[Jesus and the rich young ruler]
Paul Krugman, the erstwhile economist, noted that during that so-called debate last week between the Republican wannabe pretenders to the throne, our economic problems were referred to 10 times while God was mentioned 19 times.
Many, if not most of these suits who wish to sit in the Oval Office, claim to be Christians and they're damn proud of it! Mike Huckabee, maybe the least Christian of the bunch, is a Southern Baptist preacher, among other things. Jeb! is a Roman Catholic. Mario was a Catholic, then a Mormon, then a Baptist, and I think he's again given his fealty to the papacy. Whatever religious garb they wear, they wear it with pride and often use their religion to bolster their political views. Everyone of them is homophobic and can quote chapter and verse where the Bible says homosexuality is an "abomination."
The stories of Jesus that appear in the New Testament frequently call attention to his animosity toward the Pharisees. Even if the story of Jesus is factual (there's no evidence to support such a claim), the men who cobbled together their stories from the first writer Mark, (who, in turn, cobbled his story from an unknown source), all make note of the difference between Jesus and the religious leaders of the time.
This is suspect, because, in fact, the Pharisees were the good guys of the first century, doing the work of God to the best of their ability. The priests were the ones who tended to climb over the common folk on their way to the temple. Because the gospels were written many long years after Jesus was supposed to have walked the dusty trails of Palestine, the writers had some problems determining just what was the religious situation in Jesus' day. And it is likely none of them were Jewish! None of the gospel writers had met him or knew him but simply copied and modified material which had been put together in a rather shaky attempt to give a history to the Christ to which Paul and others referred.
We don't know who wrote the gospel stories. The names are fictitious. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, could just as well have been Samuel, Joseph, Nathan and David. And by the 2nd Century, there had developed a good deal of animosity between the Christians and the Jews. That animosity is reflected in many of the gospel tales.
It would be reasonable to conclude that if Jesus had been real he would not have been in conflict with the Pharisees. They were devoted to keeping the law, as was he. Jesus was a teacher (rabbi) as well as a healer and a prophet. If Jesus had been real he would have worked with the Pharisees, not in opposition to them, as they mirrored his love for God and the Law.
Nevertheless, the gospels are adamant about a spiritual conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees. Now the Pharisees were human beings, just like the rest of us. I'm sure there were good ones, some not-so-good ones, and a few rascals. The rascals are the ones that got Jesus' attention for they were often hypocritical, calling for obedience to God and his Law, while flouting it in their own lives. Jesus said they liked to stand in the middle of the street and pray loudly believing that others would think more highly of them for their spirituality. Jesus said they were hypocrites and his followers should not do that but should shut themselves in a closet when they pray!
Jesus said many other things, most of which, if not all of which, the Republican Party and its leaders pretend to believe but disavow in their principles and their actions. One thing I've mentioned numerous times on this blog is the fact that Jesus had no use for riches or the wealthy and in fact said it would be almost impossible for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
And speaking of prayer: The Republican Party continues to fight to force our public institutions to allow Christian prayer, in classrooms and public venues. Rick Perry, the hypocritical former governor of Texas, was one of the leaders of a huge public prayer service in Houston a few years ago. This was exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught!
The Republican Party is founded on greed and fed by the rich! The Republican Party lives to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. And they do this while claiming to be good Christians. How can this be? They invoke the old fears of "socialism" and "communism" and they wring their hands because so many of our problems are brought on by immigrants and the minorities. Racism is always blatant in the Republican Party!
The Republican Party refuted the election of a black president. This was purely racial. We've not seen the likes of such hatred and non-cooperation. The Republican Party, from the moment Mr. Obama was elected, swore to do everything in its power to bring him down, and welcomed into the Party all those teapot crackpots and other nuts who fearlessly proclaimed any lie about President Obama that came to their demented minds. Even today, many in the Republican Party can't bring themselves to say Mr. Obama is a citizen of the United States! Even today, many claim he is a Muslim!
The Republican Party in 2015 stands in open opposition to almost everything the Jesus of the Gospels taught. Jesus taught us not to judge others, to turn the other cheek, to give our cloaks to those who are cold, to walk the extra mile, to feed the poor, to take care of the sick, to visit those who are in prison.
The Republican Party in 2015 is a war party. It is homophobic, judging homosexuals as deviants designed to hell. It doesn't turn the other cheek, it puts on the gloves. It doesn't take care of the poor, it figures out new ways every day to screw the poor and put more people in prison and then privatize the prisons so the rich can get richer! Millions of Americans do not have health care. The Republican Party has fought any attempt to provide health care for those without and continues to do so. Today, Republican leaders are vowing to fight Obama's agreement with Iran, even if it leads to war and the deaths of millions of people!
It is impossible to be a Christian and a member of the Republican Party!
Note: These thoughts were crystallized from an article in Daily Kos, "You Cannot be a Republican and a Christian."