Citizen Jesus

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"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.'

The administration of George W. Bush is purportedly based on Christian principles. It would seem logical then to assume that were Christ actually alive today, he would likely advance successfully in this administration, would it not?

Would Jesus have made a good bureaucrat?

Jesus did not have tremendous career potential from the beginning. An unmarried woman conceived him after all. (What Christian politician would condone this, much less hail her as a woman of God?) Jesus only survived into adulthood because his parents subverted the state. (King Herrod wanted all male babies dead and his parents refused to comply - imagine! Not only that, but the people who helped save his young life were harboring a criminal, making them outlaws as well.)

So, the worst youthful offense of the Christ child was being alive. This sounds insane. Is it possible that anything like that could happen again? Indeed, it's happened throughout history. Children have been slaughtered at the behest of politicos in countless regimes one way or another, even today in Iraq . The current Christian administration dubs the death of innocents 'collateral damage.' (It reminds me of my daughter ' when she was a tiny bit of a girl and she dropped something she'd say, 'oopsie!')

If Jesus were born in the Middle East today, it is questionable as to whether his parents could have kept him alive. One of his more famous quotes: 'Suffer the little children to come unto me, for unless you become as one of them, you shall not see the kingdom of heaven.' From he beginning Jesus defied established religion and the state by virtue of his existence, and it just got worse from there. He was no Yale man of the 'Skull and Crossbones.'

Jesus compromised his beliefs for no one. He couldn't lie, he couldn't even keep his mouth shut when people around him were judged and condemned. He aligned himself with the downtrodden and stood against tyranny - religious and political. Even under intense pressure from both, he refused to condemn people who harmed no one but them selves. He was a model of individualism and self-sovereignty.

Would Jesus have made a good soldier?

I can't say for sure, but I think it would be difficult to get anyone in your cross hairs when you're turning the other cheek. A preemptive strike was the antithesis of Jesus' foreign policy. He didn't even object when they cuffed and dragged him away to die. His dying breath was an expression of love, not allegiance to the state.

Would Jesus even have made a good citizen?

Hardly. He wouldn't even be an acceptable, Republican-approved audience member. Can you see him keeping good tax records or sweating a filing deadline? Waiting in line at the DMV with proof of insurance? I don't think he'd have a Social Security number, an interest-only mortgage or a stellar credit rating. Can you see Jesus applying for a voter registration, the hallmark of a good citizen? A registered Republican voting for his new master?

Jesus once stood mute before Pontius Pilate. Would he have anything to say for himself when inevitably picked up by law enforcement today? But what on earth could the Prince of Peace be arrested for in the most enlightened, tolerant, advanced, Christian culture on Earth? Purchasing wine on a Sunday morning? Sorry, that's a no-no. Changing water into wine? Got a license for that, buddy? There's an entire bureaucracy making its collective living regulating alcohol. What about a food-handlers permit and a fishing license, hmmm?

Healing the blind and the sick? That would be practicing medicine with out a license, a very grave crime, indeed. How would the AMA, the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA like them apples? 'Crucify him!' comes to mind, at least in the press.

Jesus would no doubt have come under surveillance by the current Christian administration for associating with prostitutes and drug users, because he was the kind of man who would not judge them or turn them in to authorities like a good citizen. He would have put out a welcoming hand to them and called them 'brother.' Jesus would be lucky to only be picked up for vagrancy and driven out of town, rather than prosecuted repeatedly and locked up permanently under the three strikes law if he were an American today. I doubt he would have expended much effort fulfilling the requirements of his parole if he ever got out. God help him if he were an immigrant ' sounds like a possible enemy combatant ' they could just throw away the key.

Maybe Jesus could have made the grade as a minister in today's church?

Jesus claimed God was his father. When David Koresh tried that in the '90s, he and his followers were labeled a 'cult.' With thin, trumped up charges, their homes and lives were reduced to ashes without a whimper of protest from mainstream religion or media. (Oh, were children killed again? Oopsie!) It wouldn't be surprising if the religious masses of today demanded Jesus' life for such heresy again, as they did so long ago.

There is no proof or inference, even, that Jesus came here to start a new religion called 'Christianity.' He showed no desire to organize or control others. No desire to incorporate. No desire to rub elbows with important people or amass wealth (he stored for himself treasures in heaven, not on earth where moth and dust corrupts). No desire to dominate the world through a quasi-religious political party, crushing innocents in its cogs. Jesus displayed no capacity for sending other mother's sons to die for a power lust. He blessed the meek and the peacemakers. He supported only that which had vitality, not expediency.

Jesus' worst crime was and would still be that he taught his followers to listen to the love in their own hearts rather than follow the law; utterly unacceptable behavior in our advancing police state. I believe Jesus came here to show people how to love, not dominate. There would still be no room for Jesus at the 'inn' crowd.

Rather than a prestigious political appointment and cushy government benefit/retirement package for life, I think Jesus might have been found in a tent at Camp Casey , and been banned and booted out the same as the others. He didn't find favor with powerful men 2,000 years ago; I don't think he would have fared any better today because he was a troublemaker. He never learned the art of 'going along to get along,' essential to political success.

They could take his life and liberty, but they could not own his soul. He was not afraid of powerful men; this made them afraid of him. He frightened the self-righteous because he knew the truth about the deceitfulness of power, religious and political (if there is any difference) and he refused to kowtow to it. How odd that today he is heralded as the icon of the religious right, in name only, of course, because his manner of living was diametrically opposed to everything the Bush Administration espouses.

'You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.'

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Retta Fontana's picture
Columns on STR: 53

Retta Fontana is an atheist, anarchist, baker, potter and parenting teacher.  Children are her favorite people.