Can a person dress as Jesus Christ without being offensive? There have been a number of costumes decried as inappropriate this year (such as the Ray Rice costumes that include blackface and domestic violence references, and the various costumes inspired by the Ebola outbreak), but dressing as the central figure from one of the most prolific religions on Earth might be pushing the limit.
Here are some of the Jesus costumes that have been shared online in the past week. Check them out and judge for yourself: harmless, or rude and invasive?
Here’s one posted on Twitter. Even though the poster is amused, the costume is pretty straightforward, and not outwardly or obviously mocking.
My dad is being Jesus for a costume party hahahaha pic.twitter.com/QPK0FxiHhs
— Haley Koehler (@haley_koe) November 1, 2014
And here’s another.
— Phiłłip (@philIupmycup) October 31, 2014
This one comes from a student who says he was sent to in-school suspension for dressing as Jesus — and according to his Twitter profile, he’s a Christian.
— Trace (@ecarT_) October 31, 2014
His classmates rallied around and called for his freedom.
— your son (@HennytheRunner) October 31, 2014
Then, of course, there are the costumes that are clearly intended to… well, at least to parody, and perhaps to outright mock and offend. First, a couple of zombie Jesus Christ costumes. “Zombie Jesus” is a common meme that makes reference to the savior’s return to life in Christian beliefs.
This first Zombie Jesus comes from a Reddit poster who says she wore it to an atheist Halloween party.
Here’s another Zombie Jesus from Reddit, complete with realistic nail wounds in the hands.
Then there’s this Jesus costume, which is perhaps only intended to mock some Christian denominations, or maybe specifically Ken Ham and his Creation Museum: Jesus riding on a dinosaur. (This one was also shared on Reddit.)
Other parody Jesus costumes, like this one at Comic Con, can obviously be more problematic than an ordinary Jesus Christ in a robe. It didn’t seem to offend anyone there, though — it seems some attendees even asked Raptor Jesus to autograph their Bibles.
Is it automatically offensive to conflate Jesus and Halloween? Clearly, for many Christians, it isn’t; a number have also implemented the Son of God into their pumpkin carving.
Mom carved Jesus into her pumpkin again you go girl pic.twitter.com/4LXm4USyPF
— Alicia Scandoval (@Aliciasandyyy) October 31, 2014
Don’t really do Halloween; so this guy at church did my dad a Jesus/fish pumpkin ha it’s great pic.twitter.com/qFBnWFv8UK
— Hannah (@hannahecoleman) October 31, 2013
However, for many, Halloween is controversial enough to be a moral issue on its own, without bringing possible blasphemy issues into the mix. This may explain why a Jesus Christ costume can get a student sent to ISS, and why similarly dressed students have been asked to change on previous Halloweens.
Then, too, there are costumes that are certainly intended to parody and mock, and probably intended to offend. No one is surprised that Jesus Christ Zombies, or dino-riding saviors get people more than a little upset. Is it ever okay to dress as Jesus? What’s your take?
[Photo Credits: Kordite, Reddit, Twitter]