Republican politicians, especially those running for President, like to pander to their hard-core religious base by blathering about Jesus. But what do they really know about Jesus? Would they recognize him if he enrolled in ACA, snuck across the border with the Hispanic poor, or collected a meager welfare check like other poor people? Because that’s how Jesus lived his first life over 2000 years ago–among the poor, the disenfranchised, and the victims of tyrannical right-wing authority. I can’t see modern-day Jesus as a rich capitalist intent on ending aid to the poor, the old, the sick, and the helpless. I don’t imagine Him as a fanatical, open-carry gun nut giving rousing sermons misinterpreting the Second Amendment and singing the praises of the NRA. I can’t picture him as a FOX News contributor supporting white racist cops who gun down unarmed black people. I doubt that he would extol the benefits of corporate greed and the need to eliminate the estate tax so that the wealthy can be wealthier. I seem to remember real Jesus saying something about how difficult it would be for a rich man to enter His Father’s Kingdom.
So how and why can so many people be fooled by the GOP’s phony sanctimony and its religious hypocrisy? Don’t they read their Bible? I have, and nowhere in there does Jesus passionately defend trickle-down economics and AK-47s. Perhaps we do need The Second Coming to wake up GOP voters. Political comedian John Fugelsang proposed this very idea. He mused aloud about the consequences should the real Jesus return to earth to run for President. Here’s what he said:
“I’ve come to view Jesus the same way I view Elvis…I love the guy, [but] the fan clubs scare me…like GOP candidates. We hear them all talking about Jesus all the time. They invoke his name incessantly. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get the actual Jesus of Nazareth to come back and run for President on the GOP ticket? They can’t pick a frontrunner anyway, so wouldn’t the GOP love to get behind a peaceful, radical, nonviolent revolutionary who hung around with lepers, criminals and hookers? Who never spoke English? Who was not an American citizen? A man who was anti-capitalism, anti-wealth, anti-public prayer (yes, He was…see Matthew 6:5), anti-death penalty, but never once remotely said anything anti-gay, didn’t mention abortion, didn’t mention premarital sex? A man who never justified torture? A man who never called the poor lazy? Who never asked a leper for a co-pay? A man who never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes? And who was a long-haired, brown-skinned (that’s in Revelations), homeless middle Eastern Jew? Of course, that’s only if you believe what’s actually in the Bible.”
Can you imagine how the return of real Jesus would shake up conservatives? The point is, Republican candidates for the Presidency have no idea who Jesus really is. Or maybe they do, and like smarmy, snake-oil salesmen they are simply pandering to their Evangelical base. Either way, the real Jesus has already chastised them in unequivocal words:
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”
–Matthew 6:1 ESV
“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
–1 John 4:20 ESV