[  http://LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/JesusvsPaul.html ]

"Conservative" Christian preachers promote belief in a very stern God whose partiality to some people in this world is such that he instructs them to kill – not just fighting men -, but women and babies as well, in order to give their lands and communities to his favored people.  Such preachers believe that passages like the ones we highlight at http://WhatkindofGod.org represent the "Word of God".  We believe that Jesus of Nazareth knew God better than most, and we can't imagine him identifying with a God who would say, as Hosea claims that he did (Ch. 13:16) : "Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up." 
        "Conservative" Christian preachers promote the belief that what is important to God is what "little people" think and do privately.  The more "private" their thoughts and actions, the more interested these preachers seem to be.  We Liberals, on the other hand, believe that Jesus and many of the other great prophets of the Bible were not nearly as interested in private matters and in people's "private parts" as with public matters.  The four gospels largely ignore the thirty or so years of Jesus' own private life and concentrate on the three years of his public life. They either relate his public statements or relate the constant battle that Jesus was engaged in from the very moment that he opened his mouth to challenge the people of great wealth and power of his day, and to proclaim "good news for the poor", until the moment that these people had him executed in order to close that mouth and have his message suppressed.  (Actually, if you believe Matthew, the first chapters of the first gospel tell us that King Herod viewed Jesus as a political threat even before Jesus was born!)
        Although Jesus of Nazareth showed little interest or concern about most mundane issues and about sexuality, today's "Christian Conservatives" claim to speak for Christ on the basis of what they imagine Jesus would say about such matters.  Since Jesus hasn't said much for almost 2000 years, these self-proclaimed spokesmen for Jesus treat him like an inanimate object, a puppet in effect, and they claim to know the answers for all kinds of "What would Jesus do or say?" questions.  That is why, in the absence of any proof to support their views, Christian Conservatives were so sure in years past that

  • Jesus disapproved of playing cards, drinking any and all alcoholic beverages, dancing, singing, wearing bathing suits, viewing motion pictures,
  • Jesus didn't want pianos and organs in churches,  because Conservatives assumed these musical instrument – then used mainly in saloons and brothels – had been created by the devil.
  • Jesus also disapproved of indulging in ice cream treats on Sundays ( which is why this popular Sunday treat had to have its name changed ever so slightly to "sundae" ).
  • Jesus disapproved of masturbation and homosexuality.
  • Jesus disapproved of family planning ( birth-control ) and abortion, (but NOTslavery or segregation because good Conservative bible-scholars could find passages with which to defend those practices ) !

        In early 2006 I discovered a great web site which lays out the "Christian beliefs" of the heartland U.S. Conservatism, the Old South, and I quote a great deal of this web site on a page I call, www.JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/BibleBeltChristianity.html. Typical of most Christian Conservative sites, while claiming to present "Christianity" this entire lengthy site quotes Jesus himself exactly one time!
        We "Liberals Like Christ", on the other hand, base our beliefs about Jesus on what the Gospels tell us that Jesus actually said about God, about himself, and about what he and/or God expects of us, his followers.  We invite those "Conservatives" who really want to conserve the teaching of Jesus, to reflect on precisely what Jesus taught and how he illustrated the true meaning of his words by his actions

Here is the way Jesus defined his mission :

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;

he has appointed me

to preach Good News to the poor;

he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted

and to announce
that the blind shall see,
that captives shall be released
and the downtrodden shall be freed
(i.e. liberated) from their oppressors."

{Luke 4:18} 

      And Jesus described himself in similar words to his own cousin, John "the Baptist" :

{Matthew 11: 2-5}  
      " When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" 4 Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them."

        Ever since the so-called "conversion" of the pagan Emperor Constantine, in 312 A.D. however, Christianity has been embraced by the rich and the powerful.  But as part of the bargain, Christ's "Good News to the poor" has been twisted to mean that the brokenhearted, the captives and, the downtrodden need to wait for "the next life" for relief.  And anyone who proclaims what Jesus taught has been made out to be a troublemaker, a "rabble-rouser", a "heretic" or, more recently, a "Communist".

        In response to the question, "Sir, which is the most important command in the laws of Moses?"  Jesus explicitly identified his and the Bible's highest priorities :

{ Matthew 22:36-40 } 
        "This is the first and greatest commandment:  'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.'
        The second most important is similar:   'Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.'
        All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them.  Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others."

        History has shown that despite the apparent simplicity of these commandments, loving one's neighbor isn't as simple or as easy as it sounds.


        While so-called "Christian Conservatives" are fond of saying : "Charity begins at home,"   that is about as far from the teaching of Jesus and the Bible as one can get.  In his "preview of the Last Judgement", Jesus spells out what he means by "loving" one's neighbor, what it entails, and in the process, he makes it clear that loving neighbors who are hungry, thirsty, naked, homeless, sick, imprisoned, or otherwise afflicted is what matters to him, not loving those in, or close to, our own families, neighborhoods, or country – which as he points out elsewhere everyone does naturally.-

{ Matthew 25: 31-46 }

        "When I, the Messiah, shall come in glory, and all the angels with me, then I shall sit upon my throne of glory.  And all the nations shall be gathered before me.  And I will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and place the sheep at my right hand, and the goats at my left.
      Then I, the King, shall say to those at my right, "Come, blessed of my Father, into the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.   For I was hungry and you fed me;  I was thirsty and you gave me water;   I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes;   naked and you clothed me;   sick and in prison, and you visited me."
      Then these righteous ones will reply,  "Sir, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?  Or thirsty and give you anything to drink?  Or a stranger, and help you?  Or naked, and clothe you?  When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?"  And I, the King, will tell them,  "When you did it to these my brothers you were doing it to me!"
      Then I will turn to those on my left and say,   "Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.  For I was hungry and you wouldn't feed me;   thirsty, and you wouldn't give me anything to drink;   a stranger, and you refused me hospitality;   naked, and you wouldn't clothe me;   sick, and in prison,  and you didn't visit me."
      Then they will reply,  "Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison,  and not help you?"
      And I will answer,  "When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing help to me."  And they shall go away into eternal punishment;   but the righteous into everlasting life."

