Religion, Theology and Self-Improvement Sundays
During the campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination, George W. Bush surprised many by referring to Jesus as his favorite political philosopher. Many were taken back; not at all comfortable with the notion that Jesus could even be viewed in a political context. For others, Bush's remarks provided an opportunity to raise the issue of the relevancy of the words, life and ministry of Jesus in reference to this world's political system and that of America in particular.
In light of the growing belief in the minds of many that the end of the world is near, and with it God's final judgment -- a wide variety of "religious" questions can be raised juxtaposed to politics. Jesus figures prominently in such questions since over a billion people on earth believe Jesus' life and words to be the measuring stick of right and wrong and because many believe that it will be Jesus who will be executing the final judgment of the world, which of course will include its political systems.
Just imagine how Jesus would evaluate America's history and political system. What would Jesus think about the past and present treatment of American Indians? What would Jesus think of the slave experience that brought hundreds of millions of Black people to these shores against their own will and resulted in this same group and their descendants providing free labor for this country under the most inhumane circumstances imaginable? What would Jesus think of America's dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan? What would Jesus think of America's tax system? What would Jesus think of the FBI and the CIA; the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve? What would he think of FDR and the New Deal? What of Harry Truman's administration? What would Jesus think of Presidents Reagan and Clinton? What does Jesus think about globalization and the New Economy? What about abortion, gun control and the death penalty?
Maybe George W. Bush has done everyone a service by bringing the discussion of Jesus into American politics, especially if Jesus has the job of judging the world. In the January 17, 2000 edition of Time.com, Jimmy Breslin penned an essay that imagines Jesus Christ running for the office of President of the United States. It is called "What would candidate Jesus do?". It is a light-hearted work but with very serious implications. Read it for yourself.
Sunday, April 16, 2000