What would Jesus do?

Attorney General and all-around bigot Jeff Sessions attempted to defend the parent-child separations that are taking place on the southern border this week by citing a passage from the Bible:

"I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes," Sessions said. "Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent, fair application of law is in itself a good and moral thing and that protects the weak, it protects the lawful. Our policies that can result in short-term separation of families are not unusual or unjustified."

I'm not a religious person, but I've read The Bible from beginning to end three times, and this is not so hard to understand. Christians simply need to ask themselves one question:

What would Jesus do?

Whether you believe that Jesus was the son of God, a prophet, or simply a smart and righteous guy, his teaching, as presented in The Bible, is unwavering and unambiguous.

Would Jesus separate a child from their parents?

Would Jesus refuse to bake a cake for two men who loved each other and wanted to spend the rest of their lives together? 

Would Jesus, a refugee himself, send asylum-seekers back their home country and an almost certain death?

Would Jesus cut permanently cut taxes on the wealthy while offering fractional, temporary tax cuts to middle class?

Would Jesus have voted for a man who brags about sexual assault? Defrauds Americans with a fake university? Lies constantly? Commits adultery with porn stars and then pays them off with hush money? Stands accused of sexual assault but almost two dozen women? Insults Gold Star families, war veterans, the disabled, and women? Refused to rent apartments to black families? Demands costly military parades? Befriends brutal dictators who have locked up hundreds of thousands of his citizens in gulags?

If Christians simply applied the "What would Jesus do?" question (and perhaps in some cases actually read The Bible instead of trusting the teaching of politically motivated religious leaders) to these policy decisions, the choices would be clear.

No, Jeff Sessions. The Bible does not support your barbaric policy of separating children from their parents on the border. Jesus would never do such a thing, and "What would Jesus do?" is is the only Biblical standard that should apply to Christians and/or bigots who attempt to use The Bible to defend their barbarity.  

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Lest us not forget the real story of Christmas

It's a damn shame how racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and disregard for human life outside our borders keep getting in the way of the those God loving conservatives like Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions and what should be their desire to help those less fortunate. 

If only they knew the true meaning (and origins) of Christmas. 

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This is not the Jesus you learned about in Sunday School

The odd thing about the America that so many Republicans (including the alt-right) desire is that it would absolutely reject Jesus if he were still alive today.  

After all, Jesus was Jewish.

He was very much a socialist.

He was homeless. A refugee.  

He was anti-death penalty. Anti-school prayer (Matthew 6:5). Anti-violence.

He strongly opposed the accumulation of wealth. 

He never said a word about homosexuality or gay marriage. 

And as much as the church might have you think otherwise, Jesus was not white. He was a brown-skinned Middle Easterner who wore sandals to the dinner table and hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes. 

Also, unlike our Vice President, he was able to dine alone with a woman who was not his wife.

There is no room for Jesus in the American that Republicans like Mike Pence envision. Brown skinned, Middle Eastern refugees have already been banned from our country. His anti-capitalistic rhetoric would be shouted down by Republicans. It would be difficult, if not impossible for him to attend a Trump rally without being verbally, if not physically, assaulted (and have Trump offer to pay the legal fees of anyone who hit him)..

There is no place in conservative, Evangelical, Trumpian America for Jesus, despite the fact that they invoke his name constantly. 

I keep waiting for the smiting.   

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These people don't know Jesus, and Jesus doesn't give a damn about toilets

A woman defending transgender rights at a school-board meeting in Horry County, South Carolina last week was interrupted by a roughly 500-person chorus of “Jesus Loves Me.”

Jesus may love these people, but these people apparently know nothing about Jesus. Son of God or ancient philosopher, I promise you this: 

Jesus wouldn't give a damn about where a person chooses to pee.

Rose City Park Church: The sign is real, and the message is fantastic, despite my suggestions for revision.

I assumed that this sign was a fake when I saw it, but no. It's real. 

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It's also both shocking and refreshing. As a person who would like to believe in God and an afterlife but has been unable to do so, a logical, sensible, rational message like this makes religion seem so much more accessible.

Bravo, Tom Tate and company.

I'm also a fan of the Rose City Park United Methodist Church's mission statement (even though I despise the notion of mission statements): 

The Rose City Park United Methodist Church …

 “Where we share God’s love Compassionately and Inclusively

… through Radical Hospitality.”

I could do without the ellipses (of course), but they aren't egregious enough to ruin the spirit of the message.

But it's close.

