President’s Day weekend was a busy one for law enforcement in Indianapolis, Indiana. As reported by RTV, a local news station, several Indianapolis churches have been targeted by vandals within the past few days. Looters spray painted profanity and slurs on some, broke into others, and even beheaded a statue of Jesus at another.
The statue of Jesus, which stands at the entrance of Cottage Ave Pentecostal Fellowship was constructed by an artist four years ago. The six-foot high cement figure of Jesus greets all those who walk through the doors. Members say that the sculpture is a symbol, representing their hope and salvation. Instead of “hope and salvation,” members of the church were greeted by a headless Jesus as they arrived for morning worship on Sunday. The video below clearly shows the ominous state of the Jesus statue.
Reporters for WISHTV spoke to David Fishburn, co-owner of the church. Fishburn told reporters that the church was built in the year 1850. Replacing the beheaded statue of Jesus will cost the church thousands of dollars. Fishburn believes that whoever cut the head off of the Jesus statue has shown the utmost form of disrespect.
“Jesus suffered enough. I know this is just a statue, but it still represents what we’re all here for. He’s our savior.”
This is the second time in two weeks that the statue has been the target of vandalism. The first time that the head of Jesus was sawed off, it was left next to the statue. This time, the head of Jesus was stolen. The woman who initially gave the statue to the church had just, on Saturday, repaired the damages from the first attack by cementing the head back on. She was going to repaint the sculpture on Sunday; however, the head was stolen before she could finish the repairs.
Local resident Leroy Myers made the comment that the “first time you know, it’s vandalism. The second time, there has got to be a hatred.” Indianapolis Metropolitan Police are currently looking into this incident. Kiiitv announced that the IMPD has reported this case to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Law enforcement agencies have not yet determined whether or not this particular incident classifies as a hate crime, as will be decided by the FBI.
Lynette Salyers, whose home is located next to the church, believes it isn’t about the cost of replacing the beheaded statue of Jesus or the labor it takes to locate and fix the head. It all comes down to the “message that the vandal is sending.” She continued on saying that there are numerous things that they could do to vandalize the property, yet they chose to focus their defacing on the head of Jesus, and nothing else.
The beheading of Jesus has left Pastor Flaskamp, pastor of Cottage Ave Pentecostal Fellowship, as well as the congregation confused about what to make of the repeated damage. There is simply no way of telling “if it’s the work of somebody seeking a thrill, or somebody trying to send the church a message, or something else. David Fishburn added to this thought.
“They have returned twice and destroyed our statue, twice. This time, taken the head. Is that a beginning of something that’s to come?”
— Steve Jefferson (@scoopjefferson) February 21, 2017
As PIXII TV disclosed, Pastor Flaskamp did mention that it is unlikely that the wreckage made was done by kids, in fact, “it would have to be a kid that can wield a sledgehammer.” He was, however, able to joke about it by Monday.
“Someone needs Jesus, that’s for sure, and not just his head. That’s the truth.”
Churches in Indianapolis are praying for the person, or people, involved in the malicious destruction of the statue of Jesus.
Since the election of Donald Trump, hundreds of churches have reported being a target of one form of vandalism or another. As Reported by USA Today in November, more than 200 churches were targeted during the week after the election.
St. David’s Episcopal Church in Indiana was attacked in November shortly after the election. Priest in charge, Rev. Kelsey Hutto, said that Jesus calls for love and that, as Christians, we need to respond with such love. We need to respect human differences, regardless of upbringing, no matter where they come from, what color their skin is, or who they love.
“what we really need to focus on is not the election, but rather the fact that love conquers all hate. Anytime hate is presented, love needs to be our response. That’s how we’re responding.”
[Feature Image by tpsDave/Pixabay/cropped and resized]