Racial justice advocate Shaun King has suggested that any statues depicting Jesus as white and of European descent should be removed immediately.
In a widely shared Twitter post, King insisted that such a mischaracterisation of Jesus' ethnicity is "a form of white supremacy" and argued that Christ would have appeared Middle Eastern in skin tone.
He tweeted: "Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down. They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been. In the Bible, when the family of Jesus wanted to hide, and blend in, guess where they went? EGYPT! Not Denmark. Tear them down."
Not everyone agreed, however. In response to King's comments, a member of President Trump's legal team, Jenna Ellis, tweeted defiantly:
"I’m going on record now: If they try to cancel Christianity, if they try to force me to apologise or recant my Faith, I will not bend, I will not waver, I will not break. On Christ the solid Rock I stand. And I’m proud to be an American."
King responded to Ellis by asserting that "what she is actually defending here is her whiteness."
He added: "Christian whiteness needs white Jesus. It's not about generosity or kindness. It's not about protecting the vulnerable. It's about whiteness itself. Attack white Jesus to her, and you attack her faith."
In an Instagram post, King, who used to work as a pastor, added that "if your faith requires Jesus to be a blonde haired blue eyed British man, then your faith is not Christianity, it’s whiteness. You are worshipping whiteness."
King didn't stop with statues of Jesus. He also insisted that "all murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down" because they are a "gross form white supremacy" and have been "created as tools of oppression" amounting to "racist propaganda".
On the state of the Christian faith in the US, King commented: "Christian whiteness, not white Christianity, has been the primary religion of this country for hundreds of years."
Many Twitter users supported King's cause, with one church leader, Bishop Talbert Swan, challenging:
"All of you MAGAs, evangelicals, and assorted white supremacists and their apologists, triggered over Shaun King coming for white Jesus.... How are y’all going to handle it, when Jesus comes back... And He’s B L A C K???!"
Republican Senator for Missouri, Josh Hawley, vehemently disagreed with King, tweeting: "So now the woke mob wants to shatter stained glass windows and tear down religious artwork. Surprised we didn’t get here sooner. What next, tearing down churches?"
New York Times opinion writer Elizabeth Bruenig also questioned King's idea and highlighted the immense diversity of Christian iconography across the globe -- something she insists is "one of the *good* things about the Church".
Conservative radio host Graham Allen responded to King personally by arguing that "the ONLY people who care what color Jesus is are racist people....Talking to you @shaunking. Jesus is the ultimate symbol of love, compassion, and equality. Color doesn’t matter....the End!"
In another tweet, Allen wrote: "Images of Jesus are not forms of White Supremacy?!?! He is the SON OF GOD.....the end! Jesus died for ALL OF OUR SINS! Do NOT use Jesus as an attempt to be “woke” @shaunking is SHAMEFUL!!"
Today, King revealed that he had received "about 20 death threats in the past 12 hours" following his suggestion that the statues should be removed. "It pretty much proves my point," he tweeted. "Your religion is actually whiteness with a Christian patina."