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Man beheads statue of Jesus: Says 'first or second commandment' forbids it

Statues of Jesus, like the cross, are symbols of Christianity. In what is being viewed as an act of vandalism, a man has been arrest in South Carolina for beheading a statue of Jesus Christ. He cites religious objections to the statue.
Magnus Manske, Creative Commons

A man in Charleston, S. C., was arrested this week after beheading a statue of Jesus Christ at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. When asked why he would do such a thing, he said he was following God's commandments.

According to a Raw Story report on June 18, 38-year-old Charles Jeffrey Short was arrested near Sacred Heart Catholic Church when it was discovered he had a white dust-encrusted sledgehammer in his backpack.

Police were called to the Catholic church early Sunday morning when parishioners noticed that a statue of Jesus Christ was without its head. Upon arrival, they noted a man walking away from the church and stopped him, asking him of his whereabouts. Short allegedly pointed toward the church and the officer then asked if he could search his backpack, whereupon sledgehammer was found. It was also caked with white residue indicative of recently being used to hammer something.

Short was Mirandized but, instead of remaining silent, insisted on telling the police officer why he had decapitated the statue.

According to Charles Short, per the police report, “the Second or First Commandment forbids making an image of a male or female to be on display in public.” He admitted to hitting the statue six or seven times.

Of course, Short's knowledge of the Mosaic code is only slightly inaccurate. It is actually the second commandment of Moses' Law that speaks of false idols, which originates in the Book of Exodus in the Bible: "You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."

However, forbidding the worship of graven images and false idols appears several times in the Bible in books like Deuteronomy and Leviticus.

According to The Post and Courier, Short's arrest prompted Charleston police to look into whether or not there was a connection to another case of church vandalism in the area just days before the Jesus decapitation.

A statue of Jesus and a child at the very same church had had both heads and hands removed sometime Friday. According to church officials, that statue was worth about $5,000.

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