'The removal is between you and God': Midlands church votes to remove Jesus statue

RED BANK, SC (WIS) - In two days time, a statue depicting Jesus Christ and accompanying artwork will be removed from a well-known church in the Midlands. But the artist who created the work over a decade ago is not pleased.

Midlands artists Bert Baker created the statue and panels surrounding it back in 2007. The work was displayed outside Red Bank Baptist Church on Community Drive.

However, according to church leaders, confusion in the community is leading them to remove the work.

In a letter dated May 10, 2018 to Baker, church leaders say the congregation voted 131 to 40 to take down the work because community members view it as "Catholic in nature."

"We understand that this is not a Catholic icon, however, people perceive it in these terms," the letter said, "As a result, it is bringing into question the theology and core values of Red Bank Baptist Church."

Church leaders are giving Baker the opportunity to preserve his work, however.

In response, Baker sent a two-page letter admonishing the church for their decision and chastising them for any alleged confusion.

"These sculptures have been gracing the front of RBBC for 11 years and at no time then or now has anyone ever been 'confused' as to who Red Bank Baptist is nor has anyone ever suggested that they are 'Catholic' in nature," Baker wrote. "I am 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."

Baker signs off his letter saying that Red Bank Baptist should give the art to another church or sell it to fund missions rather than have it destroyed.

"The removal therefore is between you and God," Baker said.

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