“The timing is not good. We are black. We are Muslim. We are Somali. We are all the negative stigmas.” – Omar Hassan, speaking in reference to the country’s increasingly intensified anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim fears
I thought about this quote again last night. I just couldn’t get it out of my head. When I was a young child, my family was a member of a very conservative Southern Baptist Church in Charlotte. An interesting story that I will write about soon. As you can imagine it was a lily white congregation who worshiped a Jesus certainly more white than brown.
This was the portrait of Jesus you found at this church. In every hallway, Sunday school class and hanging above the baptism pool in the sanctuary. This was our Jesus; serious, attentive, reflective, smooth, and tanned. Not brown, not black, but a nice Myrtle Beach butter gloss with long, brown, wavy locks of hair. This Jesus was cool, California cool.
Now in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when my family was a member of this church long hair and beards were reserved for hippies, beatniks and bums. This guy strolling down Tryon St., in sandals no less, in conservative and southern 1970 Charlotte, NC would have turned more than a few heads. Why? Because this was the face of America then:
See the difference? So I asked myself, how could Christian American’s of the 1960’s and 1970’s, an America of crew cuts, and bouffant hairdos tolerate a hippie Jesus while they couldn’t even tolerate their own hippie sons and daughters? I didn’t come up with an answer.
In 2001 the BBC, for their history series the Son of God, had a model created by a forensic anthropologists which showed what a Galilean Semite might have looked liked around the time of Jesus Christ. Basically, what Jesus probably looked like;
Kind of a big difference wouldn’t you agree? So what does America look like today?
But is this where we are headed?;
So back to the quote; “The timing is not good. We are black. We are Muslim. We are Somali. We are all the negative stigmas.” Think about this for a minute. If Jesus came back today, just suddenly appeared standing on the corner in Times Square as not the Warren Sallman Jesus but as the BBC’s Jesus what do you think the reaction would be? Could He make it through security at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport? Would He be invited to speak at the Southern Baptist Convention if He walked in off the street proclaiming to be the Son of God? Or would we hear Him say; “The timing is not good. I am brown. I am a Jew. I am a Galilean Semite. I am all the negative stigmas.”