You might remember a month ago when woke Americans were toppling and vandalizing statues in a frenzy: Confederates, slave owners, racists, and colonizers all had to come down. Members of Black Lives Matter were insistent on toppling the Emancipation Memorial that was funded by freed slaves and featured Abraham Lincoln lifting a former slave out of bondage (it looked too much like the freed slave was bowing before Lincoln).

But social justice warrior Shaun King took things to the next level by demanding that any depictions of Jesus as a white man had to go because they were a form of white supremacy. “Tear them down,” he said of the statues, adding that “All murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down. They are a gross form [of] white supremacy. Created as tools of oppression. Racist propaganda.”

We personally think it would be a shame to throw a tarp over Michelangelo’s Pietà. It doesn’t seem like white supremacy to us as much as it does artists creating Jesus in their own image.

Michael Gerson has picked up the torch and writes in the Washington Post Tuesday that white Jesus is a fiction created because white Christians couldn’t accept someone of a lesser race as their savior:

…The white, European Jesus of Western imagination is a fiction produced by those who could not imagine human perfection in any other form. “Whites simply couldn’t conceive of owing their salvation to a representative of what they considered an inferior race,” Robert P. Jones, chief executive of PRRI and the author of “White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity” emailed me. “And a nonwhite Jesus would render impossible the intimate relationalism necessary for the evangelical paradigm to function: no proper white Christian would let a brown man come into their hearts or submit themselves to be a disciple of a swarthy Semite.”

The embrace of a Scandinavian Jesus is not just foolish but part of a broader historical amnesia. Jesus not only looked like a Middle Eastern Jew; this identity also made him part of an oppressed, dispossessed group. A sense of Jewish powerlessness was the social context for his ministry, and his teaching reflected it.

So what to do about all of the depictions of “Scandanavian Jesus”?

It is the great temptation of Christians in every time to shape their faith to fit their interests and predispositions rather than reshaping themselves to fit the gospel. This is what happened when Christians justified slavery, blessed the violent reimposition of white rule after the Civil War and sanctified segregation.

Now scandalous injustice has forced the examination of white supremacy in our lives and institutions. The Christianity of Christ has much to offer. Among White evangelicals, it needs better representatives than we have recently seen.

OK, so a liberal is complaining about white evangelicals? That’s not news. The comments section is pretty harsh against religion in general, though, and Christianity specifically.

They’ve got it down to a science.

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