The Catholic League said the “Black Jesus” character on the Adult Swim network may drink, smoke and try to pick up women — but that he has some redeeming qualities, nonetheless, and the show could actually draw viewers to the spiritual light.
“We have 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,” said the group’s president, Bill Donohue, in a statement reported by Newsmax. “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 show, which premiered just a few days ago, is part of the Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital Network. And the leading role of Jesus may shock some — but as Mr. Donohue said, the Catholic League is not condemning the characterization.
“The Jesus character parks illegally, curses, smokes pot, drinks and hits on women,” he said in his statement. “At one point, he is depicted as the getaway driver for a drug deal gone wrong. He is eventually robbed and gets busted. But he is also forgiving, kind, respectful and condemns violence. No one questions his divinity and even an atheist detective who interviews him after his arrest appears to sense that there is more to this man than what first appears.”
Mr. Donohue said the portrayal could actually lead some watchers to consider a more biblical walk.
“If the goal is to lure young people to take a closer look at Jesus, the Son of God, that is noble,” he said, Newsmax reported. “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.”
• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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