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A 2014 Iconoclast? Man Destroys Jesus Statue Because the ‘First or Second’ Commandment Told Him To Do It

A 38-year-0ld South Carolina man said he was making a religious statement when he hacked off the head of a Jesus statue at a local Catholic church.

Charles Jeffrey Short was arrested on Sunday near the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Charleston after police found the man walking around with a sledgehammer -that just so happened to be covered in marble dust matching the beheaded Jesus – in his backpack.

When police asked him about his whereabouts, Short readily admitted that he had been at the church. Then, after being repeatedly advised of his rights to remain silent, Short decided confession was good for his soul and told the police he hit the statue repeatedly,”because the second or first commandment states to not make an image of a male or female to be on display to the public.”

Unfortunately, Short should have taken a catechism refresher course before hacking off the devotional statues head. The commandment Short was talking about actually instructs against making “graven images” which the Catholic Church interprets as allowing statues and other images of Jesus.

The commandment also does not specify whether or not the image is permitted to be ‘male or female’ or if the images are not to be publicly displayed, which is something Short seems to have interpreted all on his own.

Still, Short is not the only one to accuse the Catholic Church of violating the Commandment on graven images. The Catholic Church has long faced criticism about the statues, although rarely in the modern age  do people choose to destroy the offending works of art and devotion (although it was all the rage during the Protestant Reformation and Byzantine era).

In fact, these days busting up statues is more likely to be called vandalism than iconoclasm, which is exactly what the Charleston police decided Short was really up to in the early hours of Sunday morning. Held on little over $2000 in bond, Short is due in court this week to answer charges of malicious injury of real property for busting up the Jesus statue, which is estimated to be valued at approximately $5,000.

Photo Credit: File Photo

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.