Row over drinking and smoking Jesus picture

The BBC reports an interesting row in India, in fact in the 70% Christian state of Meghalaya, about school textbooks

showing pictures of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette and a can of beer.

The state government has seized the textbooks, which were found being used in a private school, and

legal action against the publishers was being contemplated.

The row is likely to spread beyond this one remote state, as the book was published in Delhi, and

The Catholic Church in India has banned all textbooks by [publishers of the book] Skyline Publications from all its schools.

One wonders what motivated the publishers to include in the book such a silly and gratuitously offensive picture (you can see it on the BBC site). It would hardly be the act of any genuinely religious Hindus or Muslims. It sounds more like the kind of stunt that would be pulled by militant secularist atheists.

But to me the most objectionable part of the picture is not the beer can or the cigarette but the way that an image of Jesus as a blond European (which of course he was not) is being used even in India.

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