Excellent article by Elisabeth Parker December 9, 2013 — I emended several places where, IMAO, she made some of her weaker points… But her points still are genuine and cogent. I put from 1 ♥ to 5 ♥♥♥♥♥ to indicate my opinion of the importance of each of her points… email@example.com
The Christian Right goes on and on about how much they love Jesus Christ. When will they get the memo? Jesus was a liberal.
Have you ever wondered why right-wing Christians keep saying they love Jesus Christ, even though their toxic beliefs have nothing to do with what Jesus said, taught, or stood for? Whether you believe He was our savior, or just a great teacher in history, have you ever suspected that if Jesus Christ lived today, he would have been a liberal? Well, you were right all along. Jesus was a liberal. And we’ve got 15 quotes to prove it.
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” – Like many liberals, Jesus Christ scorned phony displays of religion.
(1) ♥♥♥♥♥ Religion: Right-wingers claim to love Jesus, and are known for loudly shouting their faith from atop their soap boxes. But, like many liberals, the real Jesus Christ scorned these showy – and often phony – displays of piety. He said: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” [Matthew 6-7 KJV]
(2) ♥♥♥♥♥ The 10 Commandments: As far as we can tell, the leaders of the Christian Right don’t obey the laws inscribed on the tablets Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai, let alone the ones Jesus valued most. When crowds asked Jesus Christ what He saw as the most important of the 10 Commandments, His reply reflects the values of today’s liberal Christians. Jesus clearly sees a pure love of God and for our fellow human beings as the bottom line for being a Christian: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” And: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” [Matthew 36-40 KJV].
(3) ♥ The “War on Christmas”: [MY TAKE: Of course “Christmas” didn’t exist in Jesus’ day — so what He “thought about it” is moot… es]
“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” —Matthew 22:21 KJV – Jesus Christ agreed with liberals when it comes to paying taxes and keeping Church and State separate.
(4) ♥♥♥♥♥ Paying taxes: Right-wingers keep whining about taxes and saying that paying our national debt and having a social safety net is like slavery. When they don’t get their way, they shut down the government, or threaten to secede from the US. But when it comes to taxes, Jesus Christ is more like a liberal. He said we should pay our taxes even when we don’t agree with what they’re used for. “Then saith he unto them, ‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.’” [Matthew 22:21 KJV]
(5) ♥♥♥♥♥ Separation of Church and State: The Christian Right keeps trying to force their beliefs into our legal system, and to fund their churches and schools with taxpayers’ dollars. Like modern folks in the USA, Jesus Christ lived in a huge empire with diverse religions and ethnic groups. Many of Rome’s laws and customs were against his people’s customs and beliefs. But – like most liberals – Jesus Christ clearly believed that Church and State should be separate, as shown in the above quote [concerning taxation. es]
“And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” —Matthew 19:24 KJV – Jesus Christ’s views on income inequality and capitalism were very similar to those of liberals.
(6) ♥♥ Income inequality: [MY TAKE: Superficial but gross misunderstanding of Jesus’ point. He wasn’t attacking income inequality at all — he was attacking the religious delusion that wealthy people were more loved by God, as evidenced by their wealth. Never did he teach anything resembling income redistribution but — if he made any remark about it — he declared, “The poor you will always have with you.” [John 12.8: “For you have the poor with you always; but you do not always have Me.” es]
(7) ♥♥ Capitalism: Right-wingers are ever in search of ways to promote and justify the unfettered capitalism Pope Francis rails against. But they won’t find any help from their Savior, Jesus Christ. He loathes capitalism, even more than most of today’s liberals here in the US. Pretty much the only time we ever see Jesus lose his temper is when he returns to Jerusalem with his disciples and finds the Temple full of bankers and vendors. He doesn’t just yell at them, he destroys their booths and drives them out with a whip that he makes on the fly. One can only imagine how Jesus would feel about Black Friday. “And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” [John 2:14-16 KJV] [MY TAKE: Again, the author misunderstands Jesus’ clear words for her own agenda… He was not railing against capitalism, per se, but the priests having turned what was intended to be a House of Spiritual Relief and Blessing into a House of Greed and Thievery… But outside the Temple, Jesus never objected to capitalistic enterprises even in the slightest. es]
“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” —1John 3.17 – Jesus Christ believed we should help each other, as liberals do today.
(8) ♥♥♥ Welfare and the social safety net: The Christian Right keeps ranting about how raising taxes to pay for programs that help the poor is somehow like forcing us into slavery. But Jesus Christ’s views on feeding, clothing, and helping people in need was more in line with how liberals think. Jesus flat-out told his followers that when they help people in need, He sees that as directly serving Him:
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” [Matthew 25:34-36 KJV]
(9) ♥♥♥ Healthcare: [MY TAKE: This is such a gross misunderstanding. Jesus healed all who came to him, but two points: (1) He didn’t heal everyone (nothing resembling general health-care) and (2), he didn’t heal simply out of compassion (which WAS one of his motivations.) He healed as a proof or demonstration to the people and the religious leaders that He was the Promised Messiah and had come to usher into their world the Kingdom of God. His healings were primarily his credentials. es] The right-wing Christians who oppose evil, “liberal” Obamacare have failed to notice something that seems crazy-obvious to the rest of us. Their Savior, Jesus Christ, was always out and about doling out free healthcare — the horror! — to his fellow human beings. The New Testament abounds with stories of Jesus healing blind people, lepers, crippled people, paralytics, a bleeding woman, a young girl in a coma, and pretty much anyone who asked (or had someone ask for them). His disciple, Matthew, wrote: “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
(10) ♥♥♥♥♥ Social justice: Unlike the right-wing Christians who pay only lip service to Him, Jesus Christ was a strong advocate for social justice. Martin Luther King Jr. and other much-loved liberal icons were inspired by His life and teachings. Jesus not only demands that the rich share with the less fortunate, but insists that if they don’t, they are heartless. “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” [1 John 3:17 KJV] Take THAT, Koch brothers.
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” —John 8.7 – Like today’s liberals, Jesus Christ rejected the double standard for women and preached tolerance.
(11) ♥♥♥♥♥ The War on Women: Jesus Christ lived in a highly patriarchal society, but rose above the customs of his time. Like today’s liberals (and unlike today’s right-wing Christians), Jesus clearly valued women and treated them as equals. His parables abound with women who serve as role models to follow. At least four women — his mother, Mary Madgelene, and the sisters Mary and Martha — were in his inner circle. This may explain why women played a big role in the early days of the Christian church, and may have even served as leaders. Nor did Jesus respect the double standard that holds men and women to different rules. When a crowd gathered to stone a women to death for the “crime” of adultery, Jesus stopped them, demanding: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” [John 8:7 KJV]
(12) ♥ Abortion: [MY TAKE: This is stretching things quite a bit. Healing a woman’s unceasing issue of blood is in no way comparable to killing a viable fetus. If any biblical teaching applies to this issue, it’d be Psalms 139 which reads:
“You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother’s womb;
“I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.
“My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, when I was being skillfully woven in Your underground workshop.
“Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus. Every day of my life was recorded in your book before one of them had even taken place…” es]
Unlike the Christian Right, which won’t shut up about a fetus’ “right to life,” Jesus Christ never talks about abortion. But in the tale of the bleeding woman (Luke 8:43-48 KJV), Jesus clearly rejects irrational taboos and religious rules against women. While walking through a crowd, a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, touched the hem of Jesus’ garmentand it healed her. She then cringed away in fear (the “issue of blood” seems to have been coming from down there, which meant that touching a man would give him “unclean” woman cooties). Instead of casting her away, Jesus did the liberal thing and said, “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” It’s too bad the “Christian” folks who run this country — and some hospitals — think their weird religious rules are more important than a woman’s health.
