'Black Jesus' is ratings hit as Catholic League says he has 'many redeeming qualities'
Controversial Cartoon Network series "Black Jesus" performed better than all other original cable programmes, and most of broadcast television, when it premiered Thursday night.
The "Adult Swim" live action programme portrays Jesus as a cursing, weed-smoking, women-loving, black man in Compton, but even the Catholic League seems to be ok with the blended portrayal, pointing out redemptive qualities like his kindness and readiness to forgive.
"We have long taken the position that portraying Jesus as black is fine with the Catholic League and, indeed, we find it silly that anyone would object," League president Bill Donohue said in a statement, the Washington Times reports.
"The Jesus character parks illegally, curses, smokes pot, drinks and hits on women.
"At one point, he is depicted as the getaway driver for a drug deal gone wrong. He is eventually robbed and gets busted. But he is also forgiving, kind, respectful, and condemns violence. No one questions his divinity and even an atheist detective who interviews him after his arrest appears to sense that there is more to this man than what first appears.
"The Jesus character in this show is a mixed bag: He is irreverent and can be downright crude, but he also has many redeeming qualities."
Donahue also said that the show may have a positive effect on its audience's spirituality.
"If the goal is to lure young people to take a closer look at Jesus, the Son of God, that is noble," he explained. "But if so, it is not a good sociological sign: Must we debase Jesus to make him real? It will be interesting to see how the show develops and how the audience reacts to the Jesus message, however twisted his delivery."
Gerald "Slink" Johnson plays Jesus in the series, which also stars comedians Charlie Murphy, Corey Holcomb, and John Witherspoon.
"Black Jesus" was created by Canadian television and film director Mike Clattenburg ("Trailer Park Boys"), and "The Boondocks" creator Aaron McGruder.
Watch the trailer for "Black Jesus" below: