The police were called on the statue of homeless Jesus just 20 minutes after its installation.
As pastor Alex Martin of the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church revealed, it only took people twenty minutes to report the bronze statue which depicts Jesus Christ as a homeless man to the police.
The statue, which shows Jesus as a homeless person wrapped in a blanket while sleeping on a bench, was created by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz with the intention to “challenge people.”
While similar versions were previously installed in other areas, it only took residents of Bay Village, Ohio, around twenty minutes to report the statue located outside the suburban Cleveland church to the police.
“[The statue] 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,” Pastor Martin said in an interview with Cleveland Scene.
According to the reports, the police were called on the statue just twenty minutes after its installation in the churchyard.
As the Bay Village Police insisted, the person reporting the statue of homeless Jesus wasn’t sure whether the figure was a real person or not.
“If this was a person laying on a bench, the officer would have made sure the person was not in any sort of medical distress. If the person was, the officer would have been able to radio for an ambulance to respond and start rendering first aid,” Chief Kathy Leisure confirmed.
As Mr. Schmalz, who is a devout Catholic, expressed, the reactions involving calls to the police are a part of his plan to “challenge people.”
“That’s essentially what the sculpture is there to do. It’s meant to challenge people,” the sculptor told NPR.
Following the sculpture’s design, similar statues have popped up not only across the States but in countries around the world in an attempt to raise awareness about homelessness.
In 2013, a smaller version of the statue was also presented to Pope Francis who “walked over to the sculpture … and closed his eyes and prayed” according to Schmalz.
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