Sweet Jesus, they would have you believe, was some kind of monster -- a homicidal, pathological and delusional figure bent on the destruction of all those unlike him.
Why would they make him the fall guy for their incalculable evil? Is it because he was such an unabashed liberal?
But apparently I missed some sort of biblical memo... one received by some pretty creepy characters. And here's the proof:
George W. Bush said God told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq! More Specifically,
"God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me, I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."
So according to Bush:
1) He is too immense a coward to take responsibility for his actions and therefore needs the higher authority of 'God's will' to validate his decision.
2) The U.S. Elections are more important than God's will.
Adolf Hitler's pathologically warped mind rationalized that Jesus was an 'Aryan opponent of the Jews' and thus Hitler's atrocities were merely the will of the lord -- a surreal and monstrous interpretation if ever one existed, but it suited his purpose, once again deferring to a 'higher power' to 'legitimize' atrocity.
Jerry "God-Speaks-through-me" Falwell, In an interview conducted by Pat Robertson on a September 13, 2001 telecast of the 700 Club laid blame for the September 11th attacks:
"The ACLU has got to take a lot of blame for this. And I know I'll hear from them for this, but throwing God...successfully with the help of the federal court system...throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools, the abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked and when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad...I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who try to secularize America...I point the thing in their face and say you helped this happen."
And Pat Robertson responded to Falwell's atrocious and retarded statement with a simple, "I totally concur!"
Christopher Columbus... yeah, the one whose 'day' we celebrate in October and the one who has been erroneously credited with 'discovering' the New World... Well, he was a self-proclaimed pious Christian who used that as a shield for the tyranny he wrought over his subjects.
Christopher Columbus was a despot who ruled his subjects with an iron fist, according to documents which have emerged 500 years after his death.
The man who discovered America for Europe routinely tortured slaves and starved his subjects in colonies on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.
The 46-page document shows Columbus and his brothers Bartholme and Diego as tyrants who ruled through summary justice without bothering with trials. They also failed to give out food and water. They also forbade natives to be baptized so that they could used as slaves, according to witnesses claims. Ms Varela says the documents show Columbus' "immense greed". Columbus was arrested, stood trial and was dismissed as viceroy of Santo Domingo and governor of the Indies.
And then there's the unfathomable carnage wrought by the Inquisition (hosted by Ferdinand, Isabella and Pope Lucius III to 'maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms') and the Crusades (...'a series of military campaigns--usually sanctioned by the Papacy--that took place during the 11th through 13th centuries. Originally, they were Roman Catholic Holy Wars to recapture Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Muslims, but some were directed against other targets, such as the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars of southern France, the Northern Crusades, and the Fourth Crusade which conquered Constantinople.')
Heck, even the average right-wing extremist isn't exempt from this game:
Ruth Malhotra says her Christian faith compels her to speak out against homosexuality. But the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she's a senior, bans speech that puts down others because of their sexual orientation.
Malhotra sees that as an unacceptable infringement on her right to religious expression. so she's demanding that Georgia Tech revoke its tolerance policy.
Jesus said that? WTF!
And yes, I read the same bible everyone else did... I think. Guess I just interpreted it differently. Sure, there was some bizarre, conflicting gobbledygook in there that didn't make a lick o' sense (e.g. See Leviticus, the original crackpot), but in general, the gist was quite positive and Jesus was portrayed as a liberal, forgiving, nurturing, progressive libertarian.
Heck, Jesus wasn't even alleged to have written anything in the bible, so he never had the opportunity to defend himself against some of the bullshit that was written, concocted, or horribly misinterpreted hundreds or thousands of years later. Instead, the bible in its entirety was pasted together by various authors over a number of centuries. Each of these authors had an internal agenda (as everyone does) that corrupted any genuine historical data -- if ever any there was -- and warped many of the messages to conform to the contemporary societal fanaticisms of each given author.
Even if you don't believe Jesus ever existed or if you don't believe he was anything special, most people can agree that the overall message of Jesus as portrayed in most Sunday School teachings was one filled with love, kindness, gentility, forgiveness, and peace.
So why do so many self-proclaimed Christians feel compelled to destroy his once good name? How could they morph such a loving figure into one that incites hatred, bloodshed, and fear?
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that people choose to usurp the perceived power of 'Jesus' and 'God' for their own dubious agenda -- for power, invulnerability, and control.
Once actions are forwarded in the name of Jesus or God (or any other Godly figure for that matter), then there can be no questioning of those actions or criticisms of the rationales or methods incorporated, or even the means by which such goals are attained. They are in essence beyond human reproach. Or so the story goes amongst believers.
Most progressives understand this rationale. In particular, Progressive Christians feel the eternal pain caused by the right-wing hijacking of Christianity for their 'Strict Father' agenda.
In the wingers world-view, references to 'Christianity' have little to do with the way progressives view faith, religion, and God. This is because the intense religiosity pushed by the radical right is a 'Strict Father' version of Christianity that portrays God as a ruthless ruler who commands control over his dominion. He is the ultimate authority, a punitive, demanding, vengeful God. Not 'God' as progressives perceive -- an unconditionally loving, caring, nurturing God. In fact, the Strict Father view of Christianity bears little resemblance to anything most people find endearing to faith and their framing has little to do with Christianity or religion itself. It has EVERYTHING to do with the way that Christianity/Religion is perceived and put into practice.
In this version of Christianity, God serves as the ultimate 'Strict Father'. In a 'Christian Nation' the 'Strict Father' (Heretofore referred to by its initials SF) version of God becomes the virtual governing body -- instilling the SF Morality into the very structure of law. Thus, the SF God becomes a stand-in for 'Strict Father' Morality in government, punishing progressives and rewarding staunch conservatives. In effect, their use of Christianity is but one more opportunistic move to promote a radical conservative agenda.
The SF God would serve as the 'morality police' -- the 'Thought Police' -- there for one reason -- to ensure that SF morality is strictly adhered to -- that the 'good' SFers are rewarded and that the 'bad' SFers are punished.
In the end, SF Christianity offers a means of control over society -- "Control" being the highest priority of the "Strict Father".
So the lesson here might be that the institutions of religion, national sovereignty, or ethnic culture that sometimes attract the hatred of the masses do so not necessarily because of anything innate to that institution, but rather because of the way in which various individuals or groups decide to implement the institution as a symbol to protect themselves from the scrutiny of reason, compassion, and reality.
So don't blame Jesus for the evils of those who hide like cowards behind his image. Do blame the cowards and hold them accountable -- the Bushs, Falwells, Robertsons, Hitlers, Columbuses, Malhotras, inquisitors, and crusaders.
Blame them, may they burn in Hell.
(COMING UP NEXT: "Don't Blame America")