A few weeks ago, the premiere episode of “Black Jesus,” aired on the Cartoon Network.
The Catholic League has long taken the position that portraying Jesus as black is fine with the Catholic League, and indeed we find it silly that anyone would object. The Jesus character in this show is a mixed bag: He is irreverent, and can be downright crude, but he also has many redeeming qualities.
The Jesus character parked illegally, cursed, smoked pot, drank, and hit on women. At one point, he was depicted as the get-away driver for a drug deal gone wrong; he was eventually robbed and got busted. But he was also forgiving, kind, respectful, and condemned violence. No one questioned his divinity, and even an atheist detective who interviewed him after his arrest appeared to sense that there was more to this man than what first appeared.
If the goal was to lure young people to take a closer look at Jesus, the Son of God, that is noble (the show airs at 11:00 p.m.). But if so, it is not a good sociological sign: Must we debase Jesus to make him real? It will be interesting to see how the show develops, and how the audience reacts to the Jesus message, however twisted his delivery.
We were struck by the reaction to our news release. For the most part, we received kudos for not being over-the-top in stating our concerns. But there were some who took what we said out of context, and in doing so they revealed their agenda.
We try to be fair. “Black Jesus” is not our cup of tea, and we know that the producers of this show would never air a “Black Muhammad.” But those who were promoting this show could have chosen to portray a totally vile character that was patently obscene. If nothing else, the fact that they seem to recognize his divine status should count for something. We hope they do not get raunchy, because if they do, they will hear from us.