Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mitt's Jesus, Barack's Jesus, and Why Christ's Color Matters

The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America by Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey University of North Carolina Press , 2012

Four years ago, America was on the verge of electing the country's first African American president—a stunning marker, for many, of the promises of progress fulfilled. This year, Barack Obama faces a Mormon challenger, and religion, not race, fuels at least some of the suspense of this close presidential contest. But religion and race in the US share a profound and tangled history—one that Ed Blum and Paul Harvey bring forth vividly in their new book, The Color of Christ.

What did a white Jesus mean to a population of enslaved Africans, or to Native Americans? Why were Mormons in particular so committed to a lily-white god? What can we read into the shattered image of the stained-glass savior in a Birmingham church? The book—an illuminating and powerful read—dives deeply into these and other questions. Anthea Butler, Professor of religion at the University of Pennsylvania, hosts this conversation with the book's authors, along with RD's own Joanna Brooks and Memphis Theological Seminary's Andre E. Johnson.
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