Hard-Headers Against Jesus
His column today, Hardliners for Jesus, is critical of the "Christianization" of the GOP, but a better case can be made for the "de-Christianization" of the Dems. Here's Meyerson:
As Christians across the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it's a fitting moment to contemplate the mountain of moral, and mortal, hypocrisy that is our Christianized Republican Party.Don't you just love it when non-Christians use our holiest days to attack our faith? Let's blast the Jews every Yom Kippur, the Muslims at Ramadan and don't forget the Buddhists ... uh, who don't really have a Big Deal Day.
There's nothing new, of course, about the Christianization of the GOP. Seven years ago, when debating Al Gore, then-candidate George W. Bush was asked to identify his favorite philosopher and answered "Jesus." This year, however, the Christianization of the party reached new heights with Mitt Romney's declaration that he believed in Jesus as his savior, in an effort to stanch the flow of "values voters" to Mike Huckabee.Meyerson obviously has never read Jesus, or he would understand the clarity of Bush's answer. I understand his point, because I was in his shoes. Before I became a Christian, a friend answered the same question the same way and I was mystified ... and not too impressed with him.
A few years later, I found myself highlighting words from Jesus and Paul in a small bible and giving it to my personal trainer, who was enthralled by Nietzsche. A year or so later he was coming to our church.
My concern isn't the rift that has opened between Republican political practice and the vision of the nation's Founders, who made very clear in the Constitution that there would be no religious test for officeholders in their enlightened new republic. Rather, it's the gap between the teachings of the Gospels and the preachings of the Gospel's Own Party that has widened past the point of absurdity, even as the ostensible Christianization of the party proceeds apace.It's a good thing Meyerson isn't concerned about any rift between how the GOP addresses religion and the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. Does Meyerson not know that the Founding Fathers very much had a religious test? It was, "You'd better be a Christian or you flunk the test." Concerns about Jefferson's lack of faith, which he very actively debunked when running, were more prominent in his day than the Romney questions are today.
Before Meyerson starts teaching to us about the preachings of the Gospel, Lord protect us!, we should pause to ask ourselves what the Dem's religious test is.
A few years ago, they didn't have much of one. We saw Bill going to church with the Biggest Bible Ever Seen, but since Roosevelt was very upfront in praying for victory in the war, Dems and religion gradually have parted ways, disaffecting countless religious Dems who have become Republicans.
This year, following their failure to address the concerns of morality voters in 2004 and 2006, the Dems very much have a religious test. They have all, or nearly all, professed their faith. They've made The Statement, then they've gone on to more important things, leaving faith behind ... until the next opportunity to Play Christian in front of a large black congregation.
We know by their actions faith is not a deciding factor in their lives, which gives many Dems comfort, just as we know faith is a big factor in the lives of most GOP candidates, Rudy and Fred notwithstanding.
The policies of the president, for instance, can be defended in greater or (more frequently) lesser degree within a framework of worldly standards. But if Bush can conform his advocacy of preemptive war with Jesus's Sermon on the Mount admonition to turn the other cheek, he's a more creative theologian than we have given him credit for. Likewise his support of torture, which he highlighted again this month when he threatened to veto House-passed legislation that would explicitly ban waterboarding.Meyerson doesn't know Jesus. He doesn't understand how infrequently he spoke of government. The Romans were occupying the Holy Land even as he lived, and Jews of the time expected the Messiah to be the guy who used God's power to toss them out, but all Jesus said of them was, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caeser's and render under God that which is God's." Hardly anti-war stuff.
Meyerson writes selectively of the Sermon on the Mount. Here's the full passage he lifted from:
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' "But I say unto you that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."Jesus is speaking quite personally here, guiding us in our relations with others. Did Meyerson want Bush to "turn the other cheek" and allow al Qaeda to strike our shores again after 9/11? And what would come of Dem funding from trial lawyers -- and what would come of John Edwards -- if the admonition against litigation were followed?
As for torture, it is good to remember that Christ and his apostles were the recipients of torture that goes far, far beyond anything Bush dreamed of. Did a one of them protest it as inhumane? No. It is not in the record. I don't say this to defend torture, but only to admonish people to use the Bible correctly; not doing so is offensive and dishonest.
Now Meyerson really winds up because it's not the War on Terror that's got his goat, it's how we treat our harmless, wonderful illegal immigrants:
But it's on their policies concerning immigrants where Republicans -- candidates and voters alike -- really run afoul of biblical writ. Not on immigration as such but on the treatment of immigrants who are already here. Consider: Christmas, after all, celebrates not just Jesus's birth but his family's flight from Herod's wrath into Egypt, a journey obviously undertaken without benefit of legal documentation. The Bible isn't big on immigrant documentation. "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger nor oppress him," Exodus says the Lord told Moses on Mount Sinai, "for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."Holy. Moley. Christmas celebrates Christ's family's flight to Egypt to escape Harrod's wrath? Where does he get this? It most certainly does not celebrate it. Even so, Joseph and Mary were of Israel and their flight from Harrod hardly reflects what's happening with our immigrants.
Worse, Meyerson is not up on his history of Israel. God protected his immigrants -- although he subjected them to 40 years in the wilderness and the generation from Egypt died off -- but if we follow this track of thinking very far, Meyerson's position is that the Mexicans should come here and slay every single person -- man, woman and child -- plus all their animals upon their arrival, as if they were Hebrews slaying all the Amalekites, as God commanded.
Come to think of it, if Meyerson is taking this tack, he'll have to accept the White Man's manifest destiny and its impact on Native Americans.
Anyway, the way America treats its illegals is Christian indeed. They have rights, health care, jobs, charity and lenient law enforcement. That doesn't mean that we can't enforce laws in a humane and effective manner.
Now Meyerson huffs up big and delivers his final glory pitch. Can you guess what it is? I bet you can!
We've seen this kind of Christianity before in America. It's more tribal than religious, and it surges at those times when our country is growing more diverse and economic opportunity is not abounding. At its height in the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan was chiefly the political expression of nativist Protestants upset by the growing ranks of Catholics in their midst.Yes, in this holiest of seasons, this bigot is accusing Christians of being racist murderers who take the laws into their own hand, lynching at will, killing little girls in their churches (friends of Condi Rice, BTW).
What was the party of the KKK? The Democrats. What was their faith? Who knows, but it wasn't any Christianity we would recognize this day ... although the members of the Westboro Baptist Church might -- but they have no support whatsoever in the Christian community.
Meyerson, of course, will never write so scathing a column about Muslims, nor will he ever admit that he and his party have their own faith, Secularism, and they are rudely and even violently evangelical about it.
Well, you know what they say: Love the sinner. Go back and read this column and see if there's a single ad hominem attack on the man. There is not, and I didn't have to make one edit. I just wrote it this way naturally, without profanity, without personal attack.
That, my friends, is because of the Spirit of Christmas. Meyerson might want to dip into it a bit and share it with his unbelieving, and often very rude, friends.