Jesus Favored Tax Cuts for the Rich?

In case you missed it, on his show last night Stephen Colbert gave a theology lesson to Bill O’Reilly and the other sanctimonious supply-siders who draft Jesus into their “no help for the poor” army.

Because if this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition. And then admit that we just don’t want to do it.

Check it out. It’s not to be missed.

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10 Comments

  1. Charles
    Posted December 20, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    At this point, in view of our lively and spot-on discussion, I shall now rip card No. 22 out of the stacked Religious Right card deck, turn it over, and make one of their own famous grand plays against them. Watch this!!!!

    “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11).

    Put another way, when Jesus takes out his black snake whip, the assorted members of the Religious Right may beg for an opportunity to share what they have with the poor.

    And just for irony, the Religious Right always plays that scriptural card in isolation from its scriptural context. They do not want you to know what the Philippians Chapter 1 lead up to this says. Here you go:

    “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 1)

    Kind of grabs them by the testicles—now doesn’t it.

  2. TK
    Posted December 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    It’s no use trying to teach anyone a lesson with this; the “theo-cons” have already explained it away with such answers as “Jesus said individuals should share with others, he never said the government should force you to.” It’s pretty much the same rationalization used to reconcile war and cheek-turning.

  3. Posted December 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Wow, brilliant.

  4. Charles
    Posted December 19, 2010 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Ron is correct. This is a point that Jacques Ellul has made in his book The Subversion of Christianity. Many other Christian writers and theologians have made the same point. The Jesus of the New Testament is deeply offensive to basic human nature. If someone hits us with a baseball bat, human nature tells us to hit back. Jesus says something different. Over the past 2000 years, off an on, the church has been in the business of figuring out ways to creatively side-step the red letter sayings of Jesus of Nazareth. As one fairly prominent Christian has said, they have tried to “domesticate” Jesus. The purpose is to create a new Jesus that conforms to and even blesses the worst side of human nature. Over the past four decades, the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals have become masters at it. One would hardly even recognize the Jesus they have created. Colbert’s video piece just shows us the clothes the emperor is not wearing.

  5. Ron Wetherington
    Posted December 18, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Colbert is right on track, as usual. Christian principals in fact make all of us uneasy when it comes to sacrifice or personal risk to honor those principles. So we naturally seek interpretations that castigate those we oppose and exonerate ourselves by diffusion. Merry Christmas, all!

  6. Bonnie Boorman
    Posted December 18, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    This is my Christmas present. Thank you, Stephen Colbert.

  7. Charles
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Well, that would explain it about as well as anything else.

  8. Shebardigan
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Any Biblically-literate person knows instinctively that the central message of the Gospel is not John 3:16 as so many theologically naive persons assert. The central message of the Gospel, as faithfully echoed by the Fundabaglican party is, in fact, Matthew 25:29:

    For unto him that hath shall more be given, and he shall have abundance. But from him that hath not shall even that little that he hath be taken away.

  9. Charles
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink
  10. Charles
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    What a sermon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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