We have seen how Bernie Sanders could reach out and change the thinking of at least one Liberty University alum. It is inspiring to know that even those educated by a propaganda factory like Liberty University, can have their eyes opened.
Most, unfortunately, have not been so moved. Interestingly, Christian columnist Chris Queen complained in a column at PJ Media Wednesday that,
“The glaring problem with Sanders’ remarks is that, for a speech intended for an audience at a conservative Christian school, the senator’s words sorely lacked actual scripture.”
You can even make a case against everything Bernie Sanders told the crowd at Liberty University. All you have to do is ignore everything Jesus said:
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)
“Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.'” (Luke 12:15)
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20-22) and an accompanying curse on the rich: “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” (Luke 6:24).
Sanders is right in line with this thinking:
We take from the poor and we give to the rich – that is the Republican philosophy.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 17, 2015
Yet ignore these words of Jesus is exactly what Queen did in response to Sanders Wednesday, writing that he “God of the Bible is not a socialist.” Because, he claims, Jesus was talking to people, not to governments. People, he fails to mention, who don’t give a sh*t what Jesus said.
Queen rejected Sanders’ embrace of socialism, writing that,
This may come as a shock to Bernie Sanders, but the God of the Bible is not a Socialist. He commands us to take care of the poor, but His commands don’t apply to governments-they belong to individuals, families, churches, and synagogues. We are to help those who need help out of the overflow of our love for God and for each other, not because a tax code or government entity forces us to do so.
I would disagree. Jesus was very much talking to governments, both to the priests who ruled Judea for Rome, and to Rome itself.
They killed him, after all, for sedition. For stirring up trouble.
At the very least, the failure of Christians, and as the Pope himself has pointed out, the churches, to follow Jesus’ teachings, is an indictment of 2,000 years of Christianity, which has always had an inordinate love of money. If Christianity won’t take care of the poor, socialism can and will.
If no socialist country today is a utopia, neither has been any Christian country that has ever existed. Not least because there is a price to be paid for Christian charity.
Throughout history, the Church has demanded, in return for its services, conversion to whatever form of Christianity is handing out the goods. All socialism requires is that you be breathing. I know which I prefer. After all, