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Casshew
12-30-2003, 04:43 PM
Thief returns icon of baby Jesus, says prank proves point

A figure of baby Jesus stolen from a Maumee church is back in his manger, wearing a new coat - of paint, that is.

During his two-week absence, Jesus’ white skin was covered with dark brown paint, said the Rev. Roger Miller, pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on East Wayne Street.

"Sorry I took your baby Jesus. It was a childish prank," the perpetrator said in a handwritten note. "As far as his new color, I thought I would point out that Jesus was not an Aryan but actually a man of color. Although you probably knew this but would rather not be reminded."

The thief added that the paint job was "not some sort of racial thing ... actually I’m white. But I know what color Jesus was."

Dr. Henry Bowden, executive secretary of the American Society of Church History, said the dark-skinned Jesus is probably more historically accurate than the light-skinned image commonly seen in the United States.

"He was of Jewish heritage, from the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. Most Jews were swarthy, with olive skin, brown eyes, and brown or black hair," said Dr. Bowden, a Rutgers University professor from Red Bank, N.J.

The thief meticulously applied the new coat of paint to the Fiberglas statue, Mr. Miller said, with the figure’s fingernails and palms carefully painted a shade of gray.


Full Story from the Toledo Blade (http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20031230/NEWS10/112300066)