(WIS/NBC News) A statue depicting Jesus Christ and accompanying artwork will be soon removed from a well-known South Carolina church.
Church leaders say the congregation voted 131 to 40 to take down the work because community members view it as "Catholic in nature."
They explained their decision in a letter sent to Bert Baker, the artist who created the statue and tablets, offering him the chance to help remove and preserve his work.
"We understand that this is not a Catholic icon, however, people perceive it in these terms," the letter said, "As a result, it is bringing into question the theology and core values of Red Bank Baptist Church."
In response, Baker sent a two-page letter admonishing the church for their decision and chastising them for any alleged confusion.
"I am stunned that your letter both insults the intelligence of the Red Bank Community (as not intelligent enough to know that Red Bank Baptist Church is a Baptist church despite having a large sign stating as much); and, more disturbing, singling out the Catholic church in such a manner as to suggest that their denomination is deficient in theology and lacking in Christian core values to the point that you wish to prevent or avoid any perceived association with them," Baker wrote.
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