      [ For those tempted to make an issue of  "right" vs, "left", keep in mind that it is the left side of a courtroom who are at the judge's "right hand".]

        The conservative commentary below on this important passage of the Gospels is an excellent example of the way Compassionate Conservatives often rationalize their fundamental disagreement with the liberal teaching of Jesus :

        "That is a terrific passage, but if we are to deal with it fairly we need to understand that today's poor in the United States are the victims and perpetrators of illegitimacy and abandonment, family non-formation and malformation, alienation and loneliness and much else – but they are not suffering thirst, hunger, or nakedness, except by choice, insanity, or parental abuse.
        When we lack discernment, we give money to panhandlers that most often go for drugs or alcohol. Christ does not include in his list of commended charitable acts, 'When I was strung out you gave me dope.' What are we truly doing to homeless men when we enable them (through governmental programs, undiscerning nonprofits, or tender-hearted but weak-minded personal charity) to stay in addiction? Here's the reality: When I was an addict you gave me money for drugs; when I abandoned the woman and children who depended on me you gave me a place to stay and helped me to justify my action; when I was in prison you helped me get out quickly so I could commit more crimes.
        If we take seriously Christ's words, 'When you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me,' then giving money that goes for drugs is akin to sticking heroin into Jesus' veins."
(p. 272-273, "The Tragedy of American Compassion (1992), ", by Marvin Olasky ?, some debatable words emphasized by Ray Dubuque)


        While "Christian Conservatives" espouse the idea that riches are "blessings" from God, according to Matthew 5: 2-12, Jesus proclaimed that it is poverty is what he considers blessed:

        "When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and his disciples came to him.  Then he began to speak, and he taught them, saying:
  "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

      Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven,  for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who went before you."

        Conservatives sometimes quote "Blessed are the poor in spirit" to poor people as reason for them not to seek relief from their poverty (at the expense of those more prosperous than themselves).  But if Jesus considered poverty itself to be desirable, why would he have urged those afflicted with wealth to share that 'affliction' with those not so afflicted?  Isn't it much more likely that when Jesus said "Blessed are the poor in spirit", he meant blessed are those who are content with a minimum of material possessions, in contrast to those who are never content with what they have, but are always trying to accumulate more and more, and fighting every effort made to tax them for the benefit of the poor and the needy?
        We offer still other great insights about "blessings" in our separate www.LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/about/blessings.html page.

        In another of his powerful parables, God sends the man "blessed with riches" (in the eyes of Conservatives) to hell, while God sends the poor "loser", Lazarus, to heaven, ( just because the one was rich in this life, and the other was poor!)

{ Luke 16 : 19-31}  

        "One day Lazarus, a diseased beggar, was laid at the door of a rich man's house.  As he lay there longing for scraps from the rich man's table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.  Finally the beggar died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham in the place of the righteous dead.
        The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went into hell.  There, in torment, he saw Lazarus in the far distance with Abraham.  'Father Abraham,' he shouted, 'have some pity! Send Lazarus over here if only to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in these flames.'  But Abraham said to him, 'Son, remember that during your life-time you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing.  So now he is here being comforted and you are in anguish."

        Is this parable relevant only to rich vs. poor individuals?  Or does it relate to the rich Christian nations vs. the many extremely poor nations of this world?  What if God cares enough about the multitude of poor people in this world to hold us "Christians" with vastly more wealth than the rest of world responsible for our neglect of those unlucky enough to have been born on the "other side of the tracks" ?

.  .  .  "And besides, there is a great chasm separating us, and anyone wanting to come to you from here is stopped at its edge; and no one over there can cross to us.'
        Then the rich man said,  'O Father Abraham, then please send him to my father's home – for I have five brothers – to warn them about this place of torment lest they come here when they die.'   But Abraham said, 'The Scriptures have warned them again and again.  Your brothers can read them any time they want to.' The rich man replied, 'No, Father Abraham, they won't bother to read them.  But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will turn from their sins.'  But Abraham said, 'If they won't listen to Moses and the prophets, they won't listen even though someone rises from the dead.'

        Note that despite the remarkable similarity between Jesus' parable about the rich man and Charles Dickens' parable about Scrooge, Dickens is far more optimistic about the prospects for the repentance and salvation of the rich than is Jesus.  In contrast to Scrooge, whom Dickens portrays as being moved by the  ghostly apparitions to repentance and redemption, the Gospel holds out no such hope for its wealthy villains.  On the contrary, the Gospel insists :

        "If they won't listen to Moses and the prophets, ( which the rich man admits is true of his five brothers ), they won't listen even though someone rises from the dead."

        When Jesus was asked to clarify what the second of the two great commandments was all about, he explained in one of his the most important parables, that action speaks louder than words, and that GOD is not fooled by professions of faith, nor by what may appear lack of faith.  What GOD appreciates and expects in people is a good heart which moves one to "love others as one does oneself", and to "do unto others what one would have others do unto them".  Jesus went out of his way, in his "Parable of the Good Samaritan" to point out that GOD often finds what he is looking for, not in churchy people who hold the right "beliefs", but in "non-believers" who do the right "works".
        Whoever called this the parable of "the Good Samaritan", may have missed the point, because Jesus didn't just highlight the genuineness of the one non-believer.   He contrasted that charitable behavior to the phoniness of the two religious leaders.  This lesson might better be referred to as "the parable of the Faithless Churchmen"?

