When searching his cell while believed to be suicidal, police found a journal written by convicted mass-murderer Dylann Roof. In the journal, he repeats his typical racist and neo-nazi sentiments, while also expressing no remorse for the “innocent people [he] killed.”
However, one passage in which he talks about his faith has some asking if the idea of “white Jesus” isn’t perhaps a dangerous one, as it allows bigots with murder in their hearts to justify their violence by carrying it out in Christ’s name.
As activist Shaun King writes for The New York Daily News:
[H]ere’s the thing — white supremacists like Roof need Jesus to be white. They have always needed him to look like them. Throughout his journal, Roof waxed poetic about his love of Christianity and how he hoped people could see it as a faith of white warriors.
All of that comes apart at the seams if Jesus is a brown man with dark features who resembles the ancient Egyptians.
All of this is widely known, but widely ignored, not just by Roof and other white supremacists, but by white people worldwide for good reason. It’s hard to be a racist when the central figure of your faith is a brown man.
Roof is even more illogical. He’s anti-Semitic. He rails against Jews throughout his journal, but Jesus was Jewish through and through. So were Moses and David and Noah and every prophet in the Bible that Roof has somehow found a way to claim he cares about.
It’s a fair point to raise, especially since the nine people Roof murdered were at a Christian bible study at the Emanuel AME Church at the time of his senseless attack. This means that he sat through that Bible study and–believing that Christianity is a religion for whites only–was able to gun down nine people in cold blood.
Of course, King’s argument that depicting Christ in a way that reflects the person worshiping him is “dangerous” is about as incredible as those blaming violence on video games or mass shootings on Marilyn Manson. His point that the “historical face of Jesus” wasn’t white is a fair and accurate one. The cultural prevalence of the “white Jesus” surely makes it all the easier for white supremacists to justify their hatred with religious fairy tales.
Of course, the “face” of Jesus doesn’t really matter much in this case, either way. If one actually reads the gospels–supposedly the literal word of God–it’s clear that respecting the sanctity of human life (as well as not judging others) is basically what Jesus Christ was all about during his “time on Earth.”
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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