Have you heard the good news? I’m officially back from vacation, so if you’ve been disappointed with the measly number of posts within the last few weeks, praises be! Chuckingrocks is risen!
OK, enough with the self-aggrandizement (bragging—oh, and just so you know, I’ll provide a Republican interpretation (reading) for complicated (big) words and phrases in parentheses (the symbols smart people use) whenever they come up in this blog, so that idiots can enjoy Chuckingrocks just as much as the high brow, hoity-toity, liberal, college-educated snobs that normally read this blog); today I want to talk about Jesus.
More specifically, I want to talk about Jesus’ message, His beliefs, and the broad religious following we call Christianity (church). You see, Republicans go around proclaiming to be the party of values and Christianity (by which they mean that they’re going to heaven and we’re (liberal snobs) not), so I thought it might be useful to examine exactly what those values are, and how they interact with what Jesus Christ actually taught.
Now don’t worry country people, I’m not going to go Gnostic (the more than 50 other accounts of Christ NOT included in the bible) on you, or bring up any other biblical controversies (like the fact that because there weren’t any copying machines until Gutenberg invented moveable type in the 15th century, every bible before that time had to be hand copied by sun or candle light, meaning that there are literally thousands of different translations of the Good Book). The passages I’ll be quoting are all taken from the widely accepted NIV Bible, and I’ll stick almost exclusively to what Jesus Christ is reported to have actually said (the words in red).
Now, let’s reacquaint (learn) ourselves with four of the core beliefs Republicans hold dear (by the way, all of these can be found in Paul Ryan’s budget, but for point three, consider the fact that the Romney campaign is tactically denigrating (being mean to) welfare recipients, and that Obama is commonly referred to as the “food stamp president” by Republican pundits and politicians):
1) Taxes (Democrat evil) should be lowered, or if possible, avoided.
2) The rich should be worshipped as job creators, and life should be made as easy for them as possible, especially when it comes to government policy such as taxes and regulations.
3) The poor (black and brown people) should be scorned for their laziness, and the government should have no part in feeding or aiding them in any way. They are awful, disgusting, and are the primary cause of society’s ills (in point of fact, I would like to clarify that the majority of those receiving food stamps are actually white).
4) Obamacare (Evil-care) should be immediately repealed. The government (Frownsville) should do nothing to help people get health care—in fact, Medicare should be turned into a voucher (like a coupon) program and privatized (erection). If you can’t afford health care—too bad—you were poor or irresponsible, and either way, you deserve to die in the dirt.
Let’s take this point by point. On point one, it may surprise Republicans to hear that Jesus paid his Democrat evil—indeed, he specifically instructed his followers to pay their taxes in Matthew 22:21, saying “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” By this, He was referencing the fact that at the time, the coins used had Caesar’s inscription (think Gladiator) on them, just as our money today bears symbols showing that it is issued and controlled by the U.S. government. Moreover, earlier, in Matthew 17:27, Jesus performs a miracle (magic) allowing Simon to catch a fish that contains a coin in its mouth so that he can pay taxes for the both of them. The reason? “So that we may not offend,” Jesus says. Thus, the fact that the Republican Party has completely demonized taxes is in direct conflict with Christian teaching. Jesus Christ paid taxes and taught others to do the same.
Of course, while Jesus paid his taxes, he wasn’t exactly a huge fan of the rich. For example, in Matthew 19:24, He says, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a Camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” In fact, the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are rife (there are lots) with parables (stories) and events in which Jesus absolutely excoriates (attacks) the rich. We don’t need to go over all of them in detail, but a good example is “The Rich Man and Lazarus” beginning in Luke 16:19. As the story goes, Lazarus is a poor beggar, covered with sores, lying outside the rich man’s gate, simply hoping to eat but a scrap of what falls from his table. Eventually, both of them die, but the rich man is sent to hell, while Lazarus ascends (goes up) to heaven. The moral is obviously that the rich man should have shared his good fortune with Lazarus in life, or at least offered to feed him, and is now being punished because of his behavior. It is a moral that is consistent throughout Jesus’ teachings, and yet a moral that is 180 degrees from Republican beliefs and actions. Perhaps Christ put it best at the end of “The Parable of the Shrewd Manager,” when he said simply: “You cannot serve both God and Money (Luke 16:13).”
So if the rich are bad, the poor are…good. Yep, that is actually what the New Testament (bible) says if one cares to read it. Consider, for instance, some of the most famous of Christ’s teachings: the Beatitudes. The first two lines: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied (Luke 6:20-21).” Later, for those still not convinced, Jesus again confirms his distaste for the wealthy, “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort (Luke 6:24).”
More examples of Jesus praising the poor and downtrodden:
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.”
Mark 10:21 “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Luke 14:12 “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind and you will be blessed.”
Matthew 25:34 “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Then of course there’s John’s account (starting on 6:1) of perhaps the most famous food stamp/welfare program of all, when Jesus feeds 5,000 people during the Passover Feast by multiplying the bread and fish of a small boy.
