Jesus was not a patriot

LA Weekly: Jesus and the Patriots by Judith Lewis.

No version of Jesus, be it the "radical egalitarian" who emerges from Dominic Crossan's Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography or the mystic described in The Gospel of Thomas, said anything about what constitutes a marriage. According to Crossan, Jesus was an itinerant Mediterranean peasant who considered the family an instrument of oppression, a microcosm of political hierarchy, and he sought to destroy it. ("From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three," he foretold in Luke 12:52.) The real Jesus is frightening, revolutionary, inimical to the economic doctrines upon which we base our lives. Churches, which as Emerson observed, "are not built on His principles, but on His tropes," are wise to have little to do with Him. Governments should have even less. And the less churches and governments have to do with each other, the better for Jesus' reputation.

But if presidents and legislators can't be persuaded to see Jesus this way and give Him up altogether, then perhaps they can at least start taking the words he allegedly handed down in the Gospels a little more seriously. DeLay, for instance, might be compelled to examine his desire to further slash welfare according to Mark 10:21, "Give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven." Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback could rise up and shout, "Woe unto you who are rich!" And ultra-pious Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma would respond wisely to Bush's assertion that the atrocities at Abu Ghraib were the actions of a "few bad apples" with the Lord's words from Matthew 7:18: "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit."

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