Saturday, December 15, 2012

Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey

Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey are the authors of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America.

From their Q & A at the University of North Carolina Press website:

Q: Why does Jesus's race matter in America?

A: Race matters in every facet of American life. And religion matters deeply in American life, as well. The two collide when we think about Jesus's race. There, race and religion have formed a tight knot and the historical outcomes of picturing Jesus as white or black, brown or red have been at times horrific and at other times heavenly. When slaves and slave masters battled over the morality of bondage, they paid attention to Christ's race. When Native Americans struggled with whites over land rights and sexual interactions, they zeroed in on the race of Jesus. When visionaries sent letters to Abraham Lincoln saying that Jesus had come back to save the Union, they emphasized that Jesus was a white warrior setting out to destroy black slavery. When Klansmen dressed in white and burned crosses in their opposition to blacks, Jews, Catholics, and socialists, they did it all in the name and supposed race of Jesus. When civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr. tried to undermine the social system of segregation, they struggled over the race of Jesus. And when Barack Obama ran for the presidency in 2008, comments about the race of Jesus almost cost him the Democratic nomination. Today, as Americans watch The Passion of the Christ, laugh at displays of Jesus on South Park, read with wonder Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, sing with The Killers that "he doesn't look a thing like Jesus, but he talks like a gentleman," or pray softly in churches with Jesus imagery above them, they cannot avoid the links between race and religion in the form of Jesus. Put simply, to understand the history of race and religion throughout American history and in today's politics and culture, there is no better way than through...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue