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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Jesus of History vs The Christ of Conservatives

Jesus upset the business of crooked capitalists
Jesus of Nazareth, whom many Conservatives worship as their “Savior”, was a man surrounded by the working class. He himself is believed by many to have been, among other things, a carpenter.  This was a man who understood the predicament of the Mary Magdalenes of his world. He did not look down his nose at fishermen among whom he moved easily, his buddy Peter being one of them. He got Matthew, a tax collector, to leave a profession that many saw as oppressive and join him in the work of liberation. Jesus stood up for the poor, as his embrace of that well read mission statement from Isaiah 61 shows. The good news he proclaimed to the poor was bad news for those who gained from keeping things the way they were.

There is no doubt in my mind that today’s Conservative would condemn this Nazarene’s “social gospel” as unadulterated Marxism. His relationship with the political leadership and its economic partners was by no means a comfortable one. Remember that incident with the “money changers” in the temple? These economic vampires were using their monopoly of the currency supply to make exorbitant profits, charging “whatever the market would bear” for coins that the people needed to pay their annual Temple tax. Jesus physically threw them out of the Temple after branding them “thieves”. Days later these same bankers called for his death. How dare he do anything to compromise their hard earned profit margins. 

According to Bloomberg, the average CEO makes 204 times the salary of the average employee. Is this what we mean in fact when we spout off about “American exceptionalism”? How long will civility hold when the social contract engendered by our economic relationships continues to guarantee the fecundity of the few at the expense of the many? Simply put, how long can we expect that the poor will accept that their lot in this life is to be fodder for the ambitions of the greedy rich? 

It is crystal clear to me that the Christ of Conservatives is most definitely not the Jesus of History.

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