New York Daily News columnist Shaun King, a race activist who has been criticized for his equivocations over this ethnic identity, published an op-ed in which he said the celebration of Christmas has little to do with the nativity of Jesus Christ but much more to do with consumerism and “white supremacy.”
 
King said that Christmas and Easter are the times when Americans are “most likely to see depictions of Jesus used as tools of white supremacy.” Depictions of Jesus as blonde and blue-eyed, said King, are “preposterous” and no different than depicting Christopher Columbus as a “dark-skinned African or Thomas Jefferson as a long-haired Latino.” He added, “Choosing to depict Jesus and his mother in a way other than reality is strange at best and nefarious at worst.”
 
Recalling that he once lectured his children that blond surfers on the California coast do not resemble Jesus, he wrote “I would have to stop and correct them and say, ‘No, he looks how white people want Jesus to look, but Jesus did not look like a California surfer dude.’ It’s not simply an honest mistake though.”
 
“When the man who is deemed the central figure of a religion and indeed the savior of the entire world is consistently portrayed to look like a Scandinavian sailor when he more likely resembled a Syrian refugee, it’s being done to advance an Anglo-Saxon, white supremacist agenda,” wrote King. Moreover, the activist said “…it’s hard to put a man of color, any color, at the center of your faith while simultaneously advancing racism every chance you get.”
 
 
The only reputed image of Jesus Christ is the so-called Shroud of Turin, which is belived to be the cloth that wrapped the body of the central figure of history before his Resurrection. The shroud bears a mysterious negative image of the body of a tortured man whose wounds closely resemble those recorded in the New Testament. Later depictions of the Messiah sought to mimic the image of the shroud, or the related Holy Napkin. Icons in the Byzantine tradition, which were also common in the west until the Renaissance, tend to focus on the spiritual reality of the person and events depicted. Artists of the European Renaissance, influenced by Greco-Roman models, sought to emphasize the humanity of Jesus and the saints with realistic depictions that tended to resemble the people of Europe of the time.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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