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Every so often religious topics make their way into the news. An example is today's Beacon reprint of Ross Douthat's totally undecipherable and nonsensical column about Hell. Hell has to exist, says the round mound of the New York Times, because otherwise Tony Soprano would be in heaven. Yeah, I don't get it either.
Since we're talking about fat, sloppy, obnoxious hellions.....I think we should consider yesterday's Rush Limbaugh comments about the Christian saviour, Jesus. The leader of the American conservative movement is not one you would automatically think of when discussing the Nazarene....but Limbaugh drug Jesus into his 3 hour daily hatefest, anyway.
Taxes and budget cuts, what would Jesus do? Well, what would Jesus take? That's the question people need to ask to put this in perspective. Of course the answer is, nothing. You want to start equating yourselves and your policies to Jesus Christ, you better first start asking, what did Jesus take, from whom, and how did he go about it? What was his plan for redistribution? Who were his targets?
See...Rushbo hates liberals. If you listen to the erectile dysfunctioned One, everything wrong with America has been brough about by liberals. Of course, the opposite is true.....everything great about America has been brought about by progressive and liberal American leaders and projects. From the freeing of slaves, to the beauty of our collective national parks, to child labor laws, to Social Security and Medicare......liberalism, and a sense of the common good has inspired all of it.
Liberals often point out the social justice emphasis in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Christian Bible. Rush hates that. As do a lot of other fundamentalist Christian leaders and pastors. Because Rush hates anything liberal....just like Coulter, Hannity, Levin, Beck, and all of Fox....the AM mouthpiece for the Republican Party, the party he "carries water for", concluded that what Jesus would "take" from Americans would be "nothing."
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, in a makeshift Bible study last evening, rightly pointed out that Rush was mistaken. Rush is mostly mistaken, and quite the liar....so nothing surprising there. O'Donnell reminded Rush that in the Gospels, Jesus mentions several times that he, or He, requires everything.....and specifically, he requires everything from rich people.
A rich man comes to Jesus with a question, "...what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus responds, "Go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven."
Much of the instruction by the Nazarene found in the four Gospel accounts is along the same lines. "Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth", "Easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the kingdom." Etc.
Liberal, social Gospel, churches emphasize this very part of the New Testament in their ministries. More conservative, fundamentalist, churches, on the other hand, dwell more on belief-in-Jesus as the salvation formula for sinners....and the coming Rapture followed by Ross Douthat's hell.
Rush Limbaugh is the unofficial-official leader of the conservative political party in America....and so he must drag Jesus into the ugly and greedy streets of unchecked capitalism to make his ignorant and unjustifiable point that he hates liberals again, and still, today. Besides... the overweight, erectile dysfunctioned, former(?) Oxycontin addict, is extremely wealthy and doesn't want to pay 3 1/2% more in income taxes.
O'Donnell, an alleged liberal, wants to justify progressive tax rates by dragging Jesus onto his side of the argument with reminders of the social justice teachings in the four Gospels.
Neither is necessary nor prudent.
The New Testament is schitzophrenic in nature. You have the four Gospel "accounts", Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.....none written by eyewitnesses.....which allegedly contain the words and movements of the man, Jesus. The remainder of the New Testament is primarily about the early Christian church after Jesus is gone from the scene.....early attempts to explain what the Jesus "event" was supposed to mean, how to move forward as just another competing religion, organizational problems and the like.
And so we find Jesus saying that feeding the poor is the same as serving him.....yet we also find the early church threatening....those who don't work, don't eat.
There's a disconnect....and that is why attempts to justify political leanings in the 21st century should leave Jesus and the Bible out of it. The Abrahamic faiths have led to enough misery and division in the earth.....what say we leave the dead to bury the dead, as it were.
In conclusion....Rush is, of course, totally mistaken about the moral aspect of keeping his taxes low or even perhaps lowering them more with Paul Ryan's Roadmap to Ross Douthat's Hell. But we don't need to drag Jesus into the argument for evidence that he is mistaken.
People like Limbaugh have done exceedingly well during the last 10-20 years in America. At the same time, the other 98% of Americans have not done so well. Because we are the UNITED States of America and not the RICH INDIVIDUALS in the States of America.....the people have decided by a very wide majority that rich guys, like Rush, need to pay more in taxes, and especially so during our high debt period.
It's the only just and moral thing to do.
Go in peace.....and stay away from the Class 1 drugs.