Christians who hate Christ

  • Posted on: 26 May 2008
  • By: non-embedded jo...

It is not typically my style to write editorials or news stories about religion. Religion typically inspires people to emotional reactions rather than intellectual thought, however this time I have a point about America's political and corporate leadership that requires me to examine what the Bible said and how loyally the Republicans and Right-Wingers have followed the dictates of Jesus Christ.

 

You see, the Republicans of my lifetime (1966 up until present day) have been very fond of claiming that the Christian God is on their side and that they're doing the Lord's work. George W. Bush even went so far as to claim that his favorite philosopher was Jesus Christ. But really, when you read the words of Jesus Christ how well do the Republicans walk the walk? What would Jesus Christ say about Republicans such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush or Rush Limbaugh?

In our search for answers, let us look to the book of Matthew. In chapter 19 we see a rich man ask Jesus what he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life. Jesus advised the rich man that he would need to sell all of his possessions, give his money to the poor and then follow Jesus.

The rich man refused to do this and Jesus indicated that it is very difficult for a rich man to enter heaven, making his famous quote that it easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. In Matthew Chapter 26 Jesus's disciples indicate that they have a a habit of raising money so that they can give it to the poor. What does this all tell us so far? Well, obviously Jesus was very concerned about the welfare of the poor and the less fortunate. He encouraged those who wanted to be his followers to recognize their obligation to assist the poor and needy people in society.

 When the rich man in Matthew Chapter 29 refused to give money to the poor, Jesus indicated that his chances of getting into heaven were either slim or non-existent. However the most famous leaders of the Republican party take the opposite view. According to them, giving money or assistance to the poor is "socialism" or "communism". And even pointing out the disparity between the rich and poor is "class warfare". While liberals, Democrats and labor unions work hard to help the poor and the unfortunate, the Republicans and the Right-Wingers have worked hard to protect the wealthy and worked hard to keep the poor voiceless, powerless, exploited and unprotected. So, the Republicans do the OPPOSITE of what Jesus said to do, and yet the Republicans take credit for being the party of Jesus Christ and Christianity. How do they get away with that? It gets worse when we look at the book of John. In John Chapter 2 we see that a group of greedy capitalists is in the Jewish Temple selling oxen, sheep, doves and changing money.

 

This pissed Jesus off and he chased the greedy capitalists out of the temple with a scourge of small cords (a whip basically), overturned their tables, spilled their money out onto the floor and screamed at them for turning a house or worship into a place for making money. And ... isn't that really what Republicans like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have done? Taking advantage of the tax breaks that churches receive in America, Pat Robertson has bought up real estate, a law school, invested in diamond mines and gold mines, sold books and health drinks on his TV show and (of course) begged his viewing audience for money.

 

Jerry Falwell has used his preaching to become a millionaire and Pat Robertson is said (he won't release his financial information) to be a billionaire. What would Jesus (who angrily chased greedy capitalists out of the temple) have to say about Falwell and Robertson using Christianity to get rich? 2000 years ago people like Falwell and Robertson were described as "money lovers", who "devoured the houses of the widows" and were more concerned about keeping their traditions than caring for the aged or the needy. Jesus had no respect for men like Falwell or Robertson. He would have gladly chased either one of them with a whip and banned them from any house of worship. If the Jesus of the gospels were to come to America today, the Republican Party would label him as a "liberal" and a "socialist" and a "communist". He would be insulted and attacked by Fox News and the White House Press Secretary. Rush Limbaugh would accuse him of "class warfare" for Jesus's attempts to act as an advocate for the poor and would call Jesus a "communist" and "un-American".

Jesus was never an advocate for the rich. He was an advocate for the poor, the unfortunate and the voiceless. So why do people like George W. Bush (advocates for the millionaires and billionaires) get away with claiming that Jesus guides them in everything they do?

Comments

This gets to the heart of the hypocrisy of those who say they are Christian, and then immediately act the opposite.

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"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

          -- Mahatma Gandhi

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Ghandi had it right on the money with that one.

Mahatma Gandhi was a Hindu, but he lived his life emulating the actions of Jesus Christ FAR better than Bible thumping "Christian leaders" such as Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell!

And what would Jesus say to George Bush?  Bush claimed that Jesus Christ was his favorite Philosopher!  But rather than follow Jesus's philosophy of non-violence and giving money to the poor, Bush killed over a million Iraqi civilians, gave billions of dollars to his wealthy friends and enacted federal policies that drove millions of middle class Americans into poverty!

If being a Christian means emulating Jesus Christ, than Mahatma Gandhi (a Hindu) was a much better Christian than Bible thumpers like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell or George W. Bush!

That's why some of us prefer to call ourselves Jesus followers rather than Christians. Too much negative baggage with that word.

I believe that all people, including Christians, are called by God to be "repairers of the Earth". Which is actually something from the Jewish tradition iirc.

Jesus did advocate for the poor, but didn't hate rich people either as has been implied by other comments.
He did heal people (but not all people) But in my mind the important thing to remember is that Jesus -because He was the visible expression of the invisible God, is LOVE. So anyone who purports to love Him should find a way to sinc up with the rhythm of love that is GOD and treat others with love and respect. THe more they listen for that still small voice, the easier doing that will become.
Christianity or Jesus is NOT a political party! It should be a paradigm of love.(for ALL people - even those who are hard to love!)we don't get to pick and chose who our neighbor is...we are called to love our neighbor!
http://contexts.org/pubcrim/files/2009/03/love_thy_neighbor.jpg

As Terry Eagleton once put it, "Jesus hung out with whores and social outcasts, was remarkably casual about sex, disapproved of the family ... urged us to be laid-back about property and possessions, warned his followers that they too would die violently, and insisted that the truth kills and divides as well as liberates. He also cursed self-righteous prigs and deeply alarmed the ruling class." I might add he also seemed to love parties. Though it may be impossible to know definitively who the "real Jesus" was -- when it comes to it, how much do we know about ANY historical figure of that long ago? -- the best evidence suggests he was, if nothing else, one of history's great counterculture activists.

The Jesus of the Religious Right, on the other hand, is a later construction whose antecedents begin with the fusing of Christianity and imperial statecraft in the fourth century. Note, for example, how the Nicene Creed skips -- in one sentence! -- from Jesus' birth to his death without mentioning any of his counterculture teachings. This is not an accident. For those interested in learning more, I recommend theologian John Howard Yoder's "The Politics of Jesus."

The next time a Republican is running for election (or re-election) and they try to claim that Jesus Christ is their favorite philosopher or that Jesus Christ would endorse them, or that they are the "Jesus candidate" I think they should be forced to answer the following seven questions:

1. In the Bible, Jesus was an advocate for the poor.  Do you intend to use your political office to be an advocate for the poor?

2. In the Bible, Jesus and his followers raised money and gave it to the poor.  Do you intend to use your political office to raise money and give it to the poor?

3. In the Bible, Jesus healed the sick and the injured and never asked those he healed for any money in return.  Will you use your political office to provide the same sort of free medical service for people?

4. In the Bible, Jesus fed large numbers of people (fishes and loaves) and never asked for any money in return.  Do you intend to use your political office to provide free food for those in need?

5. In the Bible Jesus strongly condemned those who used religion as a way to make money and he punished them severely for doing so.  Do you intend to use your political office to punish those who make a financial profit from religion?

6. In the Bible Jesus spoke up to protect a woman who had committed adultery and kept her from being harmed by those who thought she was somehow "unclean" or a "slut" or a "sinner".  Have you ever spoke out in defense of women who were threatened by men that accused her of being a slut or a whore?  And do you intend to use your political office to defend such women in any way?

7. Jesus's friends were all working class people, such as fishermen, carpenters and prostitutes.  Are your friends all working class people? 

If the political candidate cannot answer all seven questions with an honest "Yes", then he's a shameless liar for claiming that he's the "Jesus candidate" or that Jesus is his favorite philosopher and every newspaper, radio disc jockey, TV news show and blogger in America should publicly denounce him as such.

