Monday, March 15, 2010

Jesus H. Beck

We pick up the action somewhere at the intersection of politics and religion, where an American television personality recently focused his insanity, to the consternation of many of Jesus's earthly lieutenants. Here's a representative reaction:

Glenn Beck's recent statement that people should "run as fast as you can" and leave any church that mentions "social or economic justice" is nothing short of a call for his listeners to disregard central tenets of their faith because they do not conform to Mr. Beck's political ideology. He is advocating that they abandon the full Gospel message in favor of a hollow idol, and he is doing so for worldly gain. His statements cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.
Alas, this critic seems to be on to something. Reviewing Beck's rantings, it is difficult to deny the conclusion that he has hitched a tendentious selection of the Gospels to his cracked ideology, and presented the admixture as the proper, correct, and complete understanding of Christianity.

One reels at the possibilities this opens up, and I'm afraid they're past hypothetical -- Beck's critic cited above has, in the very criticisms cited, done the same thing, saying, for example, this:
Jesus saw his ministry as a continuation and fulfillment of the call for justice and righteousness of the Hebrew prophets. One cannot know him without seeing that context around him ... The ideas of economic justice (see Jer. 5:28), rights of workers (see Isa. 58:3), and redistribution of wealth (see the year of Jubilee in Lev. 25:8) are in no way foreign to the biblical text ...
Truly the rot has spread, the horse has left the barn, the Pandora's box has been thrown open, Eve has re-gnawed at the bark of the tree of knowledge: the purity of the Gospels have been sullied by the intrusion of everyday political dispute.

Count no one more alarmed than Andrew Sullivan, who arrives with a pox on the houses of all who would perturb Gospel truth:
... [A]lthough helping the poor is obviously a critical facet of Jesus' teaching, it is a legitimate matter of debate how to help the poor. Socialism, for example, clearly does not help the poor: it just makes everyone poorer.
Duh! Every toddler knows Jesus hated socialism. Sullivan continues:
My own view is that there should be a collective and strong safety net for the poor, combined with, for Christians, a very powerful, indeed binding, injunction to give and give generously to others, and to take a personal interest in the needs of others. There's a balance here, in other words, between social justice and statist redistributionism. And while Beck is obviously out of line - the Catholic Church's teachings on social justice could not be further removed from Ayn Rand - I'm suspicious of the dangers of taking the virtue of social justice and turning it into the system of socialism.
Duh! Every toddler knows Jesus hated objectivism.

To be clear -- and if we're ever to get the Gospels back on track, we must get this clear -- Jesus was, politically, somewhere between Josef Stalin and Ayn Rand.

Wiping away a couple of layers of my sarcasm: does anyone else find it odd that Catholic Andrew Sullivan is lecturing Mormon Glenn Beck on the finer points of Catholic teaching, as if a Mormon, let alone a mentally unhinged one, would have the slightest reason to give a damn about Catholic teaching? Does anyone else stand a little staggered at the spectacle of a gay Catholic lecturing a non-Catholic asylum escapee on the tenets of Catholicism, without first having made peace within his own sect over whether, to mince no words, he should live on correcting said tenets or would better serve The Church as a fagot? Pun intended?

Wiping away the remaining layers of sarcasm: assertions about the true essence of Christianity as conveyed through its texts -- leaving conspicuously begged the question of which texts qualify as 'its' texts -- are as common as houseflies, considerably less interesting, and almost as beneficial.

(via The Majesty of Being).

1 comment:

Serah B. said...

It just keeps getting weirder and weirder.