Reverend Richard Coles was shut down by African Studies Professor Kehinde Andrews who explained the Anglo-Church paid some of the largest compensation after the end of the slave trade. The pair clashed in a heated debate over the portrayal of Jesus. It comes as the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has called for reconsideration of Jesus being perceived as a white man.
Speaking on GMB, Reverend Richard Coles said: “The Church has also played a prophetic part in seeking equality for black people around the world.
“The Church of England in the 18th and 19th centuries played a significant role in the legislation to bring about the abolition of the slave trade.
“The Church of England played a very important part.”
Professor Kehinde Andrews added: “Come on, if you were honest about the role the Church has played and this idea that it’s just our image, that’s completely ridiculous.
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“The image of the white Jesus was given to us as the enslaved.
“It was taken to African schools and put on to us in one of the main ways to pacify us.
“You still have people in Black churches in this country saying that ‘he will wash you white as snow’.
“That’s the original white saviour image and the whole purpose of it was to embed colonialism and slavery.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “You go into their churches and you don’t see a White Jesus you see a Black Jesus, or Chinese Jesus, or a Middle Eastern Jesus which is of course the most accurate.
“You see a Fijian Jesus, you see Jesus portrayed in as many ways as there are cultures, languages and understandings.”
After being asked about statues with links to the UK’s imperialist history, he added: “We’re going to be looking very carefully, and putting them in context and seeing if they all should be there.
“The question about whether they should all be there arises, of course, it does, and we’ve seen that all over the world.”