Again, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of biblical passages demanding that we help and respect the poor, especially if we were to expand our focus to the rest of the New Testament (about Jesus), and even more if we were to include the Old Testament (Jews). The bottom line is that a huge part of being a Christian is how you treat the poor.
There is also much to be said about how you treat those who are sick and disabled. See, when Jesus isn’t teaching parables about how the rich are corrupt, or why the poor are God’s favorites, He’s performing miracles to heal people (doctoring with magic). Indeed, it is one of the first things He does, “Jesus went through Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people (Matthew 4:23).” Time and again, the Gospels (Jesus stories) tell of how Christ healed the sick, the paralyzed, the demon possessed, lepers, the blind, the mute, etc. There are even several instances in which He raises the dead. Clearly, Jesus thought it was important to heal people (whether they had health insurance or not), and the healing miracles he performed acted as catalyst (scientist word for start) for the belief of his followers, and ultimately, the growth of Christianity.
In other words, when we come full circle, we find that the core beliefs of the Republican Party are at complete odds with what Jesus Christ taught. Republicans hate taxes; Jesus Christ paid taxes. Republicans love the rich; Jesus Christ saw the rich as greedy, corrupt, and went so far as to say that very few of them would go to heaven. Republicans hate the poor and blame them for bankrupting our society; Jesus Christ loved them, and said that those who followed him ought to make serving the poor one of their highest priorities. Finally, Republicans want health care to hinge on one’s wealth and status, and they hate President Obama (black evil) for trying to make it more accessible and affordable; Jesus Christ spent much of his time healing people, performing miracles in medicine, and commanded his disciples to go out and do the same.
In other words, Republicans want to screw over the poor (opposite of what Jesus taught) so that the rich (who Jesus scorned) don’t have to pay taxes (which Jesus advocated paying), especially if those taxes go to pay for health care (which Jesus performed miracles to provide).
What does it all mean? Well, for one, Republicans ARE NOT Christians. Voting for Republicans, as I’ve shown above, is a specifically anti-Christian act—it is an act that stridently contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ. Sorry rednecks, country people, bible thumpers, and Southerners, I know you really like to hang your hat on how much you love Jesus, and I’m sure most of you attend church every Sunday, but you ARE NOT CHRISTIAN, because you DO NOT VALUE THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST.
Oh, but what about being pro-birth (Republicans, as I’ve proven above, don’t really care about life at all—just birth—so we’re renaming that one too) and anti-gay? Doesn’t Jesus hate gay people and women who get abortions? Actually, He doesn’t say anything about either of these issues. The primary fuel for the anti-gay stance of most churches, is found in the Old Testament (before Jesus), Leviticus 18:22, which states, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman.” Of course, before that, it also says you shouldn’t have sex with a woman during her period. Among some of the other things it says in Leviticus: Do not lie. Do not deceive one another. Do not go spreading slander among your people. Do not pervert justice… I guess Fox News (God’s News) didn’t get the memo on those ones. Oh, and Leviticus also says we shouldn’t eat pigs, rabbit, or shellfish. Finally, if we really want to follow God’s word from Leviticus, women must count off seven days after their period, and on the eighth day, must bring two doves or young pigeons to the local priest, so that they can be sacrificed to atone for her uncleanliness (15:29).
Similarly, the primary passages used to validate the pro-birth position against abortion are also in the Old Testament, in particular Genesis, but are not nearly as direct—in fact, it requires a large amount of biblical scholarship and reading between the lines to justify.
Again, Jesus doesn’t say anything that directly addresses abortion or homosexuality, and yet, these are the primary reasons Christians vote for Republicans, a party that is openly hostile toward the sick and poor in order to bestow the rich with more power and privilege, exactly the opposite of what Jesus directly advocates time and again throughout the New Testament. In essence, the Conservative Christian movement almost completely ignores the New Testament, and then picks and chooses its issues from the Old Testament; after all, I haven’t heard of any churches attacking Fox News anchors for telling lies (like they do abortion providers), or Tampax for circumnavigating the dual dove ritual necessary to cleanse periods.
So, again, Republicans ARE NOT Christians. Moreover, by calling themselves Christians, and suggesting that they are acting righteously, they slander Jesus Christ and the Christian religion. I know a ton of people who hate Christianity and laugh at its supposed believers, because they don’t practice what they preach. Instead of using Christianity as an avenue for love, forgiveness, humanity, and spiritual reflection, these Conservative “Christians” use it as an excuse to spread fear, hate, and division.
It probably won’t matter, since Republicans don’t really care what He really said or did, but I’ll mention it anyway: Jesus did not look kindly on people who ignored His teaching. In Luke 6:49, He says: “But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” To be sure, “it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea,” Jesus says of those who lead children astray with false teachings (Matthew 18:19). Finally, in Titus 1:16, Paul, Christ’s most influential apostle, writes of false believers, saying, “They claim to know God, but by their actions deny Him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”
Republicans ARE NOT Christians, and Paul was exactly right: they are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.