The Archbishop of Canterbury wants us to rethink the Western notion that Jesus was white and is wondering whether to remove monuments and memorials in Church of England buildings lest they offend someone.
If this isn’t a sign that we are approaching End Times, I don’t know what is.
The Archbishop — Eton-educated ex-oilman Justin Welby — was offering his half-baked religious insights to the BBC’s Today programme.
As you would expect of a Church of England priest it was a masterly exercise in flannel, equivocation and fence-sitting.
On the one hand he insisted he was not an iconoclast: “So I’m not really concerned with bringing down and breaking the statues. I know this is controversial but, you know, we need to have the memory and some of those symbols remind us, and they make the memory still valid.”
On the other, he said that he would be looking at the monuments in Canterbury Cathedral “very carefully” to see if they all “should be there”. Which doesn’t sound to me like a man committed to keeping the fabric of his churches intact but rather like someone who is more than happy to surrender the pass to appease the forces of woke.
Similarly on the subject of Jesus, he was responding to a heavily loaded question — so typical of the BBC — which more or less forced him to mouth the correct PC pieties.
Asked if the “way the Western church portrays Jesus needs to be thought about again”, he said:
“Yes of course it does, this sense that God was white… You go into churches (around the world) and you don’t see a white Jesus.
“You see a black Jesus, a Chinese Jesus, a Middle Eastern Jesus – -which is of course the most accurate — you see a Fijian Jesus.”
Welby then did a bit of nimble backtracking by saying:
“Jesus is portrayed in as many ways as there are cultures languages and understandings.
“And I don’t think that throwing out everything we’ve got in the past is the way to do it but I do think saying ‘that’s not the Jesus who exists, that’s not who we worship’, it is a reminder of the universality of the God who became fully human.”
Indeed. But why dig himself into that hole in the first place with that initial, overeager “Yes of course it does”?
Why does the Western church need to think about the way it portrays Jesus?
Probably the most vigorous and packed churches in Britain and beyond are those with mostly black, evangelical congregations. Were any of them put off by the fact that — for glaring historical reasons so obvious that even a five-year-old would understand them — the Jesus portrayed in almost all Western church iconography is Caucasian?
Of course not.
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 white supremacy.
Created as tools of oppression.
They should all come down.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) June 22, 2020
Nobody knows what Jesus looked like. In early Church iconography, he was betrayed as beardless with a Roman haircut because that is how his fanbase looked back then. Later, he developed his beard and long hair.
What colour was his skin? No-one can be sure of that, either. According to some theories, Hebrews and other peoples in the land of Israel sometimes had blue eyes and fair or red hair and fair skin. Others claim Jesus was much darker.
But, of course, this has no relevance whatsoever to the question Welby was really being asked by the BBC which was: “Do you support Black Lives Matter?”
A more agile, intelligent Archbishop of Canterbury would have carefully avoided the trap the BBC set for him. Welby, however, jumped straight into it — probably because he didn’t really think of it as a trap at all.
Of course Welby tacitly supports Black Lives Matter. Pretty much the entire Church of England does. Which of course is part of the reason we’re in the mess we’re in.
'I Have White Advantage, Male Advantage, Straight Advantage' – Woke Archbishop Brands Own Church 'Institutionally Racist' https://t.co/0PXUlVhZUI
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 16, 2020