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07 October 2005 @ 03:57 pm
What would Jesus do? Really?  
Alessandro Camon has written an excellent essay published today in Salon entitled: Rescuing Jesus. He put into words many of the things I've been thinking and other progressives have been saying about the religious right's use of Jesus to sanctify political ideas that he undoubtedly would disagree with.

Camon writes:

Jesus was a poor man. He started a movement of the poor, for the poor. This isn't socialist revisionism: This is what the Gospels say. Jesus defied authority, and spread a message of hope, tolerance, inclusion.

He said:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal ... For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

He also said:

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.


You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

And of course, he said:

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. (...) Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me.

Does this sound like the voice inspiring this administration? Or the voice they go out of their way to ignore?

I am happy to see progressive and moderate Christians speaking out about their beliefs and becoming more politically active as a group. They are also publishing books. And check out the Progressive Christian Blogger Network!I think it is high time for liberals and moderates of all religions to speak up about their moral values and how they relate to the political issues of our time. Religion, moral values, and ethics are certainly not the sole domain of the religious right!
(Deleted comment)
Tapatitapati on October 9th, 2005 02:06 am (UTC)
Re: Interesting article!
I've always been a believer in religious tolerance and at first my reaction to the so-called culture war was to think that we simply needed to explain ourselves better, to demonstrate tolerance, and to show respect for the right wing Christians' right to their beliefs.

Then I started reading some of their blogs a few months ago and saw that some subset of them really do believe that any separation between Church and State should be abolished and that some religions shouldn't be allowed, and that this should be factually a Christian State. (I think that if they get what they want they'll find that the new battle will be over which brand of Christianity.)

So now I think it's important to distinguish between the saner evangelicals who still do value religious freedom and tolerance and are more moderate in their views--even court them as voters--while defending ourselves vigorously from the fanatic fringe.

A neat trick, if we can pull it off!