Jesus W. Bush
It's as if the Southern Bible bangers
are finally taking revenge on Lincoln
January 18, 2005
According to Christian doctrine, the only Son of God
was born approximately 2,000 years ago. By rights, he should have
been the last man on
earth. He should have sent the last human being to heaven or hell,
found himself on an empty world, and ended space and time right
there and then.
That didn't happen. Instead, time has been blasphemously
marching along as if it has not heard the "Good News." In
fact, every day that goes by mocks Jesus, or at least the way some
Christians believe in him. Can you imagine people preaching the
immanent return of the Son of God ten thousand years from now?
I can't, and neither can many Christians, which is why Christianity
repeatedly produces believers who are sure they are the last generation
to see the earth.
Ironically, the trend today is for Christians to feel that they
are not as Christian as the fundamentalists if they don't
believe that Christ is about to return. Instead of religiosity
being measured in piety, it is being measured in the amount of
absurdity a Christian can adopt.
People who hardly gave religion
a thought a few years ago are now evangelical fundamentalist.
It's sort of a "keeping up with the Joneses" thing, religiously
speaking. Instead of rushing to have that second car, they are
rushing to be seen as extremist believers driving around in their
second car. When in doubt, a fish and a "Jesus loves you" bumper
sticker will affirm your faith -- to others.
But days still come and go, the sun rises and sets, spiting Christian
dogma with every revolution; and if Jesus will return, the fundamentalists
would probably be the last to know. That's because Jesus
would not send every last human being to heaven or hell and then
summarily end the world anymore than he did the first time he was
The Jesus that ends the world is a Jesus created by ancient money
and power players, who today happen to run corporations. Just as
the Roman elite co-opted Jesus, the corporations have co-opted
Christian fundamentalism with entertainment, news, and take-home
products that target people who have had a few hits of absurdity.
More than that, they have co-opted the Jesus identity, linking
it to an identity with a political party that stands for corporatism
run amok. Meanwhile, the real Jesus was a mendicant and mystic
who, when he asked people to give unto Caesar what is Caesar's,
meant to give the elite absolutely nothing.
Distancing one's spiritual and social power from oneself,
and centralizing it in religious and political elite bodies, became
Christian dogma over the centuries, regardless of how antithetical
it is to Jesus's very left-wing, decentralizing, and communal
teachings. This makes Christianity extremely prone toward fascism
and why it is one of history's ironies that the Republican
Party, the one that once stood for decentralization, has been hijacked
by fanatic centralizers. It's as if the Southern Bible bangers
are finally taking revenge on Lincoln.
Of course, when materialism and religious fundamentalism join
hands in fascism, the power is centralized in the corporation instead
of the so-called government. But call the power center what you
will, it is still a ruling body of the rich, for the rich, and
by the rich.
As we speak, the rich-bought U.S. Congress is increasing the
tax burden on labor while decreasing it on investments. That doesn't
sound very pro-Jesus, but pitting it against pro-choice and you've
got a religious war *for* poverty on your hands. The fundamentalists
are basically voting to limit their income mobility.
Since it is so glaringly obvious that America is ruled by a government
of the rich, and that Jesus was anything but pro-rich (he did
say something about that rich guy and the eye of a needle), we
only guess that Christian fundamentalists are making enormous
effort not to see the inconsistency in voting for the corporation.
for centuries all manner of Sunday schools having been instructing
children in how to fail to see inconsistencies.
Sankara Saranam is the founder and president of the Pranayama
a nonprofit organization that offers no-cost instruction in raja
yoga techniques. His weekly Institute column reaches readers in
over 70 countries. He is the author of the forthcoming book, God
Without Religion: Questioning Centuries of Accepted Truths.