Archbishop of England calls on Western media to ‘reimagined’ the portrayal of Jesus Christ as white man
The head of churches in England has urged the west to “reimagine” the way Jesus is portrayed.
With the growing support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which has sparked global protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, a number of petitions have emerged demanding controversial monuments in the UK are taken down.
He said: “Yes, of course it does, this sense that God was white…you go into churches (around the world) and you don’t see a white Jesus.
“You see a black Jesus, a Chinese Jesus, a middle eastern Jesus – which is of course the most accurate – you see a Fijian Jesus.
He added: “Jesus is portrayed in as many ways as there are cultures languages and understandings.
“And I don’t think that throwing out everything we’ve got in the past is the way does it, but I do think saying ‘that’s not the Jesus who exists, that’s not who we worship’ – it is a reminder of the universality of the God who became fully human.”
The Most Rev Justin Welby suggested some statues “will have to come down” and “some names will have to change”, but he insisted it was not his decision and that monuments would be put “in context”.
But Mr Welby stressed a need to learn from the past so that it is not repeated in the future.
He was asked if people should forgive the “trespasses” of people immortalised in the form of statues, rather than tearing them down.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We can only do that if we’ve got justice, which means the statue needs to be put in context.
“Some will have to come down. Some names will have to change.”
He continued: “I mean, the church, goodness me, you know, you just go around Canterbury Cathedral, there’s monuments everywhere, or Westminster Abbey, and we’re looking at all that, and some will have to come down.
“But yes, there can be forgiveness, I hope and pray as we come together, but only if there’s justice.
“If we change the way we behave now, and say this was then and we learned from that, and change how we’re going to be in the future, internationally, as well.”