{ Luke 10 : 25-37 }  

        One day an expert on Moses' laws came to test Jesus' orthodoxy by asking him this question: "Teacher, what does a man need to do to live forever in heaven?"  Jesus replied, "What does Moses' law say about it?"  "It says," he replied, "that you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind.   And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself."  "Right!" Jesus told him.  "Do this and you shall live!"
      But, wanting to justify himself, the man asked, "Which neighbors must I love?"   And Jesus replied with an illustration:
        "A Jew going on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by bandits.  They stripped him of his clothes and money, and beat him up and left him lying half dead beside the road.  By chance a priest came along; and when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.  A temple-assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but then went on.
        But a despised Samaritan* (a heretic) came along, and when he saw him, he felt deep pity.  Kneeling beside him the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them.  Then he put the man on his donkey and walked along beside him till they came to an inn, where he nursed him through the night.  The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins and told him to take care of the man.  "If his bill runs higher than that,"  he said,  " I'll pay the difference the next time I am here."
        "Now which of these three," Jesus asked, "would you say was a neighbor to the bandit's victim?"   The man replied, "The one who showed him some pity."   Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same."

  * The Jewish leaders showed just how much they despised Samaritans when they use that name to insult Jesus in { John 8:48 } :The Jews answered him, "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?"

        Christopher Columbus was enormously impressed by the indigenous people he found in "the New World": 

    "They are very simple and honest and exceedingly liberal with all they have; none of them refusing anything he may possess when he is asked for it, but, on the contrary, inviting us to ask them. They exhibit great love toward all others in preference to themselves.  They also give objects of great value for trifles, and content themselves with very little or nothing in return . . .  I did not find, as some of us had expected, any cannibals among them, but, on the contrary, men of great deference and kindness."
        And at another point in his journal:
    "They are the best people in the world, and above all the gentlest.  They are without knowledge of what is evil, nor do they murder or steal.  They love their neighbors as themselves and they have the sweetest talk in the world and are always laughing."  "They are a very loving people and without covetousness," Columbus wrote.  "And I declare to your Highness that there is not a better country nor better people in the world than these."

        See much more detail on the contrast between the goodness of the "pagan savages" of the New World and the wickedness of the "Christian discovers" of the Old World at www.JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/AmericanHolocaust/amholocaust-2.html.
        Here's the way the "Christians" responded:

        "They built a long gibbet, low enough for the toes to touch the ground and prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles. When the Indians were thus still alive and hanging, the Spaniards tested their strength and their blades against them, ripping chests open with one blow and exposing entrails, and there were those who did worse. Then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive.  See much more about the behavior of the "Christians" who brought salvation to the pagan natives of the "New World", at at www.JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/about/amholocaust-4.html.

        If I were a betting man, I would put my money on the pagans having a better chance of being at the eternal judge's right hand on judgment day than Christopher Columbus and those who honor him.

The Christianity of "the Bible-Belt"
        The most Conservative part of our country is the so-called "Bible Belt".  These conservative Christians have proven time and time again by their actions that the only people they want to have in "their neighborhoods", in their schools, and in their social gatherings are those who look, sound and act like themselves.  They even object to people who are unlike themselves from being allowed to immigrate into "their country", a country which they stole from its native Americans, and made what it is today with the unpaid labor of millions of Africans whom they forced to migrate here from foreign lands.
        It is no accident that the so-called "Bible Belt" is where, for centuries, human slavery of dark-skinned people was practiced and defended to the death.  Even after they had thrown away thousands of their youth on a senseless and immoral civil war, the Christian Conservatives of that time and place didn't repent.  Instead even some of their clergy engaged in Ku Klux Klan terrorism and cruel segregation to keep their former slaves as close to slavery as they could.  For all their talk of the Bible, whenever they are forced to choose between Conservatism and Christianity, these people are more likely to hold onto the tenets of Conservatism than those of Christ.  Their great-grandparents enslaved the "darkies".  Their parents segregated and terrorized them.  And now that today's Republican party is proving itself so much better than today's Democratic Party at keeping blacks in their place, they are switching to the party that is doing the best job of restricting civil rights and affirmative action, and of resegregating America's grade schools and high schools through "education vouchers" and the like.  It is just as absurd for today's Republican Party to claim to be "the party of Christ", as it is for it to claim to be "the party of Lincoln".
        Yet these people don't just think of themselves Christian, but as the only true Christians in this country, if not the world.  If you think that's an exaggeration, then you need to read www.JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/BibleBeltChristianity.html.  

Jesus vs. Mammon
        The following is just a cursory version of what we present in greater detail at www.LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/about/challenge.html.
        While Jesus warned that it was "almost impossible" for the "haves" who ignore the "have nots" of this world to be saved, "Christian Conservative" preachers have gained the enthusiastic and generous support of the rich and the powerful by teaching the very opposite of what Christ taught – which is why the rich and the powerful are only too happy to give the "Religious Right" all the money they need to endlessly and loudly promote their bastardized version of Christianity over the air waves, the internet, and in print, and at election time to distribute 70 million copies of their "Christian Voter Guides" – which while deceitfully claiming to be "non-partisan" – is part and parcel of the Republican Party's propaganda machine.

The wealthy underwrite Conservative causes
like the "Christian Coalition"
precisely because these groups
don't preach what Jesus preached !

{ Matthew 19:16, 21-26 }

      Someone came to Jesus with this question: "Good Master, what must I do to have eternal life? 
        [ Jesus told him that he must begin by obeying the ten commandments. But, then...]

        "If you want to be perfect, go and sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."  But when the young man heard this, he went away sadly, for he was very rich.

    Without walking away, many "Christians" in developed countries of our day who are "filthy rich" (when compared either to the billions of poor people in our world today or to this so-called rich man of Jesus' time) just tune out this teaching of Jesus, and pretend to follow Christ without actually embracing this crucial teaching of his.

