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Kevin Wolf

What I especially love about the Republican mindset is the expectation that my tax money should go to them, not the people who need it. Dump the social programs - they don't "make money." Give them tax breaks, pork barrel projects, government subsidies and anything else they (or their legion of attornys) can think of - because they "make money." And their making money benefits everybody! Isn't that right?

BTW: That legion of attorneys is also a Biblical reference - their name is Legion.

burritoboy

People only thought that way (poor people deserve to be poor, so screw charity) relatively recently. Such an intepretation would have been anathema to the Church (and indeed, still is). It is also anathema with Judaism - which, by the way, REQUIRES (by our law) the giving of charity and the founding of charitable organizations - it's not voluntary.

We also shouldn't ignore that Jesus Christ and the early Church was rather radical in terms of economic policy. While it doesn't seem that Jesus himself was part of the communist movements of the day, he was definitely running around with many of those types of folks. We completely forget that communism (not Marxist communism, obviously) was a very intellectually respectable stream of thought in classic times.

Obviously, the authorities were less convinced of Jesus' other-worldliness and avoidance of politics then than we are today. This is a guy who intentionally went around upsetting the political and economic order of the day - give away all you have and follow me? kicking the money-lenders out of the Temple? if your parents (i.e. tradition and economic mainstays) are keeping you from me, run in the other direction? A conservative this guy wasn't.

Linkmeister

Building a little on what burritoboy says, it's kind of amusing (in a pathetic, standard form of their hypocrisy sort of way) that the Republicans are such strong supporters of Israel, given the social welfare state that that country is. Remember that the kibbutz was often idealized for the first decade or more of Israel's existence.

Claire

Yeah but the Christian conservatives are only pro-Israel because of their beliefs in the second coming.

mac macgillicuddy

Two points: One, apropos of burritoboy - it's not optional in Christianity, either.

That's one of the things that makes Christianity (and by that, I mean, what Christ actually taught us, not this odd, megachurch lifestyle that seems to warrant everyone's having Jesus as their buddy to pave their way through life's thick and its thin) so difficult. A lot of things that aren't easy are also not optional. "It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven."

Two, this is another humorous jibe, a comment made with a wink toward the Apostles and a nod toward the Pharisees -- scholars largely agree that there was a place in Jerusalem nicknamed the eye of a needle because it was so narrow, and that this is what Jesus was referring to. He wasn't saying that it is impossible for a rich man to enter heaven. But he was saying that it is not easy, either. REALLY REALLY not easy. Humor is a good way to make a lot of hard points.

Three, I think we owe our image of Jesus as a dour, avuncular school marm to the portrayal in "The Greatest Story Ever Told." Oh, that's three points...

What the hell was I getting at, anyway?

The Viscount

As usual Lance, right on.

The Viscount LaCarte

By the way, did you see this?

Overturning the Gospels.

It references:

The Christian Paradox: How a Faithful Nation Gets Jesus Wrong in Harpers.

harry near indy

i'll paraphrase camus.

even if we can't stop, once and for all, the murder of children -- that is, an abstract thing -- we can do all we can to make sure fewer children are murdered -- that is, concrete things.

or something like that.

if i'm not faithful to the letter, i think i'm faithful to the spirit.

we ought to do the same with poverty.

burritoboy

Viscount,

We shouldn't be surprised that religions get manipulated into forms that fit comfortably with the remainder of society. Of course, Jesus was a particularly radical religious figure (much more so than most of the figures within my own Jewish tradition). It's very hard to create a truly Christian society (while it's not that tough to create a Jewish one or Muslim one that meets most of the criterion). Being a Jewish mayor is doable - enforce just laws, don't take bribes, try to do the right things, fire the racist assholes in the police department, provide plenty of aid to those in need and you're 75% of the way there. How can you be a Christian mayor when you're following a guy who says "give away all you have and follow me" or "ignore what anybody says and hang out with the lepers and hookers and unemployed fishermen"? What, the mayor's going to be sleeping on the floor of a crack house?

Take a gander at the movie Bullworth and see what happens when a modern politician comes within miles of trying to be a Christian.

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