Friday, January 1, 2016

Cupich Sends Out Black Jesus Christmas Card

No. Not that Black Jesus

By the way, Jesus wasn't black.

He wasn't Norwegian or Chinese either.

Now, there's nothing wrong (obviously) with being black, Norwegian or Chinese. It's just that Jesus wasn't any of those.

So why portray Jesus as black?

There are many reasons:

One of them is racism, pure and simple. Your view of black people is so cynical and condescending that you believe they will only embrace Christianity if they think Jesus was racially "one of them". Let's give the childish little darkies what they need.

A second is racialist--you think being black is a metaphor for various things--victimization, heroism--so Jesus is best portrayed as being black even if He wasn't. (He really was in the deeper sense.)

A third is simply in-your-face Nazified political correctness. We're the good Catholics (liberals). You're the bad Catholics (everyone else). So we're going to rub your face in it with a black Jesus. If you have a problem with that, you're racist.

The 2015 Archdiocese of Chicago Christmas card is from a mural at the Holy Angels Church on the South Side of Chicago. Holy Angels has long been a center of black political activism, perhaps becoming most prominent under the leadership of Rev. George Clements. In the early 1990's Clements commissioned Fr. Englebert Mveng, a well-known Jesuit priest from Cameroon, to paint the mural, which contains various scenes from the Old and New Testaments featuring African-looking characters.

Here is how Holy Angels explains one of the panels:
3. Acts of the Apostles: (Ch.6 ) (Liberators) Peter was banished to prison by King Herod and the Lord sent an angel in the middle of the night to who told him to get up and as he did his shackles broke and he walked past the sleeping guards. The artist thought that in light of Nelson Mandela's recent release from Prison, he would make the face on Peter closely resemble Mandela's (which it does).
Mveng was one of the most prominent exponents of the African branch of Liberation Theology. He was murdered (some say by the government or with its knowledge or collaboration) in 1995.

To get a sense of where Rev. Clements was coming from, here's an interesting bit of history as described in an approving 2014 article from Milwaukee Catholic Herald (Clements is no longer head pastor at Holy Angels but he is still alive):
Then (Rev. Clements) said he did something that upset many people. He took down a statue of St. Anthony and replaced it with one of (Martin Luther) King. Soon after, he received a call from the then-archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal John Cody. 
“He said, ‘Are you out of your mind? You better take that statue down right now. You’re not going to make some Protestant minister a saint,’” Fr. Clements said. 
He added that he argued with Cardinal Cody that King embodied many traits of other Catholic saints. 
“I said, ‘I’m not about to take it down. But I want you to know, if you want it down, you send somebody down here to take it down. And when they come out here, I can’t vouch for their safety when they get into the ‘hood,’” Fr. Clements said.
Ah, Catholic non-violent witness. Is Bishop Barron aware of this?

From the Holy Angels website: Rev. Clements in front of fist

As should be plain from some of my own text above, I think grafting black political activism onto Catholic worship is toxic. It's religiously misleading and distracting--Jesus didn't die to save black people from oppression, he died to save black people (and white people) from sin. And it's of course another example of the racist condescension with which many whites (and some blacks) view blacks in America. Everything must be about race. Everything must be about victimization. Everything must be about the struggle.

And you can't get out of it for even one hour a week. Even at Mass.

Sorry blacks.

And sorry all Catholics. For Archbishop Cupich, in so far as he is sincere about anything, Catholicism is merely a political program, given a teeny bit more legitimacy (so he thinks) by the fact that you can thump your bible or flash your pallium at the same time. 

It's not that it's merely false (though of course that's the most important thing), it's that it's so petty and small. It's boring.

And thus it's unattractive. No one is going to become a faithful Catholic because of that version of Catholicism. It doesn't give you anything more than, well, just doing the politics. And you have to give up your Sunday mornings.

Then again, if there's good gospel music . . .


  1. You are right What a condescending fool Cupich is. He is a racist of the finest water

  2. And the Blessed Virgin Mary was not Aztec or Mexican either.

  3. What no Brown Jesus Christmas Cards? Blasphemy!

  4. Very well written explanation of the situation.

  5. There's something nauseating about the squirmy swaddling clothes. I don't object in principle to Jesus being depicted as any race, but this art does not appeal to me in the least.

  6. Oates BINGO statement: Perfect!

    "For Archbishop Cupich, in so far as he is sincere about anything, Catholicism is merely a political program, given a teeny bit more legitimacy (so he thinks) by the fact that you can thump your bible or flash your pallium at the same time."