        . . .  Then Jesus said to his disciples, "It is almost impossible for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  I say it again – it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God!  When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, "Then who can be saved?"   And Jesus replied, "For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible."

{ Luke 16:13-15}  

        " No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and wealth."  The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him.  So he said to them,  "You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God."

        For Jesus, as for many other great prophets of the Bible, the pursuit of riches and the pursuit of salvation are so incompatible  that one cannot choose one without turning away from the other.  And the more riches one possesses the harder it is to choose salvation, because it requires the repudiation of those riches.  Any true follower of Christ who sees today's "Religious Right" inviting the wealthy to come into their churches, to bring all their money in with them, to share it generously – not with the poor, but – with the churches and their clergy, knows that there is something very wrong with this picture.  When they see people claiming to be "men of God" sharing the hopes and dreams of the Republican Party of reducing or eliminating services for the poor, so as to lower taxes on the well-to-do,   true Christians (and Jews) recognize that this so-called "Christian Coalition" is no marriage made in heaven, but an unholy alliance, designed to advance not GOD's cause but the G.O.P.'s.
      The multi-millionaire founder and president of the "Christian Coalition" Pat Robertson, who also owns the 700 Club and the "Christian Broadcasting Network", wasn't a particularly religious Baptist until he met a Dutch "mystic" named Cornelius Vanderbreggen, who taught him that a man of God can be rich. "God is generous, not stingy," Vangerbreggan told Robertson, as they dined at an elegant hotel. "He wants you to have the best."
      Given the choice between the Gospel according to Jesus and the Gospel according to Robertson and Vanderbreggan, Conservatives don't hesitate to embrace the one that tells them they are saved just the way they are, no matter how wealthy they are, or how much misery they are able to ignore in the world around them.
        That certainly wasn't the way those closest to Jesus understood his teaching.  (according to the Acts of the Apostles, Ch.2 , 44 :)  " All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need."
{ Luke 14:33-35}  

       "So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.  Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; they throw it away.  Let anyone with ears to hear listen!"

{Luke 12:15-21}

        And he said to them,   "Take care!   Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions."   Then he told them a parable:   "The land of a rich man produced abundantly.  And he thought to himself,  'What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?'   Then he said, 'I will do this:  I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul,  'Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.'
      But God said to him,  'You foolThis very night your life is being demanded of you.   And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?'   So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."  "Yes, every man is a fool who gets rich on earth but not in heaven.  Sell what you have and give to those in need.  This will fatten your purses in heaven!   And the purses of heaven have no rips or holes in them.  Your treasures there will never disappear; no thief can steal them; no moth can destroy them.  Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be."

        Listen to what many Christian Conservatives in America say about Jesus and the way they depict him in art and music, and you have the image of a sweet, lily white, European, milk-toast sissy, an image that bears little resemblance to the dark-skinned, Jewish, revolutionary, "man's man" that Jesus actually was.  Although he was extremely kind to the common man and woman, Jesus was extremely demanding of those who had an abundance or either riches or power, whether political or religious.  He forgave and/or played down the sins of publicans, tax-collectors, prostitutes and adulteresses.  He told his followers to value a poor widow's penny more than substantial contributions from the rich.  And he told those who wanted to follow his leadership that what they should not do is imitate priests and levites, but instead follow the example of a heretical Samaritan.  Where has this idea of Christ as an impeccably polite and diplomatic gentleman come from?  Certainly not from Jesus, who instead said of himself :
{ Matthew 10: 34-37 } 

        "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's foes will be members of one's own household.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

        Although the words of Jesus speak of inter-family conflicts, there isn't a single example of such conflict in the gospels.  On the other hand, there are dozens of examples of precisely such conflicts between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day!  If "actions speak louder than words," then Jesus showed us that the sword he came to bring was the sword of battle with people like today's arrogant, pompous, money-grubbing leaders of the "Religious Right" who are far more like those with whom Jesus fought constantly, than those who embraced Jesus, and dedicated themselves to following his teaching.
        Far from being a mild-mannered, diplomatic, "goody-two-shoes",  Jesus was such an extraordinary "pain in the ass" to the religious community of his day, that they did everything they could to shut him up,  including conspiring to have him nailed to a cross,  the equivalent of putting him in today's electric chair.    To follow Christ and not experience the animosity and the rejection that Jesus promised his followers would experience, is to follow Jesus from too great a distance!  Just try exposing the hypocrisy and the misrepresentations of the Bible of today's equivalent of the fraudulent leaders of his day, and you will see why Jesus predicted:
{ John 16:1-3 } 

        "I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling.  They will put you out of the synagogues.  Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God.  And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me."

Jesus and his religious rivals
couldn't have been more different!

        When pious religious leaders demanded that Jesus follow the Bible's teaching and impose the death sentence on the woman "caught in the very act of adultery," instead of condemning the adulteress, Jesus condemned her conservative prosecutors!

{ John 8: 2 – 11 }  

        Early in the morning he came again to the temple.  All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them.  The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.  Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women.  Now what do you say?"
        They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him.

        What an amazing chapter this is.  It's packed full of worthwhile lessons:
        First, if there's one behavior that Jesus couldn't abide, it was sinners playing down their own sins while playing up someone else's.  In this instance, the sin of one party (the adulteress)  was being used by a second party (the even more sinful religious right hypocrites),  to bring harm on a guilt-free third party (Jesus himself). 
        Then, there's a point so obvious that Jesus may not have felt it even necessary to emphasize.  But, as the father of seven daughters, I wish Jesus had asked these sanctimonious male accusers explicitly, "Was this woman alone at the time of this adultery?"
        And finally, there's the magnificent way in which Jesus turns the table on the hypocrites doing the accusing, and puts the judges themselves on trial :

        Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."  And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.  When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?"  She said, "No one, sir."  And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you.  Go your way, and from now on do not sin again."

