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White Jesus a stumbling block?


REV. BUDDY LARRIER

White Jesus a stumbling block?

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TO APPRECIATE THE PRESENT and prepare for the future we must look back.

Barbadians are among the most accommodating of peoples. Those who have taught black African Barbadians our history informed us that the foundation pillar of Christianity is based on the love of God as told through the life experience and moral principles declared in “the gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, His only begotten son”.

The Universal Day of Hope Trust is concerned that in Barbados, across the Caribbean, on the continent of Africa and in its diaspora, in most places where black people of African descent live, it would appear that moral standards are declining, with an increase in dysfunctional families. Why is this?

Perhaps the answer will be self-evident during this Easter weekend.

The trust would therefore like to pose a question to Barbadians. We noted last Good Friday that the St Dominic Roman Catholic Church staged a re-enactment of the 14 Stations of the Cross, with a Caucasian man acting as Jesus Christ of Nazareth being crucified along Highway 7 at Oistins in Christ Church.

That event raised a number of questions. Our main question therefore is, should such a re-enactment be repeated this Good Friday and every Good Friday during the International Decade for People of African Descent with its theme: Recognition, Justice and Development?

This question should not be taken as trivial or insignificant. It is one that goes to the heart of the history that has be taught to African people over the past 500-plus years and that is still being taught to our children today.

There is no secret, our history from the 1600s informs us that for about 200 years Christianity, with a Caucasian being depicted as Jesus Christ of Nazareth, was prohibited for worship by African enslaved persons. It was said that Africans did not have souls to be saved. Africans were also forbidden from practising their own religion.

After slavery ended in the British colonies in 1838, colonisation began across Africa and its diaspora with Christianity being forced upon people of African descent by all the European colonising nations.

In light of the fact that this year starts the International Decade for People of African Descent with the hope for truth, healing and reconciliation, our question is therefore most significant. Should there be a re-enactment of the 14 Stations of the Cross as was done in 2014, with a Caucasian man acting as Jesus Christ being crucified for the sins of black African people on the streets of Barbados? If not, why not?

– REV. BUDDY LARRIER

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