What an anti-slavery newspaper said about white Jesus

Anti-Slavery bugle

Remember a couple of weeks ago when court evangelical Eric Metaxas said Jesus was white? Me too.

Here is Peter Manseau, the curator of religion at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History:

Here is more on Hezekiah Ford Douglas.

Browse more issues of the Anti-Slavery Bugle here.

Was Jesus White? Michael Gerson on Eric Metaxas’s recent claim

Metaxas

Former Bush speechwriter and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson sets the record straight on a recent claim by court evangelical Eric Metaxas. Here is a taste:

Evangelical writer and radio host Eric Metaxas is one of those figures on the right who has been miniaturized by his association with President Trump. The author of a flawed but serious biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer is more recently the co-author of the children’s book “Donald Builds the Wall!” From Dietrich to Donald is a fall of biblical proportions.

Now Metaxas has stirred controversy with a tweet contending (or assuming) that Jesus was White. His claim was made in reaction to news that the United Methodist Church is partnering with Robin DiAngelo, the author of “White Fragility,” to produce a video series on “Deconstructing White Privilege.” Metaxas’s response read in full: “Jesus was white. Did he have ‘white privilege’ even though he was entirely without sin? Is the United Methodist Church covering that? I think it could be important.”

Metaxas has subsequently attempted to place his claim about Jesus’ ethnicity into context. But there is no context in which this statement makes historical or theological sense. In attempting to debunk the idea of white privilege, Metaxas employed a traditional affirmation of white supremacy.

Read the rest here.

If you are interested in exploring how we got to this place I recommend Edmund J. Blum and Paul Harvey, The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Sage of Race in America

Carson and Jesus and Trump

Perhaps some of you have seen this picture.  It is apparently hanging in former presidential candidate Ben Carson’s house:

Carson and Jesus

Apparently a new picture has surfaced in the last twenty-four hours:

Trump and Carson

The Ubiquitous Blum and Harvey

Ed Blum and Paul Harvey are everywhere promoting their new book The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America.  They just returned from a swing through Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia and from what I understand they have a lot more stops to make.

Last week The Chronicle Review published “The Contested Color of Christ,” which I assume is drawn from the book.  Here is a taste: 

In a world filled with images of Jesus, this one made headlines. He stood in a stained-glass window wearing a simple white robe and a dark tunic. When sunlight struck the glass just so, kindness radiated from his white face and warmth from his brown eyes. This was a comforting Jesus, and for decades he had been with this black congregation in Birmingham, Ala. But on Sunday morning, September 15, 1963, less than three weeks after Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed his dream of racial equality, dynamite set by white supremacists exploded outside the 16th Street Baptist Church, and four little girls who had gone to the basement lounge to freshen up were dead. The face of Jesus shattered into a thousand shards of glass. In the blink of an eye, the prince of peace was a casualty of racism.

Paul Harvey

The bombing would become a pivotal moment in the civil-rights movement of the 1960s. The outrage that grew around the nation helped spur the voting-rights campaign and pave the way for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By 2004, two days after winning the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, Barack Obama flew to Birmingham to give a speech at the city’s Civil Rights Institute. He took the opportunity to cross the street and visit the church, by then a national historic landmark. When he entered, he observed a “still-visible scar” along the wall where the bomb had gone off. He saw portraits of the four young girls and thought about his two little daughters at home. He sat to pray, and above him in stained glass was the Jesus installed in 1965 to commemorate the bombing. This one seems sad, his arms stretched out, crucified. His hair is short, cropped; his face black.

I think this song is fitting for the Blum-Harvey barnstorming tour:

What is the Color of Christ?

Ed Blum and Paul Harvey explore this question in their forthcoming book, The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America (North Carolina, 2012). 

Over the blog of The Historical Society, Hilde Lovdal and Randall Stephens interview Blum and Harvey about their book and the image of Jesus in American life.  Here is a small taste:

Løvdal and Stephens: Several other prominent religious history scholars have worked on Jesus in America. You mention the influence of Prothero.  What about other scholars like Richard Wightman Fox (Jesus in America: Personal Savior, Cultural Hero, National Obsession, HarperCollins, 2004) when you wrote this book?

Harvey and Blum: Absolutely, although the book that first influenced us was Kelly Brown Douglas’s The Black Christ, which was a short, but wonderful, study of African American perspectives on Jesus from slavery through the works of black liberationist James Cone and womanist Delores Williams. These three books were always in the forefront of our thought. We have used and incorporated material from these authors, and thank them in the acknowledgements.

At the same time, we felt we had a different story to tell. On certain points, especially the impact of power and access to media resources in terms of how Jesus is represented in American history, we challenge some of the arguments that Fox and Prothero make. Both works tend to suggest that Jesus always has been made over in the image of the maker. But in The Color of Christ, we show that this is not simply the case. Jesus was made both like and unlike communities, and the “I-Thou” distinctions mattered.  Moreover, many people throughout US history have not had the representational power or means to create Jesus in their image and have transformed him in other profound ways.

We think the main difference between our book and those of Prothero and Fox is encapsulated by our different covers. While they present Jesus either as a larger-than-life air balloon or the different icons, we focus squarely on how people – everyone from teenagers in Brooklyn to presidents in the White House – have lived with the material realities of Jesus in their midst.