Wednesday, April 27, 2005

thoughts on GOP Christian politics...

read a good editorial by Jack Hitt in yesterday's LA Times. He attacks "Evangelical Christians" and other religious group members for robotic adherence to their leadership. it's a common habit of individuals to take the easy way out and agree with the prepackaged opinion of whatever group we've already identified ourselves with. it's the KISS method, right?

the problem is that buying this package of beliefs engenders an intolerance, hypocrisy, and dogmatism which is not faithful to Jesus' words...
a few excerpts:


"...When the pope died, CNN's Wolf Blitzer introduced former Clinton aide Paul Begala and right-wing pundit Robert Novak this way: "Bob is a good Catholic; I'm not so sure about Paul Begala." At the bottom of the screen, CNN ran an informative factoid for the audience: "Many Catholic doctrines are conservative."

note: "catholic" means "universal". so if you're Catholic but not a "good Catholic", what are you? (I detect some "moral relativism" here.)

"...Jesus provoked his followers into thinking for themselves. His preferred media outlet? A literary genre called the parable. It's a style of Q&A wherein the teacher doesn't give the answer but challenges the listener with a half-finished story that forces him to think through to the answer by himself. The radical right has swapped out this genius preacher for some easy listening. They insist that everything will be fine if we just nail the Ten Commandments above every courthouse.

Curious. Jesus updated the Ten Commandments in his most famous speech, the Sermon on the Mount. In it, one finds the Eight Beatitudes. Why don't we ever hear about nailing those somewhere? Here's why: It's not simply the law in the Ten Commandments that attracts fundamentalists. Rather, it's the syntax. The authoritarianism of so many "Thou Shalt Nots."

The Jesus who speaks in the Gospels is nothing like the fuming Republican Jesus I see on TV now. Jesus was a leader who understood that ambiguity and doubt are not to be feared but are, simply, facts of life that a great teacher exploits to guide his followers on their own paths toward conviction and belief.

Here is a quote from Jesus that you almost never hear: "What do you think?" It's right there in the Bible. Jesus asks this question all the time.

One parable Jesus taught was this one, from Matthew: "What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' And he answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, 'I go, sir,' but did not go." Jesus' disciples all strenuously raised their hands. They knew the answer! The first son was the most virtuous!

Whereupon Jesus (whose sense of humor is underrated) replied: "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you."

something to think about, eh? anyway, I'm content to wait and let others go into the kindgom of God before me :)

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