A couple of years ago, Don Lemon, a former CNN news anchor, appeared on The View, a daytime talk show. The interview welcomed Lemon into an arena of adoring fans where they discussed his book on race relations and his thoughts about the Catholic Church not blessing same sex marriage since he is a practicing homosexual married to another man. Lemon’s foray into theology revealed both his arrogance and ignorance to a degree seldom seen before. Lemon crossed the line of opinion in an attempt to speak factually about God in respect to race relations and homosexuality, and his “facts” were wrong.
In response to a question about the Catholic Church, Lemon responded, “I think that the Catholic Church and many other churches really need to reexamine themselves and their teachings because that is not what God is about. God is not about hindering people, or even judging people.” Actually, the teaching about homosexuality does not come from the Catholic Church, or any other church. It comes from God. Homosexuality corrupts God’s design for humanity (Gen. 1:26- 28; 2:22-25; Mat. 19:4-6). It is proscribed by the Law of Moses (Lev. 18:22; 20:13). It is also condemned under the new law (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
As a practicing homosexual, Lemon runs afoul of God’s desires, but instead of conforming his life to God’s will, he lies about God’s will. God seeks to hinder people from sin through his commandments. God said, “You shall not steal” (Exo. 20:15) specifically to hinder people from stealing. Paul said, “God judges those outside” (5:13). Contrary to Lemon’s theology, God hinders people from sin and judges them when they choose to sin.
Later in the interview, Lemon was asked what people can do to fight racism. Lemon responded, “I think we should start with a true depiction of what Jesus looked like and put that in your home, either a black Jesus or a brown Jesus because we know Jesus looked more like someone who was a Muslim or someone who was dark rather than someone who was blond.” For most people, the shocking part of this statement is the ignorance of Lemon, not the idea of a black Jesus.
Black Jesus has become a touchstone for many people. Sitcom characters invoke the help of “Black Jesus.” Social media forwards descriptions of the ascended Christ, trying to prove he was black—hair as wool and feet as burnished bronze (Rev. 1:14-15). And now, Lemon knows Jesus was black or brown—he is not sure which—he is just sure he wasn’t white.
Jesus’s skin tone doesn’t matter. It has never mattered. Was he black? Maybe. Was he brown? Maybe. Was he white? Maybe. He is everyone. Does his skin tone change the story or make his teachings more valuable? No. Is his sacrifice worthier if his skin is a different color? No. Long before he was born, Jesus was devoid of “form” and “beauty” so people wouldn’t be attracted to his person (Isa. 53:2). Following Jesus because he is black, brown, or white isn’t following Jesus. It’s prejudice, “Show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jas. 2:1; cf. Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11).
God left the physical descriptions of Jesus out of the Bible so people would follow his teaching, not his appearance. However, despite no description of Jesus, Don Lemon knows he was black or brown. Even if Lemon is right, and he may be, he is wrong. Wrong to make Jesus’s skin color relevant. God didn’t think it was relevant enough to mention it, but Lemon thinks it will magically heal racial strife. In reality, it invents a wedge which the priests of the Race Cult use to divide and weaken a nation.
Let each person imagine Jesus as they will, then follow him because of his salvific work. Let them love, respect, and treat all others with dignity and compassion, regardless of their skin color or his. All people are made in the image of God, and that’s the only image that matters.