Ok, so I hear many of you gasp. My question is far from blasphemy. I will not be using this post to go into the depths of the history of Christianity, however I will be discussing its relationship with racism and challenging who could be argued as truly being God.
The classic images that represent Christianity are dominated by white men – this is unequivocal. I’m in the middle of reading Jeannine Hill Fletcher’s book The Sin of White Supremacy: Christianity, Racism, & Religious Diversity in America where she draws on her expertise in interreligious theology as well as extensive research into the history of Euro-American Christianity to lay out the devastating connections between Christian theology and the ideologies of racial supremacy that underpin our current political crisis.
During slavery, you can’t help but ask, how did slaveholders manage to balance their religious beliefs with the facts of the inhumane, cruel and violent nature of the institution? According to research, the majority of slave owners identified as Christian. Christians in positions of power went on to apply supremacists views into social and economic systems which were then supported by the power of the law. Whites were positioned as intrinsically superior to others and black people were reduced the three-fifths of a person compromise. This topic is sensitive and understandably emotive. In our desire to combat racism, many black Christians would be forced to question the core of their religious foundations, which is not an easy ask.
“Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference—so wide that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ; I therefore hate the corrupt, slave-holding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason but the most deceitful one for calling the religion of this land Christianity…”Frederick Douglass
During the early eighteenth century, Anglican missionaries who attempted to bring Christianity to slaves in the Southern colonies often found themselves butting up against uncooperative masters and resistant slaves. An unquestionable obstacle to the acceptance of Christianity among slaves was their desire to continue to adhere to the religious beliefs and rituals of their African ancestors as much as possible. Missionaries who worked in the South were especially displeased with the slaves’ retention of African practices. As time went on and generations passed, religion for black slaves took on more and more of the gospel preached by their oppressors, which can be seen in this day and age but does Christianity truly rally for equality?
What was difficult for me to absorb was the fact that in the 2016 US presidential election, 81% of white evangelical Christians and 60% of white Catholics voted for Donald Trump. How could Christians vote for such an unabashedly racist candidate? Is it because in Christianity the white man is seen as the ultimate God? But let’s just discuss, where is the black woman in all of this?
With Africa being the birth of civilisation, we cannot deny the significant role that African women played in the history of the continent, therefore the history of the world. If you trace back the DNA in the maternally inherited mitochondria within our cells, all humans have a theoretical common ancestor. This woman, known as “mitochondrial Eve”, lived between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago in southern Africa. She was not the first human, but every other female lineage eventually had no female offspring, failing to pass on their mitochondrial DNA. As a result, all humans today can trace their mitochondrial DNA back to her. Within her DNA, and that of her peers, existed almost all the genetic variation we see in contemporary humans. Since Eve’s time, different populations of humans have drifted apart genetically, forming the distinct ethnic groups we see today.
So why is the black woman so far removed from the bible? Where are her images in Christianity? I’m going to throw it out there and state that the power and significance that the black woman holds is the reason for her marginalisation. If we’re going to honest with ourselves, she should really be the image of the ‘chosen one’, as her ancestry truly marks the beginning of humanity. Her respect was profound in African history and she stood high on the throne for centuries.
Here are some powerful African queens you need to know about:
- Amina the Queen of Zaria Nigeria Amina Mohamud was a Hausa warrior queen of the city-state Zazzau, presently in the North-West region of Nigeria. Her leadership skills were discovered early by her grandfather who allowed her to attend state meetings. Historians described her as one of the real rulers born in the mid-sixteenth century.
- Kandake The empress of Ethiopia The most dreaded war generals of her time. Historians said she was known to be a fierce, tactical and uniting military leader.
- Makeda The Queen of Sheba, Ethiopia Makeda was known to be a queen of incredible strength, after surviving a battle with the serpent king Awre.
