A Charleston, South Carolina man was arrested after he used a sledgehammer to decapitate a statue of Jesus. Why would he do such a thing? Well, it was either the First or the Second Commandment… he can’t decide.
Charles Jeffrey Short took a Kobalt sledgehammer to the statue of Jesus outside the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Charleston in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Around 5:45 am, two witnesses reported seeing Short whack the head off of the statue. He was stopped by police as he was walking near the church. He didn’t deny that he had just come from the church when questioned. He even let them search his backpack, where they found the sledgehammer covered with dust from the statue. When police returned with Short to the church, they found Jesus’ head completely demolished.
Short told the officer that he had knocked the head off the statue because it violated the Ten Commandments:
“I think I used a sledgehammer to strike that statue about six or seven times, because the first or second commandment states to not make an image of a male or female to be on display to the public.”
The First or Second Commandment, eh? Well, let’s have a look, shall we?
20 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
So, it wasn’t the First Commandment unless Short believes that Jesus is a different God. On to the Second Commandment… Ah, the “no graven images” one. Well, he may have something here. Maybe. Would Jesus be something “in heaven above” or “on the earth?” Depends on where one is in the story, I suppose. But since nobody was bowing down and worshiping the statue of Jesus, I don’t think it qualifies as a graven image. I could be wrong. Or perhaps Short is confusing the Second Commandment with the Islamic prohibition of depicting the prophet Mohammed’s image. Who knows?
Short was charged with malicious injury to real property (nothing about malicious injury to a graven image — or a non-graven one, for that matter). He’s being held on a bond of $2,130 until his court hearing. Hopefully, he’s not sending up prayers for leniency. Not sure how those would be received.
Interestingly enough, a few days earlier, another statue at the same church was vandalized. A parishioner arriving for Friday services found the heads and hands missing from a marble statue of Jesus and a child. Police had been alerted. There is no word whether or not they think Short was involved in that crime as well.
The Christian Post notes that a similar attack occurred in January when statues at two Vineland, NJ Catholic churches were vandalized. Those statues were also decapitated and the eyes were gouged out. That’s pretty sick. The Deacon of one of those New Jersey churches told reporters that he could not imagine what is going through the mind of someone who would deface statues dedicated to Jesus. I can: air.
Photo: News 4, Charleston.