CLEVELAND (TDB) -- It's that politically correct season again. The time of year when the fraudulent ''War on Christmas" ginned up by Fox News and talkradio schmoes gets almost as much attention as the ''War in Iraq," which involves real combat. It's also final exam time on college campuses, and a question about the racial heritage of Jesus Christ surfaced on a test given this week at a university affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church in the Midwest. (I'm keeping the location to myself because I don't want the political correctness police staging a raid. Besides, why not keep 'em guessing.)
''Do you think that Christ could be/could have been black?" the professor asked her first-year theology students. She wanted an essay in response. It is question No. 8 on the test, and follows others about feminism, No. 2; , sexism, No. 3; and racism, No. 7, which apparently have emerged as prime theological issues in recent years. Sharp observers will notice that the questions about racism and Jesus' race are next to each other on the final exam.
The issue of Christ's skin color is a new one to me. I always thought the big debate was about His actual birthday -- how Dec. 25 was supposedly selected to celebrate Christmas because it coincided with an old Roman holiday. I imagine that Jesus did not have blond hair and blue eyes. This is how I would answer the question:
''Christ could be black if He is the divine Christ because as the deity He is everything. However, as the Hebrew man who was descended from David, he would probably look like a typical person of that time and place, perhaps with dark hair, dark eyes and a swarthy Mediterranean complexion. I don't know of any Biblical accounts that describe the pigmentation of Jesus' skin."
I would love to see the answers the professor receives from her students. And I do wonder if this is a case for the P.C. police. Is there any reason why anybody really cares if Jesus is a person of color?
UPDATE: Two of my African-American friends saw the headline on this post and asked me why I used the word "Negro." They said it was archaic, though not offensive. I told them that African-American, a term we use a lot in the USA, would not fit because the professor didn't ask if Jesus lived in the New World. And I didn't think black worked properly as a headline. If it is making anybody uncomfortable, let me know and I will change it.