Meet the “Immigrant” Mexican Jesus Christ from American Gods
In a scene that feels more resonant than ever in Trumpland, we encounter the Spanish-speaking Son of God as he rescues people crossing the border.
Mr. Wednesday had previously told Shadow about the multitude of Jesuses found in America, in one of the season’s better scenes from Ep 3, “Head Full of Snow”:
Wednesday: Plenty of suffering and blame to go around, although that White Jesus, well, could stand a little more suffering. He’s doing very well for himself these days.
Shadow: And how many colors does Jesus come in?
Wednesday: Why, you got your White Jesuit-style Jesus. You got your Black African Jesus. You got your Brown Mexican Jesus. You got your swarthy Greek Jesus. You’ve got—
Shadow: Well, that’s a—That’s a lotta Jesus.
Wednesday: There’s a lotta need for Jesus, so there’s a lotta Jesus. Now, the Mexican Jesus came here the same way a lot of Mexicans do. Illegally. Oh no, that’s not being racial. You can ask Him. He’ll tell you. He waded across the Rio Grande, his back as wet as the epithet suggests.
This exchange was poignant and important and I want to strap the entirety of xenophobic America to their chairs and make them watch it on repeat. If we bring our Gods with us when we immigrate, the central premise of how American Gods‘ Old Gods got to the country, nothing better explains the many flavors of Jesus than that he is incarnated in the style of each group, and because of their immediate need of him. While the pictorial of a slender white-skinned fair-haired Jesus dominates much religious iconography despite his Middle Eastern origins, “White Jesuit-style Jesus,” who’s “doing very well for himself,” is certainly not his image worldwide.
The clip above shows us the beatific Mexican Jesus—an immigrant himself (and biblically, a refugee, folks)—traveling with his followers as they cross a dangerous border. He hands-on rescues one man from drowning. The river evokes Christian baptism, and Jesus is in full, actual savior mode. I love this depiction, and I can’t get over how crucial it is that some viewers will see that “their” God represents many different things to many different people, including those groups currently being vilified by our villainous administration. American Gods is doing a better job of handling cutting-edge modern issues than any other media property I could name right now, gracias a Dios.
In Neil Gaiman’s novel Jesus wasn’t a focus, but I hope this teaser means that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Him(s) and all the cultural commentary that comes with such a visitation.
(via io9, image via Starz)
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