I grew up in a conservative, traditionally southern church. Unfortunately, racism was common. As a result, we had very few black people ever attend our services. The common picture of Jesus in the West shows a blond man with fair skin. Was this Jesus’s real appearance? Does it matter?
Revelation 1:14-1:15 states that Jesus had feet that looked like they were brass that had been burnt in a furnace. A article from History. com states that evidence shows Jesus was likely about five feet and five inches tall, and that he had brown skin. A different article from History.com states a very rare painting was found in 2018 which shows a young Jesus with curly hair.
So why does this matter? Well for one thing Christianity was used to justify slavery in the early U.S. In the 1800s pro-slavery people used to advocate for slavery by saying it was God’s law to follow the slavery laws in the South. Christian nationalism is a real thing. Jeff Sessions used Romans 13 to justify the policy of separating children at the border. This is promoting the idea of these immigrants as criminals.
Also, Genesis 18:27 , also known as the “Curse of Ham” was a story from the Bible. Slaveholders argued that Ham was given a darker skin tone as a result of the curse , and that his descendants were Africans. Another verse used to defend slavery was Ephesians,5-7. This stayed the servants should obey their masters. Fredrick Douglas himself stated this about American Christianity: ; I therefore hate the corrupt, slave-holding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason but the most deceitful one for calling the religion of this land Christianity…”
Middle Eastern refugees are often discriminated against in this country. If they are Muslim, which many of them are, they are suspected of being potential terrorists. Jesus himself was from this area and was a refugee. In Bible, his family gets a message from a angel and they must leave from Bethlehem to go to Egypt because King Harod was going to kill every boy under the age of two.
Jesus and his family were people of color as well as refugees. So why is the Bible still even to this day being used to justify discrimination against non-white people?