Monday, November 14, 2005

Cathy's World: Jesus is just a liberal, alright with me?

Cathy's World:
" Although Regas called his sermon "If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush," he didn't imagine Jesus sitting there awkwardly on a third stool, like Ross Perot, but as a presence directly criticizing only Bush, never Kerry. (Although you'd think, just out of curiosity, Jesus might have asked what really happened on those Swift boats.)

Instead, Regas' Jesus scolds the president: "President Bush, you have not made dramatically clear what have been the human consequences of the war in Iraq," adding, "now the latest figures say 100,000 Iraqi fighters, women and children are dead." And: "Jesus turns to President Bush again with deep sadness. 'Is what I hear really true? Do you really mean that you want to end a decade-old ban on developing nuclear battlefield weapons?' "

Leaving aside the odd notion of Jesus getting information by checking "the latest figures" (wouldn't he just know?) or hanging around the water cooler ("Is what I hear really true?"), Regas' Jesus is quite a policy wonk. According to the sermon, Jesus is pro-choice, against the Iraq war and vehemently disapproves of the Bush tax cuts (that "50% of the tax savings goes to the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans" would "break Jesus' heart," according to Regas). He's in favor of good prenatal care, "dignified jobs" (does carpentry count?) and affordable housing. I'm curious what he thinks of gerrymandered voting districts, electricity regulation and making it easier to fire bad teachers, but maybe Jesus isn't really into California politics.

"How Jesus mourns the death of those 3,000 people killed on 9/11," Regas continues. "But Jesus also mourns the death, devastation and loss in Afghanistan and Iraq and Sudan and Israel-Palestine…." Then he conjures up Jesus again: "At the time of the trauma of 9/11," Jesus says, "you did not have to declare war. You could have said to the American people and the world, 'We will respond, but not in kind.' "

Just how Bush should have responded, Jesus doesn't say. But I'd like to know how Regas would have channeled Jesus' foreign policy ideas about Pearl Harbor, for instance, or the Holocaust. Presumably Jesus would have thought the latter, at least, merited some kind of action — if only to keep it from leading to what Regas calls "Israel-Palestine" instead of just Palestine.

"Mr. President," Regas' Jesus continues, "the consequences of arrogance, accompanied by certitude that the world's most powerful military can cure all ills…." And blah-blah-blah-blabbity-blah. This Jesus is awfully wordy, not at all like the terse prophet you may remember from the Bible. Regas apparently thinks Jesus would sound rather like Cindy Sheehan blathering on to the Huffington Post, or maybe like one of John Kerry's speechwriters.

And if Regas had been around when the Gospels were written, they'd probably include lines like, "Father, forgive their consequences, for their ignorance is accompanied by certitude. "
Blessed are the moderates, for they shall see both sides.

1 comment:

Rich said...

Regas's Jesus is just a very silly and shallow update of the old and very exhausted "search for the historical Jesus". The old "search for the historical Jesus" was no such thing. It was actually a search for a mythological Jesus, a Jesus abstracted from real history and from the Old Testament. It was a search for a Jesus who was Greek, or Roman, or German, but always for a Jesus who is a mirror image of who I already am. Western liberalism has become western narcissism and culminates everywhere in our worship of ourselves. The "search for the historical Jesus" was part and parcel of this great selfist quest, and must mute Jesus, who is the great challenge to me-ism by commanding that we worship Him. Hence, how amazing that every quest for Jesus by German universities only turns up...me. How convenient. The "search for the historical Jesus" ended with Schweitzer's famous dictum about every Jesus being found in these searches being little more than a reflection of the searcher himself. Roman Catholic critic George Tyrrell summed up Schweitzer's conclusions in his 1909 book, _Christianity at the Cross Roads_, and he said, "The Christ that Harnack sees, looking back through nineteen centuries of Catholic darkness, is only the reflection of the Liberal Protestant face, seen at the
bottom of a deep well" (44).

To mute Jesus and make him like myself, he must be removed from being rooted in the Old Testament text, which sets the whole stage for this God who is quite other than me or from the whole of the pantheistic ancient world. So, every source possible in the whole of the ancient world was ransacked so Jesus roots were anything but Moses and the Prophets. As a result, the western liberal is cut off from everything that would keep him from caving in on himself, and worshiping himself.

The result is that now on three occasions, western liberalism in its embrace of selfism has been blinded to radical evil, and is sure that terrible and evil enemies are really, once again, only images of us, and therefore at heart--nice folks. Thus, Hitler is not really so bad, and can always be negotiated with. Stalin is not really so bad, and can be negotiated with. And, Islamo-fascism is not really so bad, and can be dealt with. In each case, the faults of the enemy are always a result of their having been victimized, and thus must be understood. In each case, "fellow travelers" become de-facto allies
of all of the aims of those who expicitly state that they intend to destroy them.

In each of these cases, emasculated liberal churches are at the forefront. In each of these cases, one of the concommitants is radical and virulent anti-Jewish sentiment, which is not embraced by the western liberal, but to which they become de-facto allies. The Jew must be hated because he stands for Torah, and Jesus cannot be rooted in the Torah, but must always be a reflection of what I already am.

The great boogie man is now the Fundamentalists "desire to impose a 'theocracy' on the nation". This is the horror of horrors, and only need be hinted to bring terror. But oddly, defacto the alternative is support for a renewed Arab Caliphate by what will not
be opposed. Surely the "real Islam" is moderate, like the western liberal.

In running from the "otherness" of the Jewish Jesus who is rooted in the revelation of Moses and the Prophets, we do not escape to dreamy world of comfortable selfism, but to Hitler's destruction of Europe, Stalin's gulags, and a renewed world of Sharia.

Interesting Stuff