A church in Cleveland sparked a backlash from social media users after it installed a bronze statue of Jesus sleeping on a park bench. Yes, you read that right.
The statue is located at St. Barnabas Vay Village Episcopal Church, and a spectator even called the police to report a sleeping homeless person after he mistook the statue.
The idea of a ‘Homeless Jesus’ statue was first introduced at the University of Toronto in 2013, and it has since appeared at other locations around the world as well.
The initial statue that depicts the Son of God wrapped in a blanket, laying on a bench, was created by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz.
The creation intended to raise awareness and dignify homelessness around the world.
We’re glad to temporarily host this statue of Homeless Jesus to raise awareness of homelessness in Cleveland and remind us that all people are created in the image of God. pic.twitter.com/EKClQm7PFG
— St. Barnabas, Bay Village (@StBarnabasBV) October 12, 2020
The statue was meant to invoke contemplation from passersby, but it also sparked confusion among many.
As reported by a priest at St. Barnabas Church, someone called the police to report a homeless man sleeping on a park bench just twenty minutes after it was installed.
The statue received a backlash from internet users, as some people thought that it was exploitative of Jesus Christs’ preaching.
A homeless person needs that bench … and a blanket would be nice too
— Punkavenger wants a fracking free future (@Punkavenger1) October 14, 2020
It literally would have been more helpful to homeless people to have just the bench here, perfornative wokeness in its natural habitat
— Jacob #BLM (@sitcomrade) October 14, 2020