        Some people found fault with Larry Flynt's recent effort to expose the Republican party leadership for its astounding hypocrisy.  Rather than condemn their own friends ( Republican Congressmen Henry Hyde, Bob Livingston, Newt Gingrich, Bob Barr, Hellen Chenoweth, and J.C. Watts, to mention just a few), whose closets are bulging with a whole brothel full of worse adulterers than Democratic President Clinton ever dreamed of being, they insist on condemning the messenger.  How interesting that the mainstream media, after racing to publish everything salacious about the Democratic president that they could lay their hands on – including the whole of Kenneth Starr's pornographic report – has made no effort to expose the immorality and hypocrisy of the leaders of the Republican leadership!  Could it be that, just as Jesus published the sins of the hypocrites of his day by writing them in the dirt at his feet, God has had a hand in publicizing the sins of today's hypocrites in a "dirty magazine"?  (Actually, this report was no more pornographic than many of the women's magazines in our supermarkets.)

        Although people in our day tend to view Jesus teaching on divorce as rather "conservative", the fact is that in hismale-dominated patriarchal time his teaching was very liberal and feminist,

[ Matthew 19: 3-9  
        Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?"  He answered, "Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." They said to him, "Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?" He said to them, "It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery."         Far from sharing the contempt of the Pharisees for the despised "publicans" or "tax collectors" of their day, God – if we can believe Jesus – prefers such "sinners" to "holier than thou" Religious Right types, who are only good at recognizing the sins of OTHERS:
{ Luke 18 : 9-14 } 

        He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were were righteous and regarded others with contempt:
      "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.'
      But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'
      I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."

        How similar this Pharisee is to all these "Religious Right" types who think they are God's gift to mankind and imagine they know what is wrong with everyone but themselves!  And how similar the lowly "tax collector" is to so many "Liberals",  who may not be saints, but don't claim to be either.
      How refreshing it will be on the day when God makes his preferences known, if he chooses those on the left to be with him in paradise,  rather than those on the right!
        Far from displaying the judgmentalism of Christian Conservatives, who are forever looking for people other than themselves to condemn for any number of sins, real or imagined, Jesus was slow to condemn himself, and exemplified liberalism instead:
{ Luke 6: 37 – 8} 

        "Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back."

Can you imagine "Religious Right" types
treating "prodigal son" types the way
the father did in Jesus' parable?
{ Luke 15:11-32 :} 
        Although this passage is commonly called "the parable of the prodigal son", that's only a title added by editors to verses that had no title in the original. Since the point of this story, however, is to describe the divine father, I think a much better title would be one that highlights the father's behavior rather the son's. And since its the father's liberality that is emphasized, what better title could there be than "the parable of the liberal father"? (And note that it's not the wayward son who is portrayed badly in this story of Jesus', it's the resentful conservative son!

        "A man had two sons.  When the younger told his father, 'I want my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die!'  his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.  "A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and there wasted all his money on parties and prostitutes.  About the time his money was gone a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.  He persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs.  The boy became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the swine looked good to him.  And no one gave him anything.
        "When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, 'At home even the hired men have food enough and to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger!  I will go home to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and am no longer worthy of being called your son.  Please take me on as a hired man.'  So he returned home to his father. 
And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming, and was filled with loving pity and ran and embraced him and kissed him.  "His son said to him,  'Father, I have sinned against heaven and you, and am not worthy of being called your son.  "But his father said to the slaves, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him, and a jeweled ring for his finger; and shoes!  And kill the calf we have in the fattening pen.  We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has returned to life.  He was lost and is found.'  So the party began.
        "Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working; when he returned home, he heard dance music coming from the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on.  "'Your brother is back,' he was told, 'and your father has killed the calf we were fattening and has prepared a great feast to celebrate his coming home again unharmed.'  "The older brother was angry and wouldn't go in.  His father came out and begged him, but he replied,  'All these years I've worked hard for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to;  and in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends.   Yet when this son of yours comes back after spending your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the finest calf we have on the place.'
        "'Look, dear son,' his father said to him, 'you and I are very close, and everything I have is yours.  But it is right to celebrate.   For he is your brother;  and he was dead and has come back to life!  He was lost and is found!'"

        Jesus made a similar point when he said in
{ Matthew 21: 28-32 } 

        "What do you think?  A man had two sons; he went to the first and said,  'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.'  He answered,  'I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went.  The father went to the second and said the same;  and he answered,  'I go, sir';  but he did not go.  which of the two did the will of his father?"  They said,  "The first." Jesus said to them,  "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of god ahead of you.

"Forgive them, Father,

for they know not
what they do."

        When Jesus spoke those words from the cross, was he praying for the religious leaders who had been working for months, if not years, for just such an outcome?  Or was he simply praying for the misinformed "little people" following the orders of higher ups?  When it came to those with whom he had done battle for most of his public life,  Jesus was anything but forgiving.
        "Evangelicals" spend a lot of time and effort worrying about "Satan".  But, if Jesus was concerned about an invisible evil angel from another world, he had a strange way of showing it, because he hardly ever mentioned the devil.  Instead,  judging from the four Gospels, which are dedicated to his life and preaching,  there was nobody that even came close to bothering Jesus as much as the religious establishment of his day: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the priests, the "Scribes" or "experts in the law" (i.e. the Bible).  Click on the Bible below and you will find some 80 sermons, reprimands to or warnings about those whom Jesus considered most threatening to him and to his mission, i.e. not Satan ( whom he mentioned only a few times),  but those who claimed to represent GOD and the Bible.  in other words, the "Religious Right" of his day.  This barrage of sermons against these supposed "men of God" is what moved them to have Jesus permanently silenced, after they managed to persuade enough people to believe that Jesus was the imposter and they were God's true representatives.
        Anyone who claims to believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and does not want to know what Jesus had to say about the "Religious Right" of HIS day, DESERVES to be misled by the "Religious Right" of OUR day  .

