I don’t know if you’ve heard the term “Republican Jesus” or not, but you’ve seen the results of the thinking behind it all over the place. According to Uncyclepedia, “Republican Jesus is the central figure in the Republican religion” and is “most certainly white-skinned (as pictured right) even though he (unfortunately) comes from the Middle East.” The Jesus we read about in the Bible and Republican Jesus have some significant differences, mainly “The biblical Jesus preached at length about renouncing worldly possessions and giving to the poor. Republican Jesus believes that such handouts merely encourage the poor to be lazy, and that Christian charity is better practiced through massive tax breaks for the wealthiest citizens, who could then be expected to let the money “tinkle down” to the poor in the form of honest, if low-paying, jobs at upright Republican institutions like Wal-Mart.” Okay, that’s enough of that. But, the point is that in many churches this image of Republican Jesus reigns supreme. You can see it in the embrace of Ayn Rand by many Tea Partiers and Republicans. And, as I’ve stated earlier, Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism is about as far from what Jesus taught as a nice, juicy steak is from a turd. Watch this video of an interview with Rand and hear, in her own words, what she believed:
Now, someone explain to me how a message of utter selfishness jibes with the Gospel of Jesus? You can’t because it doesn’t and it never will. But, there’s a reason they came up with this Republican Jesus. The Gospel, as it is written in the Bible is a message of hope to the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed. If it’s read and understood properly, it’s a scary story for someone even moderately prosperous. Don’t think so? In the parable of the vineyard, everyone gets paid the same, no matter how long they worked. When some of the workers complain, the owner says:
“But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I did you no wrong. Didn’t I agree to pay you a denarion? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I want to give to this one who was hired last the same as I give to you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you resentful because I’m generous?’ 16 So those who are last will be first. And those who are first will be last.”
That story, which at the beginning of Jesus likens to the Kingdom of Heaven, basically says that in that kingdom everyone will be the same. In fact, it says that those who are on top will be lowered and those who are on the bottom with elevated. That kind of thing doesn’t set well with folks, especially with folks that have scraped up some stuff. We want to keep our stuff and we want to be better than somebody else; our egos don’t understand anything else. And, if you continue reading the Gospel, you won’t find a place where Jesus says “Gather up all your stuff and hoard it.” What you will find is “Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.” That message is just as hard to hear today as it was when Jesus said to that rich, young man. And, that’s why we have this creation called Republican Jesus. Rather than follow this hard, narrow way that demands such sacrifice, people have made up a figure that allows them to be selfish, to hoard their good fortune and shit on anyone less fortunate than they’ve been. But I firmly believe that, one day, they’re going to get it. And, that’s when we’ll begin to see the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth.