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Painting That 'Portrays George Floyd as Jesus Christ' Displayed at Catholic University of America

© SputnikPeople knealt their knee in memory of George Floyd during commemorating event in Minneapolis
People knealt their knee in memory of George Floyd during commemorating event in Minneapolis - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.11.2021
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The university’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom launched a petition calling for the removal of the painting, arguing that “no political or social cause ever justifies depicting another in the place of Jesus Christ”.
A painting depicting George Floyd as Jesus Christ is displayed at the campus ministry office of the Catholic University of America, with a similar painting being present at the university’s law school, The Daily Signal reports.
According to the media outlet, while the university told them that the painting “Mama” depicts “the Virgin Mary supporting the body of the dead Christ”, artist Kelly Latimore, who created the painting, “indicated repeatedly” that his work depicts both Floyd and Jesus.
The painting, which hangs outside the Mary, Mirror of Justice Chapel in the university’s school of law, appears to emulate the Pieta, a sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti that depicts Jesus Christ being held by Mary after his crucifixion.
“Following the violent death of George Floyd on 25 May 2020, Latimore created this icon in June of that year,” a description posted with the painting reportedly says. “The image is evocative of the Pietà—the Mother of Sorrows. May Mary, the Mirror of Justice hear the cry of all who have known the sorrow of losing a loved one to violence and injustice. Amen.”
A spokesperson for Latimore told the media outlet that the painting is “done as a pieta” - “a mother with her son of colour who was unjustly murdered by the state” - though they did not state specifically that it depicts George Floyd.
A number of the university’s students apparently weren’t impressed with the painting, and the local chapter of Young Americans for Freedom even started a petition on change.org to have both paintings in question removed.
“As students at the Catholic University of America, we believe that it is extremely grave that our university, the official university of the Catholic Church in North America, would cast another in the image of our Lord in this way, particularly for political purposes,” said the petition, which garnered 1830 signatures at the time of this article’s writing. “No political or social cause ever justifies depicting another in the place of Jesus Christ.”
An anonymous student at the university also told the media outlet that “the icon has no place at The Catholic University of America”, arguing that, while “it is blasphemous and an offence to the Catholic faith”, it is “not surprising at all that it was put there”.
“It is just another symptom of the liberalisation and secularisation of our campus,” they said.
“There are many students, faculty, and staff who are concerned about this, but there is nothing we can do,” the student added. “And if we sound the alarm, we will be labelled racists.”
Blayne Clegg, junior politics major and former president of Catholic University College Republicans, further elaborated that, while “it goes without saying that George Floyd didn’t deserve to die”, the latter “is not Jesus Christ”.
“He is not a saint, nor a martyr, and to, in any way, compare him to the sinless son of Almighty God is to do a damning disservice to the vast majority of Catholics and Catholic theology,” he explained. “It is damning anywhere, but especially at *THE* Catholic University of America, where this painting was purchased, unveiled, and hung up without input from student leaders.”
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