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Archbishop of Canterbury says portrayal of Jesus as White should be reconsidered

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England, said the church should reconsider its portrayal of Jesus as a White man.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, center, and Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, walk inside the St. Sebastian's church, one of the sites of the Easter Sunday attacks, in Katuwapitiya village, Negombo , Sri Lanka, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. The figurehead of the Church of England emphasized the need for Christian unity on Thursday as he paid tribute to the victims of the Easter Sunday bomb attacks at the Roman Catholic church. A total of 263 people were killed when seven suicide bombers from a local Muslim group attacked three churches and three luxury hotels on April 21. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, center, and Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, walk inside the St. Sebastian's church, one of the sites of the Easter Sunday attacks, in Katuwapitiya village, Negombo , Sri Lanka, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. The figurehead of the Church of England emphasized the need for Christian unity on Thursday as he paid tribute to the victims of the Easter Sunday bomb attacks at the Roman Catholic church. A total of 263 people were killed when seven suicide bombers from a local Muslim group attacked three churches and three luxury hotels on April 21. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)(Eranga Jayawardena | AP)
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 9:16 AM EDT
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(CNN) - Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England, said the church should reconsider its portrayal of Jesus as a White man.

In an interview with BBC News, Welby was asked if he believed the way the church portrayed Jesus needed to be thought about again. He said, “Yes, of course it does,” adding that Jesus was portrayed differently in countries around the world.

“You go into their churches and you don’t see a White Jesus -- you see a Black Jesus, or Chinese Jesus, or a Middle Eastern Jesus -- which is, of course, the most accurate. You see a Fijian Jesus -- you see Jesus portrayed in as many ways as there are cultures, languages and understandings.”

Welby added that the representations of Jesus were not “who we worship” but rather served as a “reminder of the universality of the God who became fully human.”

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