By D. Allan Kerr
Many things confuse me in this world, but one of the biggest is evangelical Christians who ally themselves with right-wing conservative politicians.
I don’t think conservatives are evil, but logic suggests people who are admirers of Jesus Christ would align themselves with those who reflect his values.
And it’s pretty hard to argue Jesus was anything but a peace-loving, free-thinking, tree-hugging liberal.
After all, this is the guy who said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you.”
I’m not saying this is either a good thing or a bad thing, and I’m not so arrogant as to claim I know the mind of Jesus Christ. But based on his own words – at least those passed on thru the Bible – it shouldn’t be hard to guess which side of the aisle he would come down on if he were here today.
The conservatives’ common argument in matters of national defense is that liberals are doves, too reluctant to employ America’s military might. But who was a bigger dove than Jesus?
This is the guy who, in his Sermon on the Mount, said, “Whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
This is the guy who said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy;” and “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
Liberals are traditionally the folks accused of wanting to increase entitlements for the poor, and expand welfare. When conservative politicians talk about budget cuts, these are the areas they look to first.
But wasn’t it Jesus who said, “Give to him that asks you, and from him that would borrow of you turn you not away?”
Seems to me folks looking after the less fortunate among us are reflecting the teachings of this same Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus said, “What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?”
And let’s not forget it was Jesus who fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish because he did not want them to go hungry.
When you’re debating whether to welcome immigrants seeking refuge from war and pestilence in their own countries, remember Jesus saying when you’ve fed the hungry and clothed the naked and taken in the stranger, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Liberals are sometimes ridiculed for their zeal in protecting the environment, but who was a bigger nature lover than Jesus?
Check the Bible and see how often he went to pray in the mountains or the gardens or in the splendid isolation of nature.
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them,” he once said. “Are ye not much better than they?”
“For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear,” he said on another occasion.
And later in that same passage, he marveled that a seed “when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.”
The one area where I don’t see Jesus leaning toward the historically liberal viewpoint is abortion. Although I have never heard of him specifically addressing the issue, I can’t imagine he would be a big supporter.
My old man, an ordained United Methodist minister for more than 50 years – now theoretically retired – likes to point out liberals are usually identified as “liberators.” They’re inclined to “rock the boat” as Jesus did.
“He was a dreamer who saw life as process with progress,” my pop says. “He embraced the forgotten, the poor, the unknown.”
Which is why I’m bewildered by evangelical Christian leaders who embraced Donald Trump throughout his presidential campaign and continue to make excuses for him now.
Try to imagine a figure in American politics who is more un-Christlike than this billion-dollar spoiled brat.
Jesus advised, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”
Jesus advised, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
Jesus advised, “When thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men.”
Trump, on the other hand, says… well, you’ve already heard the lies and insults and threats and accusations, followed by more lies. I can’t bring myself to write his quotes alongside the quotes of Jesus.
I’ll just mention the wife of Ted Cruz, the family of Capt. Khan, the people of Puerto Rico, John McCain, Rosie O’Donnell, and the numerous women who have accused him of sexual misconduct as people who have experienced Trump’s brand of Christianity. And keep in mind he has never apologized or even taken responsibility for these actions.
This evangelical support reached a new level of bizarre when Pat Robertson – who I honestly thought was ten years dead – said the mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas was the result of “disrespect” for Trump. Really? Robertson might have had an argument if the attack had happened at an Eminem concert in Boston, but otherwise that is quite a stretch.
Under this rationale, one could argue the hurricanes in Texas and Florida and the wildfires in California represent God’s wrath for sending this blasphemous buffoon to the Oval Office.
People bring this up rhetorically but nowadays you seriously have to wonder: what WOULD Jesus say?
(October 22, 2017)