Sunday, April 09, 2006

Palm Sunday

Two millennia ago, my Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, rode into Jerusalem on the Hosannas of the Jews there. Garments were rent and placed on the ground, along with palm fronds, in a signal honor to Jesus. Mind you, this was a political statement, the one and only political statement Jesus was ever to make.

A political statement. If you recall, it was during the following week that He went to the temple and overturned the moneychangers' tables. After this, the Sanhedrin had determined that Jesus was to be a bigger problem than they feared ("Messiahs" were a dime a dozen in those days) and had him arrested and tried for the blasphemy of claiming to be the Son of God (Mark 14, in particular verses 61-62).

His fate was sealed before he even rode into Jerusalem, for this was a conscious decision on His part to reveal His true self and to take on the powers that be, the corruption and degradation of the church, and those who permitted it and the Romans who encouraged it. All this, knowing full well He would die for this and with His death, redeem those who believe in Him.

If you believe that, of course.

I say "my Christ" to distinguish Him from the Christ that is so easy to mock, the one the Religious Right carries around on a false banner of purity, a band aid that does not cover their sucking wounds of blasphemy. It's interesting that Christ's most memorable words, his speeches and allegories, deal with poverty and humility, tolerance and peace, while the "Christian" Coalition can only use His words to warp love and diminish peace.

Sadly, I get lumped in with them by those whose fear of the unknown forces them to mock the possibilities that the greatness we've seen around us, the beauty of life and the sanctity of the planet and the universe, could be a creation. Yes, believing in a God is a cop-out, I can see that point, but I can also look at a painting by Da Vinci, or Michelangelo, and see God's work. Religion inspires war. God inspires art. And music. And writing.

It is this relationship that made me realize that the problem isn't with God, it's with man. Jesus' teachings are pretty clear: be nice to other people, shun the material in life for the spiritual, and through your faith in Him and the Father, you can claim heaven. He says nothing about judging other people or banning gay marriage, or supporting an illegal war (one can only imagine how He rolls his eyes on that one.)

Meanwhile, the blasphemers preach from their crystal churches and multimillion dollar pulpits with the webcams and the large screens for those in the back, and talk about humility as if it is something to be denigrated, to be mocked, all the while they force the flock to vote like sheep for this candidate or the other and speak of eternal damnation for those who rebel.

The moneychangers have returned, and churches are no longer for praying, but for propaganda. The Antichrist does appear to be among us, but oddly, these folks seem to be assisting him.

My Christ, the Christ that rode an ass into Jerusalem, informed my life. He taught me that strength doesn't have to come from war, but that peace holds more strength than war ever could. There is more power in love than in hate. Hate eventually wears itself out, taking with it the hater. Love can only strengthen us. Peace can only strengthen us. The blasphemers would weaken us with fear and anger. We must instill peace back to people. Show them the love that Christ teaches us exists through Him, but through the world as well.

So...What does this all have to do with a blog that's basically a snarky political blog?

It's about values. Moral values. My Christ's values.

I wish we could see a Democrat ride in to "Jerusalem" and clear the moneychangers out. To remind people that America is greatest not when we are selfish and self-indulgent, but when we share and give to the least among us.

Think about it: the entire country has done better with taxes that were much higher than they are now. "Give unto Caesar"...This is not merely a spiritual call to arms, but it's simple, practical economics. Taxes create wealth for all, which means that those paying more taxes end up earning more than they do when taxes are low and jobs and employment is scarce.

Or to remind America that what our neighbors do in the privacy of their home is their business, because what we do in our own is ours. And who cares if what we're doing is "moral" and what they're doing might not pass our judgment: that's NOT our decision to make. Only Jesus can judge what any of us do. And yes, that includes two men or two women, and yes, that includes the heart-wrenching decision to terminate a pregnancy, for whatever reason under carefully established medical guidelines. Maybe partial birth abortions wouldn't be such a big issue if we didn't terrorize women about being pregnant in the first place. Jesus wouldn't do it, and we sure as hell shouldn't.

Or to remind America that national security really only comes when you respect the rights and sovereignty of other nations and don't try to impose our values and mores onto others.

Education should be a right, because through education, particularly science, we advance Jesus' work and make it truly our own. We don't have to fear knowledge. He gave us a brain, and we must use it for more than finding loopholes for our rich cronies in the Ten Commandments.

Healthcare should be a right, because as the poorest among us deserves that care as much as the richest. And hey, if that means having a nationalized health care program that the government pays for, well, maybe it's about time! Every other civilized nation has it and prima facie evidence indicates that our mortality rates suck compared to those nations. Jesus demands that we see to the least among us. Jesus would be pissed to see what's happened in America.

Remind America that God gave us this planet to shepherd, to care for, and that by allowing the Republicans to roll back the baby step environmental laws we established during the 70s and under Clinton is to turn our backs on Him and His Son.

Finally, remind Americans that leaders will lie to us, but we can hold them accountable for those lies. There's a system and that Dems, when confronted with the most ludicrous challenge to the actions of a leader, allowed the process to go forward, and didn't try to pervert the law of the land, based on His law, in order to protect our power. We put our faith in the intelligence of the people and the Lord's hands and guess what? We found out he was innocent!

If we only had a Dem to ride into "Jersusalem"...but sadly, I don't see one.

So maybe it's time you and I got on the donkey and did it ourselves...after all, isn't that What Jesus Would Do?

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