So “Justice Sunday” has come and gone. The Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Bill Frist, right, played his part in the evangelical video conclave to help turn the Christian Right’s court-packing into a religious crusade. It just slays me how far these folks have strayed from the teachings of the leader they claim to follow.
For one thing, today’s religious Right would never have approved of the man Jesus. He was, in today’s political speak, a leftwing radical. If you believe the New Testament – or Mel Gibson – Jesus’ poltical actions, particularly clearing the moneychangers from the temple, were deliberately intended to outrage the corrupt conservatives who ran the temple and their allies, the Romans, who ran the government. Jesus knew that the punishment for political agitation was death. The cruxification of Jesus was the benchmark of political martyrdom in Western history.
If the man called Jesus were alive today, would he be a TV evangelist like Jerry Falwell who spreads hatred and fear to the ignorant masses? Would he ride in limos, fly in private jets and own diamond mines in South Africa like Pat Robertson? Would he bethrone himself at the Vatican, reigning over a religious empire that is mired in the past, subjugates women and incites the global population crisis?
Not bloody likely. Jesus would seek out the poor and downtrodden – not to fleece them but to offer them hope. He would see very little difference between the moneychangers in the temple 2000 years ago and religious leaders today who accumulate the trappings of wealth – whether they are TV evangelists or bishops of Rome.
Jesus had a message of love, but he also had moments when he was scornful and impatient (after all, he was only human!) especially toward the powerful few who used their position to oppress the powerless. Why would a current-day Jesus be any different?
Fortunately for those in the Christian Right who are hellbent on turning this country into a theocratic state and/or bringing about the Second Coming, there is no such thing as Judgment Day because if Jesus did come back, he’d be mighty pissed at folks who are engaging in McCarthyite politics in his name.