I would recommend you read "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" by Max Weber. This is a classic sociology perspective on how righteousness became associated with worldly wealth in the United States and elsewhere.

You may also benefit from checking out Thorstein Veblen.

Jesus was never an advocate for the rich. He was an advocate for the poor, the unfortunate and the voiceless. So why do people like George W. Bush (advocates for the millionaires and billionaires) get away with claiming that Jesus guides them in everything they do?

I'm not sure where you received your "education" on what the NT has to say about socio-economic and political matters, but your analysis could not be more wrong.

First off, no serious Christian ought to claim one political party equates with our faith. If they do, and you have direct quotations to back your claims up, then I denounce those words/actions, even as a proudly conservative evangelical Christian (who happens to vote Republican). My bible-centric worldview has led me to the cultural and political conclusions I've reached...not the other way around.

Now, to your exegesis of those passages. Christ confirming that obsession with worldly riches will mess with someone's understanding of how badly they need Him and need His salvation is NOT the same as saying that people who have money or make money is the same as being against Christ. That rich man's heart was perverted and had an idol in the place of God. Poor people have idols too. Middle-class people have idols. Sometimes those who dont' have money make money their idol just as much as people who do have lots of it. The important thing to remember in our life is that Scripture teaches we should give without ceasing to those who have less, and never envy or covet those who have more.

In John when Jesus drove out the traders from the Temple, it wasn't the fact that people were conducting business that irked our Savior...it was that they were doing it in the Temple. In God's house. Barack Obama spoke from the pulpits of black churches during his campaign and said, "Vote for me and help bring in a new kingdom of God." No one said a word there. Why? Because he is black, and because he is a liberal Democrat that wraps himself in the notion that it is somehow more "compassionate" or "Christian" to take money from other citizens and give it to others he feels deserve it more.

The call to give to the least among us is a call for the church and the individual Christian...NOT the government. When the government takes over charity and welfare the person administering that help to the poor is not allowed to tell those in need about Christ...the REASON we do it in the first place if we are Christians. Neither party has a claim on God's favor, but neither party is free from charges of using God's name for their political purposes. The truth is what matters, not parties or votes or Obama or Palin or anyone in between. God made us as unique individuals and we are called to work for what we have. The poor in Scriptures are often described as widowers, disabled people, and orphans. Not able-bodied dudes in the inner city or lazy hill-billies in the south. Work hard, pray daily, and raise money to help those in need privately so we can tell people about Christ (the MOST IMPORTANT thing of all).

You claimed, above, that

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Barack Obama spoke from the pulpits of black churches during his campaign and said, "Vote for me and help bring in a new kingdom of God." No one said a word there.
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Why do you say such things? That never happened; Obama never did that.

On the other hand, the entire push from the GOP -- particularly for the previous administration -- has utilized and cultivated ministers and pulpits across the nation to attempt to keep themselves in power.

Are you simply projecting the GOP's irreverent, hypocritical use of religion in politics onto the Obama campaign and Administration?

Your attempts to claim that the government control of social welfare programs betray a complete lack of understanding behind ~why~ such programs were needed in the first place and why they are as successful as they are -- as well as why they are as vehemently opposed by the Religious Reich and the GOP.

The programs help the poor, who were ~not~ being helped by independent or private endeavors. The programs also helped to correct many injustices that were built into the system by the "haves" that perpetually prevented others from being able to pursue the American dream.

You really need to take a step out from the myopic talking points and take a good look around, and at history.

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

Matthew 6:24

People like Pat Robertson and George W. Bush obviously serve money. The idea that they can serve both money AND God is disputed by the New Testament.

And since people like Pat Robertson and George W. Bush do NOT serve God they should stop going on television and lying about it. Neither one of them serves God, and if they claim that they do, they are LYING!

"lazy hill-billies in the south."

You claim to be Christ like (Christian), yet your response simmers with hatred of the poor. Was Jesus hateful of the poor? Did he condemn any one other than religious leaders? Any person in any physical condition can be impoverished. Just because a person is disabled or elderly does not necessarily mean they live in poverty either. The American chirstian church deposed Jesus & worships money and political power.