Saturday, June 27, 2020

How Jesus Became White — And Why It’s Time to Cancel That

By By Emily McFarlan
Painting by Warner Sallman, “Head of Christ,” © 1941 Warner Press Inc., Anderson, Indiana. Used with permission via RNS (Warner Press Inc.)
CHICAGO — The first time the Rev. Lettie Moses Carr saw Jesus depicted as black, she was in her 20s. It felt “weird,” Carr said. Until that moment, she had always thought Jesus was white. A copy of Warner E. Sallman’s “Head of Christ” painting hung in her home, depicting a gentle Jesus with blue eyes turned heavenward and dark blond hair cascading over his shoulders in waves. The backlash to Sallman’s work began during the civil rights movement, when his depiction of a Scandinavian savior was criticized for enshrining the image of a white Jesus for generations of Americans. This week, the activist Shaun King called for statues depicting Jesus as European to come down alongside Confederate monuments, calling the depiction a “form of white supremacy.”[More]