“Black Jesus” is a new comedy coming to the Adult Swim channel. The lead is played by African-American actor Gerald “Slink” Johnson. Why are Christian groups protesting the show even before it airs?
The pervasively obscene language used by Black Jesus is one problem. His illegal marijuana smoking is a second problem. The show’s “anti-Christian bigotry,” as one critic describes it, is a third. “One Million Moms,” a Christian activist group, wants the show cancelled before its first episode is shown. The group states that Black Jesus “makes a mockery of our Lord. The foul language used in the trailer, including using our Lord’s name in vain, is disgusting.”
On occasion, something happens that shines a spotlight on the cultural transformation occurring before our eyes. Would Black Jesus have been possible 20 years ago? Ten years ago? Imagine the outcry from the Muslim community if a similar satire were made regarding the Prophet Muhammad. Yet the Judeo-Christian tradition is apparently fair game for ridicule and worse.
In China, authorities have issued demolition notices to more than 100 churches in the Zhejiang Province. In contrast to previous persecutions, which focused primarily on so-called underground congregations, most of the churches now being targeted are state-approved. Zhejiang is one of the wealthiest provinces in China; Christianity is making remarkable inroads here among the cultural influencers of the nation. There are now more Christians in China than members of the Communist Party. By some estimates, the largest Christian nation on earth is the People’s Republic of China.
In similar news, the chairman of the Israeli Jewish Congress responds to widespread anti-Israel demonstrations in Europe with the warning: “Never before since the Holocaust, have we seen such a situation as today. We are potentially looking at the beginning of another Holocaust now. These events will only grow in scale across Europe.”
According to longtime Vatican correspondent John Allen, 90 percent of all religious persecution in the world is directed against followers of Jesus. More Christians died in the 20th century than in the previous 19, combined. Persecution is most severe where the church is growing most quickly. And therein lies my point.
When I was in high school, our youth minister observed: If you and the devil aren’t running into each other, you’re probably running with each other. Satan “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Lions don’t roar when stalking their prey, lest they scare it off. They roar only when they attack. How often do you see lions roar while lying in a zoo?
Satan works in different ways in different cultures. In America, he uses media and apathy; in places where the church is growing most quickly, he uses life-threatening persecution. But he always roars when he attacks. And he attacks when he finds an enemy. When we make Jesus our Lord and King, choosing to serve him unconditionally and sacrificially, we draw our enemy’s wrath. But we also glorify our Savior and advance his Kingdom.
How angry is Satan at you today?