Jesus: A problem for the Christian Right

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Jesus: A problem for the Christian Right

Today Jesus presents a problem for those at the forefront of conservative religious activism in America. Christ and his teachings have been and remain exceeding difficult to reconcile with the Bible-driven theology and philosophy proclaimed as a rationale for religious re-birth in this country.

This perhaps is the reason why Old Testament books such as Deuteronomy, Jeremiah and others are cited far more frequently than quotes from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Furthermore, the bulk of scriptural verbal references are not made to Jesus (proclaimed by evangelicals to be God) but to the "God" of the Old Testament. This suggests that if Jesus is God as is commonly accepted today, then what God said in the Old Testament and what Jesus said in the New Testament come from the same single source.

However, God as quoted in the Old Testament is judgmental, harsh, punitive and a proponent of war and ethnic cleansing. You cannot find corresponding words and attitudes in what Jesus (God-become-mortal) taught as a spiritual foundation of living while mortal himself.

Aggressive Christian advocates and manipulators then quote "God" from the Old Testament while strongly implying that the New Testament Jesus, the "Living God," agrees with and approves their actions and assumptions.

Led by Reverend Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson and other prominent televangelists, the gospel of Christ has been reframed. As Jerry, Pat and gang would have us believe, the following religious objectives of America are contained in the Gospel as they see it:

Empire and a long-term "war" on terror:

Publicly proclaimed by their "Christian in the White House," these religious leaders would have you believe that Christ approves of aggressive and violent spreading of the American version of "freedom" much in the tradition of the War God of the Old Testament.

Jesus at no time ever proposed or commanded a "crusade" approach to global evangelizing, yet led by Mr. Bush, aggressive Christian supporters of the president are openly insisting that Jesus approves.

Changing the constitution:

Without invoking the "God" of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, there is absolutely no acceptable rationale for changing the U.S. Constitution to reflect theological supremacy over the document. This is a serious reconciliation problem with Jesus' Gospel, typified by "render unto Caesar."

Issues around civil liberties,

particularly those specified in both the Constitution and Declaration of Independence continue only as modern crusaders studiously ignore Jesus. If the judgmental and punitive "God" of the Old Testament spoke specifically against homosexuality and with rigid cruelty toward the rights and dignity of women, corresponding rigidity and cruelty are not found among the sayings of the Living-God, Jesus.

"Judge not" elevates the right to justifiably condemn cleanly out of the hands of mortals. The deliberate acts of acceptance and forgiveness far outweigh any pretended scriptural mandate to exclude, condemn, excommunicate or penalize those who do not measure up. Jesus, the Living God, did not forbid homosexuals to marry or prescribe or proscribe a woman's or man's right to choose. Without the "God" of Deuteronomy, Christian activism against the Constitution has no justifiable basis. Before encouraging activism, these dominionist Christians must justify themselves to all of us.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Falwell/Robertson/Dobson Pharisee's are aptly portrayed by the older brother of that Prodigal and Jesus aptly fills the role of the forgiving Father.

Jesus and the poor:

Privatizing government programs to assist the poor by assigning those duties to merchants who are then allowed to pursue profits before human well-being is not in the Bible anywhere. The Old Testament God says nothing about it and Jesus, The Living God, says everything against it.

The environment?

Only by privately interpreting and defining the early words in Genesis about exercising dominion - and conveniently leaving out the commandment to Adam to literally "tend" the Garden - do today's Pharisee's successfully side-step accountability for the consequences of their political actions. Jesus, The Living God, did not say or imply that merchants have a blank check to exploit the ecology and environment.

Had he done so, the early Christians could have justifiably plowed up the lilies of the fields and replaced them with commercial enterprises. Modern Christians would be told that to plow up the lily fields and dig oil wells or open-pit mines or build polluting factories would be doctrines of Jesus.

We cannot remain timid with these religious demagogues, for that is what they truly are and practice. They have not been timid with us, acting instead with brazenness based on some sort of religious intimidation. These are not gatekeepers for St. Peter, nor Promise Keepers for the Lord. They are in fact bluffing and in dealing with their angry rhetoric, many have wilted, stepped back and blindly allowed themselves to be led about like sheep.

In this regard, Paul was prophetic and his devious wolves have proven to be precisely the manipulators pretending to speak for Jesus to the masses.

We as Christians must stop the killing immediately. It is not up to George, Dick and Donald. It certainly is not up to Jerry, Pat and James.

What would Jesus expect from Christians?

Would it be helpful for Reverend Jerry Falwell to condemn and show horror at the killing, the violence and the hate on both sides of the ocean?

Or are we to be inspired toward peace when all we get from Reverend Jerry Falwell is the pompous proclamation that "We are winning the Christmas War?"

Would it be helpful for Pat Robertson to condemn and show horror at the killing, the violence and the hate on both sides of the ocean?

Or are we inspired toward peace when what we get from Pat Robertson is the pompous proclamation that "Kwanzaa is an absolute fraud."

Mr. Robertson, as you once said about [a contraceptive], "low and behold, people are dying." Well sir, in Iraq, human beings - citizens of many countries - are also dying violently, in much larger numbers and in a more powerfully moral violation. Military abortion-by-bombing is going on as this is read.

What are you going to do about it? Talk is cheap. Self-righteous pretentious talk is even cheaper. You owe it to all those who raise their hands and clap in awe when you bluster.

I ask you in the name of God and the Christ of Compassion, Pat Robertson:

What are you going to do about the killing?

Would it be helpful for James Dobson, PhD to condemn and show horror at the killing, the violence and the hate on both sides of the ocean?

Or are we inspired toward peace when all we get from James Dobson is the pompous proclamation that

"So you could have polygamy. You could have incest. You could have marriage between a father and a daughter. You could have two widows, or two sisters or two brothers." [if we don't pass a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.]

These three prominent Pharisees passionately played a powerful role in persuading millions of voters that the spirituality of George Bush was focused on the highest Christian values.

Between all those mind-washed voters and the indisputable major voting fraud in Ohio and Florida, we are left with not only their evangelical public hypocrisy but an American tragedy in the making in which they and George will be the least hurt and the most guilty.

Arthur Ruger

Recommended link: Carolyn Baker in The Dissident Voice: Dominionist Dementia - What’s Jesus Got to Do With It? 12/20/2004.

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