Mitt’s Jesus, Barack’s Jesus, and Why Christ’s Color Matters

Mitt’s Jesus, Barack’s Jesus, and Why Christ’s Color Matters

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Four years ago, America was on the verge of electing the country’s first African American president—a stunning marker, for many, of the promises of progress fulfilled. This year, Barack Obama faces a Mormon challenger, and religion, not race, fuels at least some of the suspense of this close presidential contest. But religion and race in the U.S. share a profound and tangled history—one that Ed Blum and Paul Harvey bring forth vividly in their new book, The Color of Christ.

What did a white Jesus mean to a population of enslaved Africans, or to Native Americans? Why were Mormons in particular so committed to a lily-white God? What can we read into the shattered image of the stained-glass savior in a Birmingham church? The book—an illuminating and powerful read—dives deeply into these and other questions. Anthea Butler, Professor of religion at the University of Pennsylvania, hosts a conversation with the book’s authors, along with Religion Dispatches‘ own Joanna Brooks and Memphis Theological Seminary’s Andre E. Johnson.

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