Can you help me respond to the arguments of racist street preachers?


Full Question

There is a group of people near where I work who call themselves "the Black Israelites" and do street preaching. They claim that Christ was black and that at the Second Coming he will enslave the white man. They argue that Caucasians are not white but red and thus descendants of Esau. They argue that Moses was black because he passed for an Egyptian. What do I say to this nonsense?

Answer

Jesus obviously is not out to enslave Caucasians; he died to save them along with the rest of the human race. In particular, he sent the apostles to make disciples of Greeks and Romans (both Caucasian groups) and of "all nations" (Mt 28:20), irrespective of skin colors.

It is true that Esau himself had a reddish complexion, but not all his descendants do. His descendants were the Edomites, not the Europeans. Having red skin is no indicator of being a descendant of Esau. In fact, the people most famous for having reddish pigmentation--American Indians--aren't related to the Edomites at all.

Egyptians even today do not have a Negroid complexion, but look more Semitic. Furthermore, Moses lived over 3,500 years ago, during the time of the pharaohs. Paintings on the walls in ancient Egyptian tombs reveal that the Egyptians then had a middle-brown skin color, as they do today. This is known with special certainty since the paintings also show non-Egyptians who have a Negroid or black complexion.

Finally, there was no secret among the Egyptians about the fact Moses was a Hebrew, not an Egyptian. He didn't "pass for an Egyptian." Whether or not he looked the same as other Egyptians (something we really don't know), everybody at the time was aware that Moses (as his name says) was "drawn out" of the Nile by Pharaoh's daughter during the slaughter of the Hebrew babies.


Catholic Answers Staff