This morning I had writer’s block until I read my friend’s Facebook post. Even as the tenets of the Republican platform is anathema to the teachings of Jesus, why do we allow many of them to wrap themselves in the Bible? I am not a Christian or religious (I am a Humanist). But Cody’s message spoke to me.
I’m writing this post on Good Friday, the day their savior Jesus, made the ultimate sacrifice for them. Maybe they should remember the sacrifices he asked of them.
It is essential that Democrats are not timid and point out that current Republican policies are devoid of Jesus’ expectations and teachings. Given that they claim the Bible for their guiding principles, then we can debate them in those terms. And that is what Cody Pogue did in his post without even a thread of a mean streak.
The first recorded words of Jesus were in Luke 4 when he stood before the teachers and proclaimed the year of Jubilee: a time of rest, healing, and freedom from slavery and debt.
Throughout his ministry, he never forced jubilee to come to pass. HIs people were oppressed by the Roman Empire and they sought a leader who could use a coup to take them to freedom, and the temptation was certainly there, but he chose not to. Instead, he used his words to spark a non-violent revolution.
When Jesus spoke to the rich young ruler, he told him “sell all you have and give it to the poor, and then you will have treasures in heaven.” He told parables of the rich man going to hell while the poor man goes to heaven, described the love of money as the root of all evil, called the religious leaders hypocrites because they did their good works to show off instead of out of a spirit of love, healed the sick, respected those who were pushed aside, welcomed children, and encouraged people to love one another and turn the other cheek.
It wasn’t that he never had an opportunity to lead a violent revolution. After he fed the 5,000, surely he could have turned them into an army and caused some damage. When he rode into the temple and the crowds followed him, as he was overturning the tables and cursing at the merchants, he could have used that crowd and the chaos to spark a rebellion.
On the night when Jesus was betrayed, in the Garden of Gethsemane, he cried out and prayed “Father take this cup from me”. Shortly after, Judas showed up with a team of soldiers. Peter pulled out his sword and chopped the guy’s ear off. Jesus stopped him and said “those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.. Do you not think I can not appeal to my Father and he will send me more than twelve legions of angels?”
Having given up his final temptation to a violent revolution, Jesus instead submitted to his captors prepared to die in an act of love for his friends who would soon reject him publicly. In this, he sat an example for how we should love, saying that we should love others just as he has loved us.
In remembrance of the night when Jesus allowed himself to be betrayed, we should think about his message of love and peace and about how he worked to usher in his message of jubilee with non-violence by teaching us and being an example and a sacrifice. Let us forgive our debtors, as our debts are forgiven. Let us turn the other cheek. Let us love our neighbor. Let us give freely of all that we have. Let peace reign in our hearts.
Surely Jesus would support healthcare as a right. It is evident he would support policies that ensure that the wealthy who benefit from the excess labor of the poor and middle-class, pay their fair share of taxes to society to make sure food, clothing, and shelter are available to all. And surely Jesus would not support policies where the rights of false humans, corporations, to supersede those of people.