(13) ♥♥♥♥♥ Marriage equality: Strange, but even though our right-wing Christian friends are all in a lather over gays getting married and LGBT folks’ having the nerve to simply exist, Jesus Christ never uttered a single word about gays and other non-gender conforming people. He was too busy spreading his love, healing, loaves and fishes, and miracle wine around to bother with hating … kind of like one of those liberal hippies from the 1960′s.
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Like many liberals, Jesus Christ preferred peace to war.
(12) ♥♥♥♥♥ War: During his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” [Matthew 5:9 KJV] This event took place shortly after Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, and is considered to be central to his teachings. The Sermon on the Mount was radical because of its ideals of peace, love for one’s neighbor, love of God, and striving for purity of heart. Liberals share most of these ideals, even if they don’t believe in the same god (or goddess) … or any god(dess) at all.
(13) ♥♥♥♥♥ The death penalty: The right-wing is all-out for the death penalty, all while they screech about being “pro-life” and rolling back a woman’s right to choose. But, like most liberals, Jesus Christ clearly did not believe humans had the right to take life from one another. “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” [James 4:12 KJV] [MY TAKE: This is pretty supportable, but let’s not ignore Jesus’ warning to his listeners in Matthew 5.22: “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, “Fool!”, shall be in danger of the council…” “The Council”, known as the Sanhedrin, had the authority to enact the death penalty. With Rome in charge, they still had to get the Roman procurator’s permission, which they did when executing Jesus. But as far as capitol punishment in the Jewish Scriptures went — “eye for an eye” and all that” — is that no one could ever be executed unless the capital crime had been witnessed directly by two or three witnesses. NO ONE could be convicted/executed on circumstantial evidence as is allowed in U.S. courts today. es]
(14) ♥ Crime and punishment: [MY TAKE: See above comment. Also, when Jesus is telling early Believers to stop “judging” one another, he’s not talking about “crime & punishment” — he’s talking bout judging whether another brother or sister is in sin or doing what is wrong. The biblical example of THIS kind of judging is found in 1Corinthians and Romans and refers to church-people judging and accusing one another for eating meat that had been offered on the altar of some heathen god or goddess. NOT “crimes” such as theft & murder! es] Conservatives don’t just love the death penalty, they love meting out harsh punishments for even the least of crimes (unless you’re a Wall Street Banker). Our useless “war on drugs” — and large private prisons industry — explains why the US has the highest rate of people living behind bars in the world. Most liberals object to this, and so would Jesus Christ, who said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” [Matthew 7:1-2 KJV]
(15)♥♥♥♥♥ Onrace: Although Jesus Christ lived in the remote region of Galilee for most of his life, He was born in Bethlehem and had traveled to Egypt and Jerusalem as a boy. He was probably more well-traveled than many people of his time, and had come across people of many cultures, colors, and nations. Jesus clearly shows that he sees no person as above another one when he said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” [John 13:16 KJV] Also, he was known to consort with all sorts of people who would have seemed scandalous to proper Jews of his time, including women, lepers, Roman tax collectors, his motley crew of fishermen-turned-apostles, and even — gasp — Mary Magdalene, who had a bad (and likely untrue) rep as a loose woman. It is unlikely that Jesus would have thought one race or skin color to be better than another. [MY TAKE: Jesus also taught Paul, the apostle, the same egalitarian attitude toward divisions between Jews and Gentiles, men and women, and free or slave. This is seen in Paul’s instruction in Galatians 3.28 in which he said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female — for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” es]
NOTE: It is doubtful that Jesus Christ even would have been what we now call “white.” The Bible does not describe how He looked (other than things like “shining” and “radiant”). But, since Jesus and His family came from the Middle East, He is likely to have looked like today’s people from that region: Olive-skinned, dark-haired, and dark-eyed. [MY TAKE: As the Vioctorian British so quaintly put it, Jesus would have been a “coloured man” and kept from entering their churches… es]