorial gift in honor of that friend.

        Last paragraph of the story. See, it doesn’t sound like these church folk are Pharisees at all:

        http://www.wcnc.com/news/neighborhood-news/Homeless-Jesus-sculpture-sparks-controversy-247134691.html

        • jim_m

          Not really. All that shows is that they are willing to celebrate each other not that they live their faith out in any way that is meaningful. Granted, there are probably really nice people in the congregation that actually do things that benefit the poor and needy. They just aren’t like the pastor, who believes that a statue makes his faith more authentic.

          I missed the line in the Sermon on the Mount where Christ says “Blessed are the statue owners, for their faith is authentic.”

          • Brucehenry

            I think you may be unfairly rushing to judgement by your jump to this conclusion. Geez, give the guy a break, it was one sentence the reporter pulled out of a conversation. He may indeed be a self-righteous prig but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I think the statue is pretty awesome, myself.

          • jim_m

            Come on. Anyone who actually thought that they were a church that served the people wouldn’t have had the idea that the statue made them “more authentic” even cross his mind. The very fact that this is something that he thinks about tells us that he and his congregation have serious issues with demonstrating that their faith has done anything to change their concerns for their fellow man.

            If this congregation were really making an impact in the community they wouldn’t be proclaiming a statue as demonstrating how authentic they were. They would be stating how the statue exemplifies their concerns for the community and how it represents the work they are doing etc, etc. Nope. No reference to their works, it is the statue that shows their faith is authentic.

            James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

            Talk, and statuary, are cheap.

          • Brucehenry

            No, you’re getting all worked up about what hypocrites they are because of this story and how the pastor was quoted in it. The reporter and he may have talked for hours on end, for all we know, about what the church is actually doing to help in the community — and then the reporter might have left all that OUT.

            You don’t know. You can’t tell whether this pastor is some kind of self-important hypocrite on the basis of one or two sentences HE DIDN’T CHOOSE to include in the story the reporter filed. The pastor most likely didn’t get any say, after granting the interview, as to what was included in the story and what was left out.

            For all you know, you could be judging this guy totally unfairly because of a poorly written, or poorly edited, news report. Like I said, give the guy a break.

            And I don’t know that they are “proclaiming” anything. They installed the statue, some controversy ensued, and a reporter ASKED this pastor about the statue. It’s not like the guy announced his faith’s authenticity as demonstrated by the statue in a ceremony. It was a short, probably truncated, interview, for which the pastor probably didn’t prepare.

            Also, there is nothing wrong with art as a teaching tool. Should the Catholic Church sell all the art it owns and divide the proceeds among the world’s poor? Well, maybe it should but that ain’t likely. In the meantime, it does some good in the hands of the Church, don’t you think?

            I think your problem, and Warner’s, is that this church seems like liberals to you, so you need to think they’re hypocrites or somehow not “real” Christians, who I guess you think should be raffling off rifles or not-gay-marrying or something.

          • jim_m

            I’m not suggesting that the church sell the art or anything of the sort. I just pointed out that I think that they are lame and missing the whole point if their pastor is actually speaking for them and they actually believe that this statue makes their faith more authentic.

            It was an idiotic statement and deserves criticism.

          • Brucehenry

            OK, but one thing — he didn’t say it made their “faith” more authentic. He said it “gives authenticity to our church.” That could mean a variety of things — again, you can’t tell much because there’s no conversational context.

            While it sounds like normal Christian gobbledygook to me I don’t think it makes him sound any more like a hypocrite than your average churchgoer.

            Seems to me they run the gamut from “trying sincerely to walk the walk” to “going through the motions” to “cynically using religion as a smoke screen for greed and venality.”

            But we’ll just disagree here I guess. If you think this guy is a jerk based on this story you’re free to think so. I think you’re being unkind and unfair.

          • jim_m

            I still say that the very notion that they need a statue to lend “authenticity to our church” speaks volumes about what they believe their church looks like to the rest of the world. If they wanted to appear like they were concerned about their fellow man they would do better by actually being concerned about their fellow man.

            There are a lot of Christians that are very focused on creating the appearance of piety without actually caring about other people. In fact I would say most of them.

          • Brucehenry

            Having grown up and lived my whole life in the Bible Belt, I heartily agree with that last part, there, Jim.

  • milissae

    It was not purchased with church funds. If a church members wants to spend their money on a statue, it is their right.

  • Knights of Columbus Insurance

    Christianity is only for people and not for politics and church do lots of things for poor people. Pope Francis has genuine concern for the poor people and he is famous in the public only because of his good work toward poor people. I would not agree on this point that Christianity is for politics .

    Carl Anderson knights of Columbus