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WEB POSTED12-05-2000
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Fear of a Black Jesus
by Rev. Paul Scott
-Guest Columnist-

It is recorded in the scriptures that "ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Therefore, one can surmise that if one does not know the truth: one can never be free and in order to keep one enslaved, one must merely withhold the truth.

The issue of the color of Jesus (whom we refer to in the Hebrew name of Yeshua) has always been a controversial topic in this country, evoking strong passions both pro and con. With the demographic makeup of America becoming more culturally diverse, many people are questioning the Euro-centric religious icons that America has cherished since she was founded.

The Euro-centric icons are especially problematic for the millions of descendents of slaves, whose owners saw no contradiction between being "good" Christians on Sunday morning and gathering for a hanging on Sunday afternoon. The legacy of this contradiction is so strong that even today many in the white community refuse to even contemplate the idea that the Jesus whom they serve was the same color of the people that their forefathers put in chains.

This has produced what is referred to as the "Fear of a Black Jesus" syndrome. The evidence of Jesus (Yeshua) being Black is overwhelming. Many in the Black community believe that the Messiah was an African because of the area of the world in which he lived. The so-called Middle East is actually part of Africa divided from the rest of the continent by the man made Suez Canal. We believe that the Jews living in this area two thousand years ago were people of color as it would have been virtually impossible for anyone to live in Northern Africa and have a pale complexion.

Scripturally speaking, the Messiah is referred to in the books of Daniel and Revelation as having "feet like brass and hair like wool." This description is believed by many Christians to be the description of Jesus.

The image of Jesus (Yeshua) that is in many homes and churches is not historically correct but came out of the minds of European artists such as Michelangelo, who was commissioned in 1505 by Pope Julius II to paint certain biblical pictures. We believe that these pictures were used to justify the African Holocaust (the trans-Atlantic slave trade) and to create an inferiority complex in African people that would be passed down from generation to generation.

The effect of this image being so devastating that even after the physical chains of slavery were removed, the mental chains would still be in place, causing some Black Americans, even in the 21st century to reverence the white man as God. We have been taught since birth that nothing good could come out of Africa and that African people have not contributed anything to humanity, worthwhile. Therefore, it is impossible for some to conceptualize the Messiah being African.

Afrikan people (the term Afrikan meaning African people of the continent as well as the Diaspora) cannot truly be free until we reject this plantation mentality/theology and embrace an Afrikan Liberation Theology.

For how can the theology that was used to enslave and persecute you on Friday, be the same one to free and resurrect you on Sunday? Was it not the Euro-centric version of Christianity that endorsed the murder and enslavement of over 100 million African people? Was it not the Euro-centric version of Christianity that put its stamp of approval on the hanging of Black men from trees? How can this possibly be that same form of Christianity that will make African Americans free ?

Many have asked why we are preaching this Afrikan Liberation Theology and why now? I ask if not now when and if not me who? Someone has to pick up the torch that has been handed down by Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, Rev. Gabriel Prosser, Denmark Vessy and Marcus Garvey. Somebody has to stand up and say that the death and destruction in the Black community is a direct result of the damage of 400 years of slavery and persecution that has been inflicted upon African people under the guise of Euro-centric Christianity.

Although, some refuse to admit this truth and others seek to hide it, as the old saying goes, "Truth crushed to the ground will rise again!"

(Rev. Paul Scott heads the New Righteous Movement, P.O. Box 3474, Durham, N.C., 27702. He gained national attention last May when he lead a protest against the CBS Jesus miniseries for their use of a white man to portray the Messiah. Rev. Scott has been quoted as saying "the image of a white man portraying the Messiah is more dangerous to Black children than gangsta rap.")

 


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