‘Black Jesus’ movie sparks controversy

By Staff Writer
February 2, 2006

“Was Jesus a Caucasian or an African?” This is a question that is most likely to cause some controversy.

“Son of Man,” a South African film, premiered Jan. 22 at the Sundance Festival in Utah.

“Son of Man” portrays Christ as a modern African revolutionary and intends to shatter the western image of a placid savior with fair hair and blue eyes.

The movie transports the life and death of Christ from first century Palestine to a contemporary African state racked by war and poverty.

“Jesus is born in a shantytown shed, a far cry from a manger in a Bethlehem stable. His mother Mary is a virgin, though feisty enough to argue with the angels. Gun-wielding authorities fear his message of equality and he ends up hanging on a cross,” according to the website http://snipurl.com/lysp.

Fr. Michael Bielecki, the resident chaplain, said, “The portrayal of being born in a shanty-town fits well, I believe, because Jesus was born in conditions of poverty and not in a five-star hotel.”

Bielecki added that whoever produced the movie is trying to bring the Christ story to contemporary life.

Bielecki continued by saying that the impact on Christians about how Jesus looked will require an open mind and perhaps even a real conversion on the part of many.

“We often seek to tame Jesus down and make him into our own image and likeness so we will not have to make the unnecessary radical changes in our lives. If we took Jesus as he really was, this would make us very uncomfortable,” Bielecki said.

Bielecki concluded by saying that he hopes and prays that this would not damage relations between the west and Africa, but open people up to seeing Christ in every single person created by God.

Angie Peso, a history, philosophy and political science major, does not think that people will see “Son of Man” in a negative way.

According to Peso, some people may be offended. Peso added that people need to be exposed to different points of view, “Otherwise they will be living in a dream world,” Peso said.

Posted to the web by Brian Coary

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