RESIDENTS of Pascoe Vale had a rough week this week.
Well, some of them anyway.
For those who may have missed it, a Melbourne nativity scene caused a stir this week when it featured a black doll in the starring role of Baby Jesus.
In the Melbourne suburb of Pascoe Vale, the local member had the nativity scene put together in her office's front window, and while the response has been admittedly (and rightly) positive, her office has not escaped criticism for such a despicable act.
Now, let's be clear: this was not a nativity scene attempting to degrade or ridicule the traditional Christmas story.
Indeed, it was one of great celebration in an extremely multicultural electorate.
Sounds great to me.
Unfortunately though, it didn't look great to everyone.
Some said it was a belittlement of Christianity.
Some said it went against the Christmas spirit.
And some said - well, some just said complete nonsense.
Heck, one particular passer-by named Maria (either she didn't want her last name published or she thinks she too is famous enough to go by only one name) went as far as saying, "He can't have been black because that's then going into Africa."
And hey, she's right!
Jesus probably wasn't quite as black as this evil Pascoe Vale doll made him out to be.
But chances are he wasn't quite as white as millions of other dolls used before him either.
And since when have they offended anyone?
I mean, really: here's a guy who died to forgive the sins of millions, and you guys are debating which skin tone suits him best?
This is merely a classic case of - when it comes to racism - "rules for some, rules for others".
Maria (or Ms - let's just say Smith) has basically just said, "I'm fine with our Lord being portrayed as ethnically inaccurate…just as long as he's not black."
Thanks, Ms Smith.
But, I'm not done with you just yet, Maria!
Sorry, but if we are going to start getting this particular about it, we need to get more specific with quite a lot of things.
What colour eyes did Jesus have?
What colour shirt was he wearing?
What shade of red was his first pimple?
Hey, we all have imperfections.
The point is, it's nothing short of ridiculous to get worked up about the appearance of someone of whom we will never know the actual appearance.
I mean, sure, he's supposed to be coming back and all, but who's to say he hasn't changed a few things in the meantime?
Fashion has come a long way.
Besides, that's just like me getting worked up about the fact that my otherwise gorgeous future wife might have a rather unfortunate birth mark covering most of her face.
In other words, why worry about something I don't know to be true?
Because the truth is, I don't know what Jesus looked like.
The difference, however, between these disgruntled nativity scene enthusiasts and me is that I'm not pretending as though I do.
This is not about people's religious beliefs at all.
Regardless of faith, Christmas is very much a part of our nation's culture.
And that's great!
But if someone wants to challenge racial perceptions of important religious figures that were instilled in us during far more conservative times, then I say good luck to the challengers.
A black Jesus should not offend anyone; nor should a white one.
Because if the religion he inspired has any message at all, it is one of love and acceptance.
And there's nothing more black and white than that.