(This was an artist's rendering of the Anglo-Saxon Jesus
which was a popular in Nazi Germany.)
One of the terrible things about religion is that we keep trying to drag Jesus in to prop up our pet heresies. Every age has done this. We proved slavery by the Bible. After all--didn't Paul talk about slaves and Jesus said nary a word. Then we dug around in the Bible until we found justification for putting women in their rightful place. They were supposed to keep silent in the church and walk ten steps behind their men. They couldn't hold but certain offices in the church like cooking dinners and arranging flowers. They certainly could not be Deacons and, perish the thought, surely not Pastors. The Bible after all could not be wrong. Hitler and his crowd painted Jesus as a blue-eyed blond--forgetting somehow that he really was a Jew. And with that promise of Anglo- Saxon supremacy they killed millions and millions of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and Jehovah's Witnesses. And on Sunday many in Germany went to church to hear their preachers underline it all with Jesus talk. I can still remember my college where there were no black faces except those that swept the yards and cleaned our toilets. Nee-groes rode in the back of our buses--and we proved it all by the Bible. Selectively.
And if that was not enough in 2017 the Evangelicals are lining up in droves around Mr. Trump. It doesn't matter how many he would deny health care to, how many immigrants he would send back to unsafe places they fled. He would lie continually, changing his words from one day to the next--and nary a peep out of the Evangelicals. How in the world can Christians do this? This isn't a Democrat-Republican fight--it is a human fight. What kind of a country do we really want to be? Whatever happened to character. I can understand how Germany got in the mess they did when I see so many church-going Christians standing up for Mr. Trump. This man--thrice married-- who never goes to church--sounds as pious as some TV preachers. Mr. President--please leave Jesus out of all of this.
All this brings me to Judge Roy Moore in Alabama. He has been charged with sexual abuse toward more than three young women. One fourteen year old. He pulls out his black Bible and assures us that Muslims should be denied a place in the Senate and would dismiss the man that is. He has proclaimed homosexuality as bestiality and saying their sexual acts were the same as having sex with a monkey or a cow. He quotes Jesus continually. And one of his fans who is the Alabama State Auditor has said, in responded to the charges. 32-year old Roy Moore charged with having sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl--the state Auditor said: "Take Joseph and Mary...Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There's nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual."
Jim Wallace, by the way an Evangelical, took a Bible one day and clipped out all the passages about poor people and poverty. And when he was finished he would hold it up in churches and say: "This is an American Bible--filled with holes where we have taken out what Jesus really said." This is exactly what is happening when we church-people ignore the whole message of the Bible.
You might take the "whosoever will" out of your Bible--but it is still there whether we like it or not. We might mis-interpret the John 3.16 passage: "For God so loved the world..." but the Book is not up for revision. We are.
This whole debacle reminds me of a poem the poet, Carl Sandburg once wrote in response to a prominent Evangelist in his day.
"You come along...tearing your shirt...yelling
Where do you get that stuff?
What do you know about Jesus?
Jesus had a way of talking soft and outside of a few
bankers and higher-ups among the con men of
Jerusalem everybody liked to have this Jesus
around because he never made any fake passes
and everything he said went and he helped the
sick and gave the people hope."
. . . . . . .
"I don't want a lot of gab from a bunkshooter in my
I won't take my religion from any man who never
works except with his mouth and never cherishes
any memory except the face of the woman on
the American silver dollar.
I ask you to come through and show me where you're
pouring out the blood of your life.
I've been to this suburb of Jerusalem they call Golgotha,
where they nailed Him, and I know if
the story is straight it was real blood ran from
His hands and the nail-holes, and it was real
blood spurted in red drops where the spear of
the Roman soldier rammed in between the ribs
of this Jesus of Nazareth."
--Carl Sandburg, excerpts from
"To a Contemporary Bunkshooter"
Religion is having a hard enough time today without mis-using it to prop up our sins, our lies and our deceptions. We must keep Jesus out of this mess.
--Roger Lovette / rogerlovette.blogspot.com