Open the Bible 
to see for yourself.

        To see just how sinister the so-called "Christian Coalition" really is look at it through the eyes of someone who saw it from inside "the inner sanctum", read the outstanding expose of this monstrous fraud : The Hijacking of the Christian Church, published on the Religious Freedom Coalition of the SouthEast web site.

This Book of the Bible
might well be called:
"The Antidote to
Christian Conservatism."

{ James 1:27 – 2:9 }

        "The Christian who is pure and without fault, from God the Father's point of view, is the one who takes care of orphans and widows in their distress, and who remains true to the Lord – not soiled and dirtied by his contacts with the world.  Dear brothers, how can you claim that you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory,  if you show favoritism to rich people and look down on poor people?  If a man comes into your church dressed in expensive clothes and with valuable gold rings on his fingers, and at the same moment another man comes in who is poor and dressed in thread-bare clothes, and you make a lot of fuss over the rich man and give him the best seat in the house and say to the poor man,  "You can stand over there if you like or else sit on the floor"  –   well,  judging a man by his wealth shows that you are guided by wrong motives.
      Listen to me, dear brothers: God has chosen poor people to be rich in faith, and the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs,  for that is the gift God has promised to all those who love him.  And yet, of the two strangers, you have despised the poor man.  Don't you realize that it is usually the rich men who pick on you and drag you into court?  And all too often they are the ones who laugh at Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear.  Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord's command, "You must love and help your neighbors just as much as you love and take care of yourself."  But you are breaking this law of our Lord's when you favor the rich and fawn over them; it is sin."

{ James 2:12-21 & 26} 

        "You will be judged on whether or not you are doing what Christ wants you to.  So watch what you do and what you think; for there will be no mercy to those who have shown no mercy.   But if you have been merciful, then God's mercy toward you will win out over his judgment against you.  Dear brothers, what's the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren't proving it by helping others?  Will that kind of faith save anyone?
      If you have a friend who is in need of food and clothing, and you say to him,  "Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat hearty," and then don't give him clothes or food, what good does that do?  So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith.  You must also do good to prove that you have it.
      Faith that doesn't show itself by good works is no faith at all  –   it is dead and useless.  But someone may well argue, "You say the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing;  well, I say that good works are important too, for without works you can't prove whether you have faith or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act."  Are there still some among you who hold that "only believing" is enough?  Believing in one God?  Well, remember that the demons believe this too – so strongly that they tremble in terror!  Fool!  When will you ever learn that "believing" is useless without doing what God wants you to?  Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith.  Just as the body is dead when there is no spirit in it, so faith is dead if it is not the kind that results in good deeds."

{ James 5:1-7 }

        "Look here, you rich men, now is the time to cry and groan with anguished grief because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you.  Your wealth is even now rotting away, and your fine clothes are becoming mere moth-eaten rags.  The value of your gold and silver is dropping fast, yet it will stand as evidence against you and eat your flesh like fire.  That is what you have stored up for yourselves to receive on that coming day of judgment.  For listen!  Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay.   Their cries have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts.  You have spent your years here on earth having fun, satisfying your every whim, and now your fat hearts are ready for the slaughter.  You have condemned and killed good men who had no power to defend themselves against you."

        Conservatives may love to quote some verses from John, but have you ever heard them quote these?
{ 1 John 3:17-29 } 

        "If someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need and won't help him – how can God's love be within him?  Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.  Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God's side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord.
        But if we have bad consciences and feel that we have done wrong, the Lord will surely feel it even more, for he knows everything we do.  But, dearly loved friends, if our consciences are clear, we can come to the Lord with perfect assurance and trust, and get whatever we ask for because we are obeying him and doing the things that please him.  And this is what God says we must do: Believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.  Those who do what God says – they are living with God and he with them.  We know this is true because the Holy Spirit he has given us tells us so."

{ 1 John 4:1 }
        "Dearly loved friends, don't always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God: test it first to see if it really is.  For there are many false teachers around."     [... as is evident in those who claim that today's Republican Party represents the teaching of Christ! ]
        Don't be fooled by the many times Christian Conservatives mention the name of "Jesus" or "Christ".  Pay close attention and you will find that they largely ignore what Christ taught – which was largely about the necessity of devoting ones life to doing good deeds for the benefit of those in need of them and to thereby please God and achieve eternal life. –   Instead they repeat endlessly what Paul of Tarsus taught ( i.e. that Jesus supposedly intended to save us by faith alone ) – which makes just about everything Jesus or anybody else says about works superfluous or even objectionable. –   This is the heart of the problem with "Christian Conservatism", and so we dedicate an extensive web page to the extremely important issue of Paul's teaching about faith vs. Christ's teaching about works.

        "Christian Republicans" insist that "charity" is a private matter, best left to churches, and that it is wrong for any government to tax the rich in order to help the poor.  According to them, "market forces" and the "profit-motive" – not morality, or religion – should govern in the public square.  That's straight out of the gospel according to the G.O.P.,  and the very opposite of what the Hebrew and the Christian Scriptures teach!  Here is what the Bible and Jesus teach about GOD vs. Mammon (Greed) and here is why so few Christian priests or preachers teach what Jesus taught about the lust for money.
        "Christian Conservatives" often insist that they are in possession of "the absolute truth" and they despise Liberals for promoting what they call "moral relativism". 
        According to John 10:16, Jesus said, "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold (i.e. who don't think and worship as we do).  I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.  So there will be one flock, one shepherd."         And in Luke's Gospel, (as well as in Mark's) we are told that when his followers said to him in Ch. 9, v. 49,  "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us."  Jesus replied "Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you."
        (Yes, I know that according to Matthew 9, 30, Jesus said the very opposite, "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters."  So much for the "absolute truth"!  See the scores of internal contradictions in the Bible which Liberals who actually read the bible attentively have found in it at LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/inerrancy.)