- Yaa Asantewa Ashanti Kingdom, Ghana Asantewa was the queen mother of Ejisu in the Ashanti Empire – now part of modern-day Ghana. In 1900, she led the Ashanti war known as the War of the Golden Stool, also known as the Yaa Asantewaa war, against British colonials
- Queen Nandi Zulu kingdom, South Africa Queen Nandi was resilient as a mother and the hope against social pressures. She was the mother of Shaka Zulu, one of the Zulu kingdom’s greatest kings. According to historians, during the reign of her son, she had significant influence over the affairs of the kingdom.
- Queen Moremi Ile-Ife Kingdom, Nigeria Queen Moremi was a courageous queen who is fabled to have contributed to the deliverance of the Yoruba tribe from oppression.
The importance and respect of the black woman should be recognised – especially due to our low societal status. I also wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the FIVEXMORE campaign which is pushing for answers as to why black women are five times more likely to die during pregnancy and birth. Please take the time to read about and support the campaign. It’s scary to see just how much needs to be done but we will reclaim the human respect we deserve and save and preserve our valuable lives. Understand your importance; understand your history; and understand your royalty.
Together we make the change.
10 thoughts on “What if God is a black woman?”
Thank you for this ❤️
It’s safe to say that true, biblical Christianity is NOT compatible with any form of supremacist views. As Paul noted in Galatians 3:26-29, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
In other words, we are all the same in the sight of God, and as long we belong to the Lord Jesus, we are all His children. All of humanity was made in the image of God, and that means that skin color is completely immaterial. It is deeply regrettable that so many people have forgotten this fact throughout history, as well as in current events.
What does this mean for anyone throughout history who has participated in the scourge of slavery that has so thoroughly permeated human history? It means that they have perpetrated a crime against God and humanity, as the ownership of another human being is an assault on the Imago Dei, or the Image of God. Robbing a human of their freedom is robbing them of their spirit, and this is a slap in the face of God.
During the days of slavery in America, the initial push from slave owners was to prevent their slaves from becoming Christians because they knew it would lead to slaves seeking their freedom. When slaves inevitably began to convert to Christianity, the slave owners began allowing the use of what is now known as the “slave Bible”. This was a version of the Bible that was deliberately altered to exclude the parts that detailed how people in authority are supposed to treat those in a subordinate position to them, along with the portion of the Bible that made slavery a temporary condition, akin to indentured servitude without removing their rights as humans. In so doing, they committed blasphemy, as Scripture very specifically forbids the adding to or taking away from it or its message (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:5-6).
The only conclusion one can come to in this is that those involved were Christians in name only (i.e. pretenders), and they are among those in history who have sought to do damage to the Kingdom of God by denying fellow humans the right to be fellow humans. Rest assured, when they stand before the Lord in judgement, He will have something very harsh to say about it.
Thank you for your comment, and I agree with what you say and this only reaffirms Fredrick Douglass’ quote.
I respect the principles of all religions but it’s important to examine what role some institutions have played in creating systems of oppression, and recognise how this has targeted particular groups (people of colour and women).
I wrote this article to challenge who we see as God and what really supports that position. I believe that the Bible should be more inclusive and in the day and age it was written, there would have been people from many walks of life whose voice should have been heard, however this not truly reflected in the contributors.
Although the Bible references that we are all equal in the eyes of God, this position is not demonstrated in the creation of the word of the Lord.
I hope you found this article interesting and thought provoking; I’d love to invite you to provide any further feedback.
Sending love and light always.
I deeply appreciate that you chose to respond, and in such a positive manner. Believe it or not, especially when it comes to this topic, I’m most often met with hostility and intolerance when I comment on posts such as this. I’m a fundamentalist Christian with leanings toward Messianic Judaism, which is the oldest form of Christianity by the way, so my biblical positions are often unpopular with others. If you chose to check out my blog, you would see what I mean. I oftentimes champion the unpopular opinion simply because it’s true, and I don’t typically mince words.
