Catholic University students push back against ‘disrespectful’ painting of George Floyd

The death of George Floyd while in police custody last year not only sparked widespread civil unrest across Minnesota and beyond, but also led some on the left to essentially elevate Floyd to the status of a saint or martyr.

One startling example of that trend can be found in a painting proudly displayed by the Catholic University of America.

Critics react

According to the Daily Wire, the university featured a work modeled after Michaelangelo’s “Pieta,” which appears to depict Floyd as Jesus Christ.

In the original painting, the Virgin Mary is seen cradling Jesus after his crucifixion. In the piece hanging at the Catholic university, however, both figures are Black and the male bears a striking resemblance to Floyd.

The backlash to the move was swift and severe, with many critics declaring it sacrilegious and blasphemous.

In its report on the matter, the Daily Signal revealed that the school actually hung two copies of the print — one outside of the campus ministry office and the other near its law school chapel.

Artist Kelly Latimore painted the image, titled “Mama,” and affirmed that it was inspired by Floyd’s death. She seems to welcome the controversy that has erupted around this and similar works she has painted in the past.

“My answer was yes”

In April, the artist discussed how the painting was created and the opposition she has encountered, telling The Christian Century that she believes racism is at the heart of much of that pushback.

“The common question that people asked was, ‘Is it George Floyd or Jesus?'” Latimore said. “The fact they’re asking that question is part of the problem. My answer was yes. This nonanswer frustrated the hell out of a lot of people.”

Of course, the latest development has only exacerbated the situation, leading to a student-led petition at the university calling on administrators to remove the “disrespectful” paintings.

In a statement to the Daily Signal, the former president of the university’s College Republicans declared that comparing Floyd “to the sinless son of Almighty God is to do a damning disservice to the vast majority of Catholics and Catholic theology.”

Blayne Clegg went on to denounce the fact that the school “purchased, unveiled, and hung up” the controversial painting “without input from student leaders.”

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