Who Would Jesus Hate?
Recently I posted the quote from Revelations 13 1:3 which appears in the right sidebar of this website along with my interpretation to a public forum. I was immediately set upon by an angry lynch mob. While my policy is not to engage in battles of wits with the unarmed, in this case—the vitriol being so rapid and intense—I made an exception.
The inflamed mob accused me of twisting the scripture, blasphemy, and of being a Russian communist–someone, apparently, wasn’t aware Russia has not now nor ever been a communist state; that was the USSR. I pointed out I had neither twisted nor blasphemed scripture. I had done nothing more than offer an interpretation. I had clearly delineated the scripture from the interpretation with quotation marks and citation which made it possible for anyone to refer to original source should they feel a need to sort it out. The interpretation—something which is done regularly in churches across the nation—was a work of my imagination. I did mimic the style of the verse as translated in the New King James Version to give it continuity and increase its impact–Right Wing types seem to respond to Biblical language. And this brings me to the primary reason I loathe the Radical Right Regressive movement: the hypocrisy.
The Radical Right Regressive movement encompasses various groups which include: Right to Life proponents who inspire acts of terrorism against doctors who dare to perform abortions while fervently supporting the death penalty—which as we know is usually reserved for people of color; The Tea Party which attacks not just the President but engages in recalcitrant obstructionism to prevent progress toward ending the pain of the un- and under employed still reeling from the gross mismanagement of the Bush administration; the Grover Norquist led anti-tax movement of the coddled and over privileged one percent. They produce and reproduce a culture that values power, money, and fame instead of charity, tolerance, and love. Their hearts and souls runneth over with intolerance; avarice; self-entitlement; and condemnation of the less fortunate, gay, or merely different. Yet they proclaim the Christian faith at every opportunity.
Their behavior goes beyond even the loosest interpretation of decorum and, often, the law as when they chanted “Kill Obama” at McCain-Palin rallies during the last election cycle and certainly beyond proper Christian conduct when they organized “prayer warriors” to pray for his death. They make no secret of their disdain for the poor, the downtrodden, the dusky hued, and the LGBT community. They have subverted the 19th century Progressive movement’s efforts to mandate pure foods and drugs into an instrument of mass incarceration and disenfranchisement—a New Jim Crow. They have attacked the social contract since its inception and would gladly throw the poor and elderly under a bus to save a few pennies on their tax bill. They support and seek to expand a military industrial complex which constructs weapons of mass destruction horrible beyond comprehension and poisons the environment in the process. They have exercised their power, imposed their will, their sense of entitlement, and their avarice throughout the world, blackening the eyes and besmirching the reputation of the Christian faith. They have created idols of his moment of death and worship them rather than follow The Way His teachings laid out before them. I often wonder what Christ would have to say were he to visit their churches which depict in gruesome detail or symbolic icons His death rather than celebrate His life and works. I think if he were here today he would find none of this is holy or honors his message.
I don’t claim to be Christian. What enlightened soul would, given the behavior of many self-proclaimed Christians? I have, however, studied the Bible—Old and New Testaments. In Christ’s teachings there is one central theme which is stated and restated throughout the Gospels and letters of the early church: love your brothers and sisters as you love yourself. I interpret that as being tolerant, forgiving, and loving. The Bible also clearly spells out the Christian code of conduct: Christians do not make public displays of faith, Pharisees do; Christians pray in private; Christians minister to the poor; Christians are modest, eschewing ostentation; Christians are not intolerant or bigoted or avaricious. Instead the adherents of the Radical Right worship the mythologized man, ignoring His message of peace and understanding. They lack a single charitable impulse in their beings. They are Christians In Name Only.
One need only look at the voices which animate them to know the truth of their souls. They claim to be the party of moral values yet, Newt Gingrich, a serial philanderer, acts as one of their top voices while women, such as Sandra Fluke, who advocate for access to birth control as part of a holistic approach to women’s reproductive health are maligned as whores. Rush Limbaugh thinks all drug addicts are pieces of excrement who belong in jail or worse. Yet he’s a drug addict who for reasons unknown deserves treatment different from what he advocates for others. The entire Fox News organization presents lies and distortions of the truth as “Fair and Balanced” reportage on a nonstop twenty-four hour cycle intended to inflame, incite, and terrify their audience. They have consistently characterized President Obama as different and un-American despite the fact he grew up in his white middle class grandmother’s home in the Midwest.
The GOP and its handmaidens have used racism, fear, lies, distortions, and misinterpretations of scripture to pit poor and working class whites against poor and working class people of color. They have engineered the destruction of the middle class by shifting the tax load from those how have the most to those who have just enough. They have gerrymandered Congressional districts to their advantage, enacted legislation on false premises to suppress the voting rights of those who oppose them, created an army of modern-day Brown Shirts——True the Vote, the misbegotten brain child of the Koch brothers–to intimidate and harass student and minority voters at the polls. They have never relented in their efforts to turn themselves into kings and the populace into serfs. For they care not for common people but only for their offshore accounts, plutocrat masters, gated subdivisions, and sound proof BMWs.
Each day they turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the suffering they cause because–with the exception of the poor white working class they have manipulated into voting against their own self-interest with lies, fear and bigotry–they are the rich and handmaidens of the rich. They fancy themselves as nobility while there is nothing noble about them. They are driven by greed and governed by the worst impulses. But beyond all this, they behave like spoiled children who haven’t gotten their way in a playground game. And it is this childish, poor loser’s stance which indicts them the most. They have lost the ability and or the inclination to exercise grace in any arena. And above all things a follower of Christ should walk in grace no matter the circumstance. For it is grace that defines a decent human being and a true Christian.