News & Opinion | October 16, 2020 11:56 am

Someone Called the Cops on a Statue of Jesus Thinking It Was a Homeless Person

The call was made within 20 minutes of the statue being installed

homeless jesus statue
Canadian sculptor Tim Schmalz sits with his statue Homeless Jesus, in front of UofT's Regis College. A copy of the statue has recently been installed at the Vatican. (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Star via Getty Images

A “Homeless Jesus” statue depicting Jesus as a homeless person lying on a bench covered in a blanket was recently installed outside of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village, Ohio. So, naturally, someone called the cops on it within 20 minutes of it being revealed.

As the Cleveland Scene reports, Father Alex Martin, the church’s pastor, received a visit from a Bay Village police officer after someone reported a homeless person sleeping on a park bench. He says he hopes the incident can serve as a lesson for how we can better help those in need.

“[The sculpture] reminds us that, even though homelessness is a not a significant problem in our immediate neighborhood, we don’t have to drive far to find those in tremendous need,” Martin told the publication. “Perhaps the statue will inspire those who see it to take action and help… Seeing Jesus depicted this way reminds us that Jesus identified with the outcast and marginalized in his own day. He spent much of his time with tax collectors and prostitutes, largely to the chagrin of polite society.”

Bay Village police chief Kathy Leasure confirmed to the Cleveland Scene that someone did, in fact, place a call about the statue on Oct. 12, but she noted that the caller mentioned they were “unsure if the homeless individual was a human being or a statue.”