I have watched American Protestant Xtians for many decades. I saw racism, misogyny, judgment, cancel culture, fear of science, communism, and any type of change, as well as the beginnings of a new grab for political power in the rise of the Moral Majority. I really shouldn’t have been shocked when, in 2016, they endorsed a politician who was a poster-boy for greed, theft, mendacity, white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, narcissism and immorality. He was going to give them their political supremacy back, and that was the ONLY thing that mattered. But now with QAnon and Covid on top of Trump-ism, I find myself wondering, once again: WHO is their Jesus?
They claim to love Jesus. They claim it using bullhorns, waving signs and flags, while trying to overthrow democracy. They claim it while declaring Jesus is their religious exemption to wearing masks. They claim that their god who insisted that “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR” is the Second Greatest Commandment (Mark 12:31) is the reason that they don’t have to . . . endure a minor inconvenience in order to not kill their neighbors.
If you love somebody, don’t you want to learn everything you can about that person? If you are truly following your god, wouldn’t you work to memorize his every instruction and follow every example? A huge number of American xtians in 2021 don’t worship the Jesus of the Gospels – not at all. The “Republican Jesus” memes aren’t just black comedy – they are literal truth.
Now, just to be clear, I don’t believe the Bible stories. I’m not even convinced that the Jesus of Nazareth described in the Gospels ever existed. But if I’m questioning a Fundamentalist about what they believe, I gotta cite chapter and verse for everything. It’s a requirement.
JESUS WAS BROWN-SKINNED. JESUS WAS NOT A CHRISTIAN.
Jesus of Nazareth was a Brown Jew. Yes, obviously. Jesus was a Semite. Brown skin, dark eyes, dark hair. He would not have recognized the term Christian. He was NOT white, he was not blue-eyed, he spoke Aramaic. (To the preachers who tried to convince a teenaged me that the King James Bible English was the language that Jesus, Paul, and the Apostles spoke – – I’m looking at you.)
You do know that this is the image of Cesare Borgia, don’t you?
JESUS WAS A REFUGEE
The family fled to Egypt to escape an unbearable situation in their home country. (Herod’s slaughter of the innocents.)
They returned from Egypt poor. Tradition from apocryphal sources (The Gospel of Thomas, Pseudo-Matthew and the Infancy Gospel of James) gives information about their time in Egypt, and says that they used all the gold, frankincense, and myrrh from the Magi to pay for the journey and lodging.
Matthew 25: 44-45 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “ There are more than 50 instructions in the Old and New Testaments that the foreigner, the alien, should be welcomed in, be fed, clothed, and given aid.
So why build a wall? Why strip young children from their parents and put them in cages? Why lobby to turn away Mexicans and Haitians and Afghanis and others? Your Bible says to bring them into your house and give them whatever they need.
JESUS WAS POOR
Jesus had a LOT to say about giving to the poor.
Matthew 25:34-36 “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
Mark 10:21-22 “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
Luke 3:11 “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
So why call those on welfare and food stamps lazy freeloaders and try to deny them aid? In fact, why do so many missions for the poor and homeless require the needy to listen to preaching while they eat their food? A large portion of Jesus’ message was about helping the those in need. Without judging, without converting.
JESUS PREACHED AGAINST THE WEALTHY
Jesus ranted about the rich a LOT. Why would Christians even want to be rich, when Jesus repeatedly said that rich people would not enter heaven? And PROSPERITY GOSPEL preachers!!! How do these guys even exist? Nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus even hint that “tithe to your church and god will reward you by increasing your bank balance”! There are poor xtians who gave their life’s savings to a ministry and ended up homeless. Preachers who cause that kind of suffering are the very embodiment of evil. Here’s one:
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Matthew 19:21 “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Mark 8:36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
Mark 10:25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
Matthew 13:22 “the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”
Luke 6:24 “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.”
Jesus paid his taxes and instructed his followers to do the same. Matthew 17:24-27, Matthew 22:15-22. If the churches would just follow their gods’ instructions, and pay taxes, America could easily have health care for all and free colleges, like Europe does. Jesus was big on healing and feeding people.
JESUS WAS NON-VIOLENT
Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.”
Matthew 5:39-40 “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.”
JESUS DID NOT SEEK POLITICAL POWER
John 18:36 “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
1 Peter 2:12 “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Nowhere in the Bible does it say “install Judges who will force religious rule upon a secular society”.
JESUS DID NOT SPEAK A WORD ABOUT ABORTION OR HOMOSEXUALITY
You know, two of the hot-button issues that makes xtian heads explode. In fact, in Jesus’ time, the Priests provided abortion services. All a guy had to do to abort a pregnancy is question whether his wife had been faithful. (The wife couldn’t ask for an abortion, she wasn’t considered human.) Numbers 5:11-21
Oh sure, Preachers will come back with all sorts of apologetics and explanations about how these verses don’t say what they seem to say. They’ll defend all of their actions and political stances, and try to school me on how these passages need to be “interpreted”. Don’t even start, guys. That interpretation crap is one of the reasons why I don’t believe the Bible is of divine origin. Every single day, people “interpret” passages from that book to make it say whatever they want.
Mark 12:31 “The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” At the end of the Good Samaritan story Jesus clarifies “neighbor”, and he described someone (who was an enemy that Jews were not allowed to speak to) who simply acted out of pure selflessness and love.
Your neighbor isn’t only people who look like you. People who worship like you. People who vote like you. Every other human being is your neighbor. Yes, even Democrats. There’s no place in the Jesus story for xenophobia, misogyny, racism, fear, separatism, power, money, selfishness, QAnon false prophets, spreading misinformation for political power or your desire to not be INCONVENIENCED.