        St. Richard of Chichester created a prayer which the Broadway hit "Godspell" turned into this beautiful anthem :

Day by Day
Oh, dear God, three things I pray:
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day, by day, by day.
Some Interesting Quotes

        "The Last Christian died on the cross"
The German philosopher, Nietzsche,

        "We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another."
The English author Jonathan Swift
"Man created God in his image."
John Allen
        "If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be a Christian."
The American author Mark Twain, (in his "Notebook", prepared for publication by Albert Bigelow Paine (New York: Harper and Row, 1935, p. 328.)
        "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
– Mohandas Gandhi

        "Hasn't America seen enough of the exclusionary, prejudicial, vote-suppressing, racial profiling, inner city-ignoring, confederate flag-waving, Bob Jones University-loving attitudes of the radical right? "
– U. S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy

        Had Hitler not persuaded the Roman Catholic and the Lutheran churches to "mind their own (ecclesiastical) business, and to stay out of "secular" matters,  the mass murder of 10 million Jews, Jehovah witnesses, handicapped people, Liberals and homosexuals could never have succeeded.  See " the role played by Catholic Church's leadership in the Jewish Holocaust"

Why the Bible makes demands on "government" .
        How many Bible believers know that modern translations, such as the NRSV below, have replaced the term "liberal", which was used in the King James version, with the term "noble" ?
{ Isaiah 32: 1, & 5-8 KJV : }

        "Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. . . . 5 The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful. For the vile person will speak villainy, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right. 8 But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand. " "


        The triumph of Conservatism in America these days is perhaps most visible in the way we are throwing more of our "sinners" in prison than any other country in the world, civilized or not.  And nowhere is the treatment of those in prison nearly as cruel and un-Christian as it is in the "Bible Belt" states.  Instead of visiting those in prison, as Jesus taught, Republicans seem intent on making sure that as many families as possible are torn apart, with as many children as possible deprived of fathers and mothers who are behind bars, often far from their families.
        That is why we devote an entire web pages to Prison Abuse in America's "Bible Belt",  and to the attrocious travesty of justice of ConvictedWrongfully.com.

        "One of my all time favorite Fox News moments was on the Hannity & Colmes show.  The hosts were talking about the book which Alan Colmes had written ("Red, White and Liberal") in which there is a chapter entitled, "Jesus was a liberal".  This night, the Conservative preacher, Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, was the guest.  Turning to the preacher, Hannity, with a sneer & smirk, told Graham about the chapter in Colmes' book.  Expecting Graham to sneer along with him, Hannity asked what Graham thought about that....  Graham replied (to Hannity's horror) that he'd have to agree with Colmes." – D103486 ––
        Here is an outstanding editorial which the Amarillo Globe News had the good sense to publish on Jan. 29 ,2003:
http://www.amarillonet.com/stories/012903/opi_aprayer.shtml:

Jesus Wouldn't Have a Prayer Among the Far Right

     The Trinity of Robertson, Falwell and Swaggart, the American "Axis of Good", has been busy preaching to its flocks on the evils of the religion of Islam.
     These scholars, who only a short time ago thought Muslim was a coarse weave fabric Jimmy encountered under his liaisons in the cheaper motels, are today world-renowned experts, with Falwell credited with inciting riots in India.  Falwell called Muhammad, the founder of Islam, "a terrorist ... a man of war," while another reverent man of God, noting that one of Muhammad's many wives was but 9 years old, labeled him a "demon-possessed pedophile."  That is hardly the worst that has been said, but it does highlight the Right's usual prurient preoccupation with sex and violence.  Any historian will explain how inappropriate it is to measure the behavior of the people of one age by the moral standards of another.  Muhammad's conduct, occurring more than 1,300 years ago, when warfare was business as usual and females were married while still children, was consistent with his contemporaries, even Christians.  Of course, that is beside the point to Robertson, Falwell and Swaggart, men determined to judge the seventh century by their more modern 14th-century sensibilities.
Jesus a businessman?

      Jesus was wandering around Jerusalem when He decided that He really needed a new robe. After looking around for a while, He saw a sign for "Finkelstein, the Tailor". So, He went in and made the necessary arrangements to have Finkelstein prepare a new robe for Him. A few days later, when the robe was finished, Jesus tried it on and it was a perfect fit! He asked how much He owed. Finkelstein brushed him off: 'No, no,no, for the Son of God ? There's no charge! However, may I ask for a small favor? Whenever you give a sermon, perhaps you could just mention that I made your nice new robe?'
     Jesus readily agreed and as promised extolled the virtues of his Finkelstein robe whenever He spoke to the masses.
     A few months later, while Jesus was again walking through Jerusalem, He happened to walk past the tailor shop and noted a huge line of people waiting for Finkelstein's robes. He pushed his way through the crowd to speak to him and as soon as Finkelstein spotted him he said: 'Jesus, Jesus, look what you've done for my business! Would you consider a partnership?'
     'Certainly,' he replied. 'Jesus & Finkelstein it is.'
     'Oh, no, no,' said the tailor. 'Finkelstein & Jesus. After all, I am the craftsman.' The two of them debated this for some time. Their discussion was long and spirited, but ultimately fruitful and they finally came up with a mutually acceptable compromise. The original sign that went up over Finkelstein's shop is long gone, but the business has flourished and continues to this day, under the same name, as you can see below :

 

 

 

 

 

  Lord &Taylor store

 

[ source unknown ]



     If one is keeping score, it is just as easy to point out the evils of Christianity.  Tens of thousands of men, women and children, both Christian and non-Christian, have been terrorized and sped into the arms of their Maker on the point of a sword, or toasted on church bonfires, all in the name of Christ.  It is a subject that seems to rarely come up in Sunday school for some reason.  Of course, the gentle Lamb of God did not commit such violence, but that actually creates a problem for the American ayatollahs.  Throughout the Cold War, Vietnam, and the Gulf War, the Right has had nothing but scorn for doves.  If Jesus was alive today, wouldn't he be considered just another naive, longhaired peacenik?  Haven't the ranks of the Right always celebrated the man who kills for his convictions and gets all the chicks?  Haven't they found the guy who never married, never dated girls, and just threw wine-and-bread parties with the boys a little suspect? The American cultural icon is Rambo, not Mr. Rogers.  If the right-wingers really studied the matter, they'd find they have more in common with Muhammad than with Jesus.  Muhammad was a merchant, a businessman and entrepreneur – a capitalist.  Before Jesus walked off his job, he was a carpenter, a common laborer – and with his talk of brotherhood, no doubt would have been a union man.  He hung out with the dregs of society: the poor, prostitutes, tax collectors, and finally thieves.  Not exactly the kind of person to whom you would entrust your most precious and eternal possession: your stock portfolio.  Jesus revealed his anti-business agenda as soon as he threw the money-changers out of the temple.  To the orthodox for whom taxation is government organized theft, Jesus' clear advocacy of paying taxes by "rendering unto Caesar" is a complete abomination.  Scholars are still divided over whether the raising of Lazarus was to escape the death tax or an intent to pay it twice.  In addition to depriving the mortuary services industry of business, Jesus had a bad habit of healing the blind, lame and sick without prior approval from health maintenance organizations.  He also offered these treatments without regard to ability to pay, an early attempt at universal health care.  The Right is thankful that this has as much chance today as it did 2,000 years ago – barring another miracle.
     Yet more subversive acts were the turning of water into wine and the multiplication of the loaves and fishes to feed the multitude.  Supply-side economics and the careful management of scarcity would be utterly wrecked by cheap and plentiful goods on the market.  Profits would collapse, CEOs would lose their jobs, and the specter of want would be lifted from the land.  What a capitalist nightmare.  The unemployed rabble-rouser from Nazareth was obviously pushing for a welfare state.  Jesus mollycoddled the poor and went out of his way to condemn the rich.  His warning that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man to get into heaven was typical socialist blather.  The affluent have had to devote themselves to breeding smaller camels and building larger needles ever since.
     And in answer to that age-old question – what would Jesus drive?  – he did not ride an elephant into Jerusalem but a donkey, clearly an endorsement of the Democratic Party and the liberal socioeconomic agenda, not the Republican.  Perhaps it is time the furious Pharisees quit barking up the wrong tree.

    by Erik V. Williams of Amarillo,
a frequent contributor to the Other Opinion page."
        Here is another excellent article,  Wasn't Jesus A Liberal?
by a Christian evangelical clergyman, Gary Vance, from Loretto, TN. I haven't read these books by John Dominic Crossan yet,
but they appear to support what we see in Jesus :
  • The Essential Jesus: Original Sayings and Earliest Images, HarperCollins; (November 1994) ASIN: 0062510444
  • Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography
  • The Historical Jesus:
  • The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant
  • The Birth of Christianity:
  • Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus
  • Who Is Jesus?: Answers to Your Questions About the Historical Jesus, (with Richard G. Watts)
  • In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus
  • Jesus   vs.  Guns :

            Another way in which Republican Conservatives espouse the opposite of Christ is in their love of and reliance on tools of death & war.

            I once saw a gun lover's site pull the following words of Jesus out of their context to support his position: " the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one."
    The context of that passage, however, shows how dishonest that use of the verse is: Luke 22: 36-38 He said to them, "But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one.  For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, 'And he was counted among the lawless'; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled."  They said, "Lord, look, here are two swords." He replied, "It is enough."
            In Jesus' day of course there were no guns, but can anyone doubt that if he were alive today, Jesus would be warning us about guns & bombs rather than "swords", as in

    { Matthew 26, 52 : } 

            " Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword ."

            And who was the fulfilment of this prophecy, if not Jesus:
    { Isaiah 2 : 3-4 } 

            "For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

    Was Jesus Christ responsible for
    the "New Covenant" prophesied by Jeremiah?

    {Chapter 31:31-34 NIV}  

            "The time is coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt [i.e., the covenant of the Law, the Ten Commandments], because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the Lord.
            "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the Lord. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the Lord. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

            This is the way the Greek philosopher, Aristides, described to the pagan Roman Emperor Hadrian the second century Christians whom he had observed ( in his Apology 15,16; A.D. 137 ).

            "It is the Christians, O Emperor, . . . who beyond all the nations of the earth have found the truth: for they know God as Creator and Maker of all things, and they worship no other god beside Him; for they have His commandments graven on their hearts, and these they keep in expectation of the world to come.  Whatsoever they would should not be done unto them, they do not to another. . .  If they see a stranger they bring him under their roof, and rejoice over him, as over a brother, for they call not one another brethren after the flesh, but after the spirit.  They are ready for Christ's sake to give up their own lives; for His commandments they securely keep, living holy and righteous lives, according as the Lord their God hath commanded them, giving thanks to Him at all hours, over all their food and drink, and the rest of their good things."

    [ from http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/APO_ARN/ARISTIDES_APOLOGY_OF.html ]         Now it is clear why the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. called Jesus of Nazareth "one of history's most famous Liberals".