Sunday, October 16, 2005

Rescuing Jesus

"This is a song that Charles Manson stole from the Beatles. We're stealin' it back."

The American Christian right has hijacked Jesus Christ. It has made him into a brand, a logo, a bumper sticker. It celebrates his suffering on the cross, but largely neglects what he had to say. It prefers an Old Testament God, a "Jealous God, visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children." It elevates success to proof of God's favor, and washes its hands of responsibility for the poor. It combines a self-righteous vision of Americans as the chosen people with shrill intimations of imminent apocalypse, to justify indifference to the rest of the world and to the planet itself.
Allessandro Cameron lays the smack down. Between this and Bill McKibben's coruscating Harper's article The Christian Paradox, it sounds like all the stuff I've been ranting about since last year's elections is starting to go mainstream.

(Of course, the UUs have known this forever; but who listens to the UUs?)

But we mustn't lose sight, in our righteous fury, of the inconvenient fact that these True Believers who are, de facto our enemies, are in fact our errant brothers and sisters. It's not so much that Jesus needs saving from the American Christian Right—Jesus is a big boy, and He can take care of Himself—but that the American Christian Right needs to be saved from Right-Wing American Christianity.

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