Race, Jesus, Santa, Mary

This week on Fox News Megan Kelly insisted that both Santa and Jesus are (or were) white. I thought it was interesting that this latest race kerfuffle coincided with the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12 in the US). This from Catholic.org:

When we reflect on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe we learn two important lessons, one of faith and one of understanding. Missionaries who first came to Mexico with the conquistadors had little success in the beginning. After nearly a generation, only a few hundred Native Mexicans had converted to the Christian faith. Whether they simply did not understand what the missionaries had to offer or whether they resented these people who made them slaves, Christianity was not popular among the native people.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe: not white

Then in 1531 miracles began to happen. Jesus’ own mother appeared to humble Juan Diego. The signs — of the roses, of the uncle miraculously cured of a deadly illness, and especially of her beautiful image on Juan’s mantle — convinced the people there was something to be considered in Christianity. Within a short time, six million Native Mexicans had themselves baptized as Christians.

The first lesson is that God has chosen Mary to lead us to Jesus. No matter what critics may say of the devotion of Mexicans (and Mexican descendants) to Our Lady of Guadalupe, they owe their Christianity to her influence. If it were not for her, they would not know her son, and so they are eternally grateful. The second lesson we take from Mary herself. Mary appeared to Juan Diego not as a European madonna but as a beautiful Aztec princess speaking to him in his own Aztec language. If we want to help someone appreciate the gospel we bring, we must appreciate the culture and the mentality in which they live their lives. By understanding them, we can help them to understand and know Christ. Our Lady of Guadalupe is patron of the Americas.”

I only bring this up here because we cannot deny a connection between militarism and ideas of white superiority, or American superiority, or the idea that the lives of certain people are more valuable than the lives of others. I am not calling Megan Kelly a racist! If I had to speak on live television and be constantly recorded, I’m sure I’d get caught saying some things I didn’t mean or didn’t mean in a certain way, too. I am simply pointing out that her comments betray certain assumptions or ingrained ways of thinking, often unexamined, which Mary, when she appeared to Juan Diego, definitely undermined!

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