Yesterday, a friend in Chicago sent me a link to a story that was splashed all over the local news, about a young man in a suburb north of Chicago who dressed up as Jesus for Halloween and was promptly told to take off his costume because it could be construed that he was mocking Jesus.
The ban on the costume did not last long after the story got out. Highland Park High School could not tolerate the perceived lack of tolerance on their part. And the young man in question was black. They really don't want to invite scrutiny by the NAACP. It spoils their image.
Very few of the student population at the secondary school would have been offended by the costume, according to my source, because the majority of the students are Jewish. If anything, they might have complained that their classmate was guilty of proselytizing, trying to convert the unbelievers to Christianity when they believe that the Messiah has not yet come.
The citizens of Highland Park vote Democratic and support all manner of liberal causes. They want the rest of the world to perceive them as accomodating to all, of accepting all manner of faiths and ethnicities. With that in mind, they also want to show how they do not tolerate a lack of that same sensitivity in others.
In this case, the reaction was over the top and made the school administrators look rather petty, if not foolish. News crews descended on the normally sleepy suburb, and you can be sure that nervous parents were calling in to find out why there were satellite trucks ringing the front entrance and reporters were doing live remotes with the school's name as their backdrop. Those who watched the story play out would have been calling in as well, to voice their opinion on the decree against Black Jesus. Once the school became an item of mockery, the ruling had to be quickly reversed.
Whether or not the young man donned his Jesus outfit after he was told it was, upon further review, acceptable, is not known. Nor does it matter.
The teen's parents can sit at home and silently fume about the Jews hating Jesus, or picking on their boy because he is in the minority, from a basis of both religion and skin color. The school adminstrators will wipe their nervous brows and feel that they dodged a bad case of negative publicity, even as they write up a new set of guidelines for next year's Halloween fun.
Rather than ban Jesus, why not encourage others to adopt Moses or David or Esther as their costume for the day? Why not encourage the diversity that exists and help the students understand where others are coming from, instead of trying to keep the unpleasant realities of a diverse society from entering the doors of Highland Park High School?
Soon enough, the teens of today will have to leave their protective bubble and discover what the outside world is like. Their education should prepare them for more than scoring high on their ACTs or getting accepted at an Ivy League school.