I am very much a fan of Frederick Douglass’ work. His speech, “What is July 4th to a slave?”, was by far one of the most insightful speeches given on the topic of abolition one can find anywhere, and is one that moved me to tears. I recently came across a reading of the speech by several of his descendants on YouTube, and it really hit me. In it, he makes the very eloquent point that Americans are absolutely correct in celebrating their independence from tyranny, but that they needed to mindful of the fact that there were others within their borders who didn’t have a single thing to celebrate. Poignant doesn’t begin to describe it, and when looked at today, it highlights exactly how far we as a country have come, and how far we’ve begun to fall these last few months.
The thing about most of the religions of the world is that they were often oppressive by design and intent. There aren’t too many examples of religious beliefs that acknowledged anything akin to what we currently regard as “human rights”. The end result was that slavery was very commonplace, infanticide was a prescribed method for dealing with unwanted babies, abortion ran just as rampant as it does today, genocide and ethnic cleansing were absolutely acceptable, and the list goes on.
These religious systems had pantheons full of gods who were, more often than not, little more than very accurate mirrors of human nature. As such, they were used as a way to keep the people beholden to the State, while extracting the maximum amount of productivity from them.
One of the examples, of a religion that didn’t do that, though some might argue otherwise, is Judaism and Christianity. I lump us together because one (Christianity) is a completion of the other (Judaism). The Ten Commandments, for example, are an overall command for humanity to love God and love one another.
Jesus made that point very clearly when asked which was the most important Commandment (Mark 12:28-31). In this, He summed up the entire Ten Commandments as, “Love God more than anything else, and love your neighbor”. What’s more is that He quoted Deuteronomy in the process, which means He was upholding Old Testament law.
I see nothing wrong with challenging how people see God, as I do it rather frequently. Modern American Christians are oftentimes guilty of blasphemy and idolatry because the version of God that they worship and adore is by no means the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is loving, and just, merciful, slow to anger, and righteous in all His decisions. According to Scripture, His ways are above our ways, and His thoughts above our own. He is a being beyond measure and comprehension, with a personality that we could spend an eternity learning, without ever truly plumbing His depths.
They tend to emphasize His love, while ignoring His righteous wrath in the fact of our Sin. In so doing, they are taking our awesome and powerful God, and reducing Him to a mere caricature of who and what He is. My calling is to both remind them of that fact in a loving manner, and also defend the Way against those who object to what we believe. I’m what’s known as an Apologist, someone who presents a positive verbal defense of the Way, per 1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
Side note: I accidentally posed my response before I was done. Oops.
Love that you are talking about women in religion and specially black woman. Woman as them self, and not as a wife a mother a Virgen or a slave. As they were mainly talked as a shadow of so many but not as warriors, fighters. Called by their names and respected as a Black woman. Where were we when it all happened in the kitchen. Something that really needs to be talked about more often. Well done for talking about it.
Thank you Susan. you’re so right about being in the shadows! I will continue to put us at the front and centre of my work to empower as many women as possible.
Sending love and light always.
Believe it or not, but the Bible actually has a very positive view of women. Sadly, too many have misinterpreted and misrepresented them in order to justify some rather heinous things.
Interpretation is everything. As individuals we digest things in different ways. I guess I’m looking at how all the elements align. I am passionate about people have equal voices and the Church’s historical resistance to ordain women only supports my feeling that fairness and equality is not at the core of the religion.
My family are devout Christians and I respect every ones choices and points of view – I hope that you understand mine.
Sending love and light always.
Ah. That’s a sticky subject. Personally, I don’t support the ordination of women because God didn’t. The subject of male headship is one of intense controversy within the Church, and I suspect it won’t be settled until Judgement Day.
As a man married to a beautiful, intelligent, strong woman, all I can say is that there are a great many things about the biblical Christian dynamic that people often seem to miss. While I am the head of my household, my wife is the first person I turn to for advice, the first person I run to for comfort, and is literally the smartest person I’ve ever met. Scripture is clear on the subject. Women are to be honored, respected, and treasured. In fact, a good woman is described as being more valuable than rubies, and that’s how I treat my wife.