of a Black Jesus
by Rev. Paul Scott
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.")