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Gary Horton: Jesus isn't a Republican or Democrat

Posted: March 27, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 27, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Recently, this esteemed journal has spilled much ink debating the withers and thithers as to whether Jesus, should he ever choose to reincarnate himself as an American, would malign himself with the mantle of "conservative Republican" or "liberal Democrat."

Kevin Buck postures that Jesus is plainly a liberal while Steve Lunetta counters that Jesus’ politics put him squarely in the Fox News-ish conservative camp.

Frankly, my dears, most thinking Santa Claritans couldn’t give a damn, which is exactly the right posture we’d better pose if we have any hope to remain a people of free minds regaining balance and collaboration in our government.

There’s something about "knowing" the All Powerful Master Of The Universe is on your particular side and shares your particular views — that self-justifies all kinds of cocky, down right crazy, illogical, cruel, often criminal, and too often murderous actions and behaviors.

"How can we be wrong when God is on our side?" There’s not much need for analyzing facts or impacts when we know the All Knowing knows we’re already right.

The "God is on our side" mentality isn’t limited to politics. We’ve all seen friends and associates lose money, houses, farms, and family on irrational, faith-based decisions.

Some folks literally die because their God forbids this or that medical procedure. Others trade away their kids’ education and futures because this or that education is evil.

And of course, many of the highest-profile speakers in God’s name have also been discovered following His voice in their heads to be found sleeping with other men’s wives, cavorting with male prostitutes, and other such ungodly acts.

Jesus, if we’re to believe all those speaking under His guidance, has folks doing some pretty darn goofy things.

Goofy enough that I’m not sure we’d want any common constructs of Jesus found anywhere near our politics. Geesh, if Jesus has been found handing out instructions to David Koresh in Waco, to Jim Jones in Guyana, to guys bombing Planned Parenthood offices, and today, to corporatist, racist, and sexist politicians shilling on His name — well, it might follow that we wouldn’t want such a malleable Jesus meddling around our political affairs.

The political activist Jesus, it seems, is either too easily persuaded by politicians and preachers abusing Him for street cred, or he’s simply too perplexing for us to come to a unified opinion of who He is.

One thing Jesus certainly isn’t is universally understood. Hence, we have the United States evenly 50/50 disunited over serious public policy, with both sides conjuring up versions of Jesus to buttress their particular points of view.

God, we’re told, is omnipotent. From the look of American faith-based politics, he seems to be omni-opinionated, as well.

And the result is a faith-based divided and dysfunctional America.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a believer and hope to High Heaven there’s a compassionate God who generously and graciously forgives the sins of wrecks like myself who seem to do more things wrong than right.

But maybe I’m holding something back from the God I want to love because I’ve also learned reflexive reactions to run the other way when leaders say God told them this or God inspired them to that.

There’s not much need to think about it — just run away when encountering folks hearing voices in their heads.

America’s infamous blood-drenched president George W. Bush routinely claimed direct instruction from the Almighty. One famous quote has Bush explaining, "I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.’ And I did, and then God would tell me, ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq,’ and I did."

Well, so much for Jesus’ advice to that "compassionate conservative" Republican. The terrorists got away only to be killed by the Kenyan, and the Iraq War is looking more like war crimes than doing God’s work.

What it all comes down to is that "political Jesus" is simply too unreliable an adviser to those crediting their actions to Him to be allowed into our political spheres.

He’s developed terrible policy track record of wars and atrocities by folks claiming to act on His behalf. Mixing Jesus and politics has been a disastrous combination.

Of course, there’s a more pragmatic way to look at this Jesus in politics thing. It could be that conniving, corrupt leaders abuse the Innocent Name of God to manipulate constituencies for their greedy purposes.

Yes, that may be what’s really going on. Big oil got Iraq back. Bible-thumping Bible Belters get their influence, and TV evangelism remains a booming, highly profitable business where the easily influenced are whipped up for donations and votes.

Masters Buck and Lunetta: It’s likely Jesus doesn’t want anything to do with being a Republican nor Democrat. If Jesus is following American faith-based politics at all, he’s likely just Repulsed.

Gary Horton is a Valencia resident. "Full Speed to Port!" appears Wednesdays in The Signal.


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