The Political Christ May 30, 2006Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Liberal Hypocrisy, Stupid Party vs Evil Party.
More and more in this increasingly divided country, we are hearing rhetoric from various camps as to which "side" Jesus would be on if he were alive today.
The discussion is of such a flavor that one gets the impression that each spokesperson believes that Jesus not only would be sympathetic to their position, but that He would be physically (and perhaps using miracles as well) working overtime stuffing envelopes, answering phones and marching with placards for their particular cause.
Examples include, from the left, Street Prophets essentially assuring us that Jesus is a progressive and this truly amazing post that shows through Scripture that Jesus was a liberal and would condemn Conservatives. Jim Wallis at Sojourners gets it partly right when he states:
That’s (the Right's) big issue. Protecting God’s creation, they would say, is a moral value, too. And, for a growing number of Christians, the ethics of war—how and when we go to war, whether we tell the truth about going to war—is a religious and moral issue as well.
I think the Right has made a serious mistake in adopting a moral-values strategy, because they’re winning in the short run. [But] in the long run, they’re going to lose this debate because they won’t be able to restrict it to two issues. Once you open that door to a values conversation, it’s going to undercut a right-wing economic agenda, which values wealth over work and favors the rich over the poor, or resorts to war as the first resort and not the last. To quote the White House, when it comes to moral values in this discussion, I say, “Bring it on!” Let’s have the conversation, because the Right’s going to lose this debate in the end. But not if the Left doesn’t even get in the conversation.
Generally, this is correct, save for the fact that he is suffering from a serious contradiction in deadening the discussion on pro-life issues. He is in fact pro-abortion (based on an NPR interview he did some years back that I cannot find just now), but he soft-pedals the issue. By all means, address poverty, those that are the least among us. But you cannot have a coherent position on poverty without also addressing the unborn and the infirm, whose issues dwarf those of the poor, in that they aren't even given the chance to be poor.
Despite Wallis' claim that he believe there to be no political claim to Gospel truths, when he begins rendering the argument into moral validity of right v. left he is de facto rendering the argument into a political one. In essence, he is claiming the Gospel truths to be embodied in the current liberal (small "l") philosophy.
However, the sin of claiming Christ as endorsing a brand of politics is in no way confined to the Left, and in fact elements of the Right tend to be even more strident in this regard. For example, the claims of the Reverend Robertson (such as here and here), or Mr. DeLay saying that:
". . .God is using (me) to promote "a biblical worldview" in American politics. . ." (LINK)
or the wretchedly behaved Fred Phelps, (interestingly, a former Democrat) who uses his position as an independent Baptist preacher to spout hate language against homosexuals. Mind you, I find the term "hate speech" is often used to codify any language that challenges homosexual behavior, and that is an error. But Mr. Phelps' actions cannot be characterized any other way.
The fact is, both sides are equally at sea. I suspect if Christ were to come back down today and registered to vote, he would be at best an Independent. His primary question, after all, was in essence; "How well have you loved?" And I can see him asking Democrats, "How have you loved the infirm in your voting record? In your actions? Is it loving to kill a woman by dehydration? What of your willingness to allow infants to be murdered in the name of expediency? When have you loved your enemies when you revile them and call them every calumny you can dream up?" Obviously, I am suggesting that the Democrats are morally lost in their position regarding pro-life, specifically regarding abortion and euthanasia.
On the other hand, I can easily see him challenging Republicans on the following grounds: "How have you loved your enemy when you repeatedly seek his death? How have you helped those among you that have none to give? When have you fed the hungry? Clothed the naked? Nursed the sick? When have you loved your enemies when you revile them and call them every calumny you can dream up?" Obviously, I am suggesting that the Republicans are morally lost in their economic positions and how they may affect the suffering of the poor.
And then there is this suggestion Jesus made regarding the State, as in; "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's; render unto God what is God's."
I don't see Jesus coming into partisan politics at all, under any circumstances. I see Him simply asking; "How have you loved?" No one heavily involved with the heat of agitprop politics (and yes, that includes me) can realisitically invoke His name and say; "Yep. He's on MY side here."