I also find it amusing that Rose City Park refers to itself as both a city and a park when it's neither. It's actually a small, overpriced (Forbes, 2009) neighborhood in northeast Portland, Oregon.  

As a person who has read the Bible cover to cover three times, I might also suggest changing the word God to Jesus on their sign. Based upon Biblical text, I am quite certain that Jesus would prefer kind atheists over hateful Christians.

The God of the Bible (and particularly the Old Testament) wasn't nearly as reasonable or rational.   

It’s a shame when people pose as Christians and give Jesus a bad name.

A Walkerton, Indiana, pizza shop is the state’s first business to declare it will not service gay weddings after the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law last week.

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“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” Memories Pizza’s Crystal O’Connor told a local news station. “We are a Christian establishment.”

It’s astounding that a person could claim to be following the teachings of Jesus and believe that discrimination based upon sexual orientation is something he would support.

Recently Washington Post book critic Ron Charles tweeted this:

Seriously, how do you study the Gospels and conclude that Jesus wanted his followers to turn away people they disapprove of? #Indiana

I replied to Charles, offering a possible (and probable) explanation:

In all likelihood, there has been no study of the Gospels. At best, this pizza shop owner has probably listened to out-of-context selections of the Bible, read to her on Sundays by a person who is employed by an organization that discriminates based upon sexual orientation and demands that its employees teach this doctrine to their congregants.

This does not qualify as study. At best, it amounts to biased, second-hand browsing. At worst, it’s a form of indoctrination.

Study requires a careful examination of source materials. It requires an open mind and skepticism. It requires a person to ask difficult questions and give serious consideration to opposing views.

Not exactly the way that services are typically run on a Sunday.

I am not a religious person. I call myself a reluctant atheist. I have spent a great deal of time in Catholic and Protestant Churches and attended Sunday School and Vacation Bible School for years, but I simply could not find the faith required to believe. I desperately want to believe in a benevolent God and a glorious afterlife, but I have yet to be able to do so.

But I have read The Bible cover to cover three times – twice in college and once on my own – and based upon those careful readings, I can conclude that there is no way in hell that Jesus would supported the position taken by this pizza shop owner.

If the pizza shop owner actually sat down and read and studied The Bible from beginning to end, the message of Jesus becomes abundantly clear. I may not believe that Jesus was the son of God, but I think he was a brilliant philosopher and teacher whose belief in accepting all people regardless of their differences is clear and profound.

Jesus – without a doubt – would stand against any opposition to same-sex marriages.

Still, I suspect that Jesus would happily eat a pizza from Memories Pizza – especially if their pizza is good – because amongst the many things that Jesus espoused was his belief in both acceptance and forgiveness.

Crystal O’Connor may be wrong about her interpretation of The Bible, and her position on same-sex marriage may be bigoted, but that doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t be able to make a living. It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t make good pizza. I suspect that she is probably a good person – better than me – but misled by a church that picks and chooses its Scripture in order to support its own discriminatory positions.

Let’s be honest:

Any institution that places the text of Leviticus over the teachings of Jesus can hardly be called Christian.

Megyn Kelly of “the very powerful” Fox News is an expert on Santa Claus according to Megyn Kelly. She’s also despicable, at least based upon her non-apology.

“For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white.”

Wow.

Though the Santa Claus who I grew up with was white, I have seen more than enough African-American Santas to know that his race is malleable depending upon culture.

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Regardless of his country of origin and the race of the first Saint Nicholas,  Santa is a make-believe character.

Do we really think that the Haitian version of Santa Claus needs to be white?

Of course, these stupid words (along with the assertion that Jesus was also white) come from a white, affluent, blonde women who is speaking for four other white, presumably affluent people on the issue of race and Santa Claus.

Only on Fox News could you find four white people debate the opinion of an African American writer and her feelings towards a white Santa.

Fox couldn’t find one African American to weigh in on the matter?

Not one?

When I see journalism like this, I always remind myself of these facts:

  • The median age of the Fox News viewer is over 65.
  • Over the past five years, Fox’s average number of viewers has fallen from 557,000 to 379,000.
  • Fox News is speaking to an elderly demographic.
  • Fox New is running out of viewers because they are dying.
  • Fox News will soon be irrelevant. 

Megyn Kelly has since issued a not-apology in which she claimed that her remarks in this “light-hearted segment” were “tongue in cheek, and that the entire segment on her “very powerful news network” was done in the spirit of humor and was not meant to be serious at all.

I actually think her not-apology is more offensive than her initial statement. It’s like the high school bully who calls you names for a week and then claims that he was just joking when the teacher overhears his remarks.