Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Edwards: Jesus Would Be Appalled.

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:37 PM Permalink

From the AP Huffpost:
Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards says Jesus would be appalled at how the United States has ignored the plight of the suffering, and that he believes children should have private time to pray at school.…Edwards, in an interview with the Web site Beliefnet.com, said Jesus would be most upset with the selfishness of Americans and the country's willingness to go to war "when it's not necessary."…"I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs," Edwards told the site. "I think he would be appalled, actually."
This has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. I am a lapsed Methodist with no formal ecumenical education, but as some wise man once said, "…we hold these truths to be self-evident…", and the truth is the religious right that forms bush's base, that hardcore 26%-29% of the people for whom bush can do no wrong, apparently don't have the foggiest idea who Jesus was and what he represents to true believers who wish to emulate him.

By way of reminder and to contrast the beliefs of Jesus to those of the rabid religious right, there's this:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Nowhere in these beautiful words or in the ideals they represent, do I find any of the actual practices and policies expressed by the Republican party and its religious followers.

I don't see any call for hating someone for the color of their skin, their race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. There is no indication that gay persons must be discriminated against and denied the right to share their lives and love together. I don't see anything calling for discrimination against anyone for any reason. I don't see a calling to condemn the religion of a billion people as barbaric, cruel, or the mark of evil.

I can't find any justification for attacking and making preemptive war against any country we think may attack us. There doesn't seem to be any command to bankrupt a great nation through the folly of war. I can't find anything that would inspire presidents to cut funding for health, education, welfare, the poor, the elderly, and the least among us for any reason, much less for the reason of needing the money to continue to pursue war.

I can't find within these words a calling to kidnap citizens of other countries innocent of any wrong-doing and torturing them until they lose their identities and their minds. I don't see where the chief executive of a country should feel free to violate the most basic precepts of human rights and dignity. I can't find any reference to that executive's right to make people disappear or be forever held in confinement without any exercise of justice. Nor can I find in these beautiful words any justification for ordering the extra-judicial killing of purported enemies. World domination in the pursuit of oil is nowhere to be found.

I do, however, find reason to be deeply ashamed of our leaders and the leaders of the mega-churches that routinely call for doing all the things I mentioned above and more.

But, hey, what do I know? I'm no religious scholar and therefore in no position to say that Jesus meant the things he said and that he intended these words from a pure heart to actually be a meaningful guide for the world.

Many, many people in the GOP and in the mega-churches sure don't appear to place any faith or credence in these simple words, and in fact seem committed to actively ignoring Jesus' words.

I wonder why?

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