Catholic University Defends Painting Depicting George Floyd as Jesus

Students, faculty, and staff at The Catholic University of America are upset the school has paintings depicting George Floyd as Jesus, The Daily Signal reports.

The artwork, called “Mama” by Kelly Latimore, hangs in the campus ministry office and the law school.

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“Following the violent death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, Latimore created this icon in June of that year,” the description of the painting reads. “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.”

But many on campus fear speaking out against it will get them labeled racist.

“It is blasphemous and an offense to the Catholic faith, but it is not surprising at all that it was put there,” a junior, who wished to remain anonymous, at Catholic University told The Daily Signal. “It is just another symptom of the liberalization and secularization of our campus.” 

Another student said: “George Floyd 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… 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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The university claims the painting depicts “the Virgin Mary supporting the body of the dead Christ.”

“You can identify Jesus by the marks in the halo,” Karna Lozoya, vice president for university communications, told The Daily Signal.

But the artist himself disagrees with the university’s take.

“The common question that people asked was, ‘Is it George Floyd or Jesus?’ The fact they’re asking that question is part of the problem,” Latimore told The Christian Century. “My answer was yes.”