Conservative activist Matt Schlapp said that statues of Jesus will be the next target of protesters in the wake of Confederate monuments coming down across the country.
In the wake of the George Floyd protests, in several cities, monuments of Confederate fighters have been the target of protesters who want them gone. In some cases, local governments have ordered them removed, either to protect them from vandalism or because they believed removing them was simply the right thing to do, or some combination of these and other reasons. In other cases, protesters have forcibly torn them down.
Matt Schlapp, who is the chairman of the American Conservative Union, took to Twitter on Sunday night to express his concern that this zeal for removing Confederate statues is soon going to move focus to removing statues of a religious figure.
“Statues of Jesus are next. It won’t end. Pray for the USA,” he tweeted.
By Monday morning, the hashtag #StatuesOfJesus had become a trending topic on Twitter.
There are, of course, thousands, if not tens of thousands, of statues of Jesus of Nazareth across the country. The vast majority of them are inside or on the grounds of churches. Many are on private properties that are not affiliated directly with a church. Some, like Arkansas‘ Christ of the Ozarks (pictured below), are tourist attractions.
Several Twitter users pointed out to Schlapp that, unlike these Confederate statues, the statues of Jesus are almost uniformly on private property — be it a church, someone’s private land, or a tourist attraction.
“Are there government-erected statues of Jesus on public property and if so can you kindly please let us know where,” tweeted one user.
It does bear noting that there is, in fact, at least one statue of Jesus of Nazareth on public property. As Americans United for Separation of Church and State noted in 2015, a court has ruled that a statue of Jesus that stands on public land near Whitefish, Montana, can stay.
Another user said that since the modern image of Jesus of Nazareth, at least as it’s portrayed in the West, likely has no bearing to what an ancient Palestinian Jew might have looked like, there effectively aren’t actually any statues of Jesus.
Dumbass, there are no real image of Jesus. No one knows what he looks like, so those statues are just someones imagination.
— Alex Cole (@acnewsitics) June 22, 2020
Multiple users quoted the Bible, noting that Jesus would have been opposed to an image of him anyway.
"Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the Lord your God"
— Justice for Breonna and YaYa ????️????????️ ???? (@PlaceboJones) June 22, 2020
you're not supposed to worship statues of Jesus anyway. Moses did a whole thing about it
— i bless the rains down in castamere (@Chinchillazllla) June 22, 2020
Big Bang Theory showrunner Bill Prady also quoted the Bible, alleging that American conservatives’ generalized eschewing of masks directly violates Jesus’ commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Where exactly has the United States government erected “statues of Jesus”?
Worried about the waning influence of Jesus? Not wearing a mask during a pandemic is an overt violation of his teachings (Matthew 22:39).
— Bill Prady (@billprady) June 22, 2020
Finally, another user noted that Confederate soldiers actually waged war against the United States, something that Jesus of Nazareth never did.
Jesus didn’t take up arms against American, so, no.
— Devin Nunes’ cow ???? (@DevinCow) June 22, 2020