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The White Jesus is a Serial Killer

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You see them lurking in the hallways of church after church. In the same tired old faded colors, it is hard to miss the blond hair, blue eyes and white skin. I have even seen them in hospitals. Growing up, I was terrified of one representation that stared ominously at the viewer. The old white Jesus paintings hang in space after space as a sign that white Christians remain in power. Southerners are particularly afflicted by this phenomenon. There are millions of these paintings dotting the landscape of the South. Not to be outdone, BIOLA University has a huge mural of a white Jesus on campus. These depictions of Jesus are inherently racist and problematic for a variety of reasons, but I think the biggest issue is that the depictions feed a superiority complex that leads white Christians to freely assault and often kill black people. I believe the white Jesus is a serial killer. Don’t believe me? Lets turn our attention to South Carolina.

 

Last Saturday morning, Michael Slager pulled over Walter Scott. After a struggle, Slager shot and killed a fleeing and unarmed Scott. In those moments, the consequences of the white Jesus surfaced. For his whole life, Slager was shown images of a white Jesus that taught him that he was superior to black people like Scott. When those who are supposed to submit don’t submit, followers of the white Jesus often access lethal force to enforce orthodox adherence to whiteness. Now, Scott is dead and the white Jesus is to blame. How many more victims will the white Jesus claim? From Eric Garner to Jason Harrison to Ruben Garcia, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

 

White Christians keep saying they want to help. I think a good place to begin is to burn the paintings, smash the stained-glass windows, paint over the murals and trash all the books and movies depicting a white Jesus. The real Jesus was a brown man who declared, “Love your neighbor as your self.” One cannot love their neighbor and keep sharing racist images that lead to their destruction.

 

Amen.

white-jesus

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