Sep 4, 2008

"Memo To Politicians: Let Jesus Rest In Peace" *

"Papa Doc" Duvalier (Haitian President, Multi-Denominational Spiritualist/Religionist and Murderous Despot)

+Vacables (Opportunist, Gafconning Grandstander, Latin American "nobody" and English Anglican Deconstructionist/Poacher)

Jefferson Davis (Confederate President, Slave Owner, Separatist/Destructionist and Warmaker Against Fellow Citizens Extraordinaire)

Evita Peron (Madonna, Best Dressed, Saint/Goddess and Lady of the Night)

Chea Guevara (Revolutionary, Martyr, Beloved Latin American Hero)

Susan Jacoby
Author and reporter

Memo To Politicians: Let Jesus Rest In Peace

"Oh no! Not On Faith too! These questions about what Candidate Jesus might stand for have no business in our presidential election. Any candidates, liberal or conservative, who have managed to convince themselves that their policies would have been endorsed by Jesus are unfit for any public office.

I will leave aside the question of whether there really was a historical Jesus. As I have stated many times (much to the dismay of those who think find my atheism suspect on this ground), I think the available evidence suggests that there was a charismatic preacher named Jesus--a human being, not the son of God--in the first century in Judea. Whether that presumably historical Jesus bore any resemblance to the Jesus of the Gospel stories is another question altogether--and one that cannot be answered.

But let us assume--just for the sake of argument, my fellow atheists--that the preacher named Jesus did espouse many of the principles articulated in the Gospels. It is still utterly ridiculous to speculate about what any inhabitant of the earth in the first century would have thought about contemporary political issues. Would Jesus have been in favor of gay marriage? Well, those who see the twelve apostles as a band of happy gay brothers might think so. Would Jesus have opposed the war in Iraq? Well, Iraq was called Babylon in ancient times and Jesus's Jewish contemporaries were well aware of their ancestors' sufferings in the two periods of Babylonian exile. So perhaps Jesus would have liked to keep Babylon a.k.a. Iraq in the past and at a distance. And of course we can't know what Jesus would have thought about Islam, since Islam lay centuries in the future. And what about capital punishment? Jesus the man certainly couldn't have enjoyed being crucified, so perhaps he would be against the death penalty. On the other hand, the entire Christian story of salvation rests on this particular enaction of the death penalty.

This is all nonsensical speculation. One might as well ask what the Emperor Augustus would have thought about American foreign policy--and we certainly know more about Augustus, the historical figure, than we do about Jesus.

These kinds of hypothetical questions offer no useful solutions to contemporary problems that neither an itinerant Jewish prophet nor the ruler of the Roman empire could have imagined. Indeed, such questions are of dubious value when applied to indisputably historical figures, such as the framers of the Constitution, who are much closer, in time and knowledge, to our own era. The right-wing legal philosophy of judicial "originalism," in which judges like Antonin Scalia channel the original intent of the framers, is the secular equivalent of attempting to claim Jesus's sanction for 21st century public policy.

Enough with this silly speculation about what Jesus would have done. I am interested in what Barack Obama, and John McCain would do as president of the United States. And I am certain of one thing: neither of these candidates is the reincarnation of Jesus."

Note: I removed the name of Hillary Clinton that preceeded Barack Obama and John McCain and changed "none" to "neither" in the next sentence/LR).


fs said...

Well, I don't know. A friend drives a car with a "Jesus is a liberal" bumper sticker, and it's always struck me as pretty much the truth.

Bonnie said...

Hi Leonardo--I think with McPain we'll get 10% change if we even get that. Not acceptable. And as to Palin she is likely to introduce legislation to change the national emblem to an assault rifle.

With Obama we will hopefully get at least 50% change for the better.

In the weird bumper sticker department. A number of years ago some people in Colorado had: Jesus Christ is coming. And is he pissed.

Fred Schwartz said...


It is far less complicated for me. I do not want another Republican in the White House --- ever! It will take the democrats (or for that matter anyone but a Republican) years and years to unravel the stupid and failed policies of George W. Bush. It makes no never mind if you look at foreign policy or domestic policy or ethics or management or take your pick -- this president has so screwed up the presidency that I would prefer that another Republican not get within 10,000 miles of the White House. In fact, I would not want John McPain of Sarah Falin to even visit the White House let alone live there. In truth, the middle class may already be dead and just not know it. Certainly our international affairs looks like a bad night on a red light district nd it appears that we "caught something" to boot.
What I pray for is the John McPain and Sarah Falin get exactly what they deserve -- an all expense two week vacation to Rick Warren's House of Whorship.

fs said...

Hi, Bonnie. Since McCain voted with Bush 90% of the time, your 10% figure seems very logical. Isn't it amazing how the Republicans are all but ignoring the real-life concerns of the American people (jobs, health care, economy, environment)? The change they'll give us is a nice, fresh, new war.

an all expense two week vacation to Rick Warren's House of Whorship

Ha! Perfect, Fred.

For anyone else who couldn't take much of the RNC this week and so missed it, click here for the war-mongering revenge video of 9/11 they showed prior to McCain's speech, along with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann's apology for it. Very appropriate that they start out with shots of 1980's Iran. The message: kill them before they kill us. The crowd loved it.

Leonardo, if McSame wins the election, it'll be one one more reason dar gracias a Dios para habitar en Centroamérica.

Bonnie said...

Hi fs--Yes the economy is so completely and totally trashed. Lot of hard work ahead. I suspect many of us will feel the same sense of liberation and freedom as our San Joaquinian friends did when Schofield finally got deposed. Or are bishops dethroned?

In response to Palin's speech the dem's raised 10 million dollars. Yes!