It hasn’t even been a week yet since it was announced officially and already Aaron McGruder’s upcoming Adult Swim series, Black Jesus, has already caused a bit of a stir, according to reports.
Minister Paul Scott of the Messianic Afrikan Nation doesn’t take too kindly to Mr. McGruder’s tale of a brown Jesus dishing out Christian wisdom and satire. Per EURweb, Minister Scott calls the new show “the Satanic Verses of the Black Theology movement.” This is of course a reference to Salman Rushdie’s controversial book and the way many Muslim’s around the world saw it as a great sacrilege to the religion. This included a fatwa by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini himself. While not calling for the heads of McGruder or Adult Swim’s suits, the minister/activist has called for a boycott of the network. No new episodes of Attack on Titan or Loiter Squad for his congregation anymore.
The minister’s feelings of enmity toward the series are rooted in his belief “that Black Jesus does a disservice to the Black leaders and theologies who have dedicated their lives to advancing a Black Liberation Theology.” It is of a small note that this comes only after the trailer has premiered and not the actual series, which means the church’s calling for a boycott for a sight unseen. Unless, of course, he got some VIP treatment that nobody knows about.
While this protest has yet to hit the mainstream, others have wondered whether McGruder’s new show will not be as political as his previous work. Talk of replicating stereotypes and tired tropes have already sprung up on message boards around the web, even if the only evidence of anything is the trailer and not an actual episodes.
Still, it should be expected that a television series centered on Jesus Christ would still be a controversial move in 2014. Whether it’s because of the actor’s skin color who portrays the world’s most famous Jew, the particular interpretation of his life and teachings being displayed or the simple fact that he’s being satirized at all, you can guarantee that a few feathers are going to be ruffled.
Only time will tell whether or not the criticism and planned social actions are warranted. Then again, perhaps if McGruder does it correctly, it won’t matter.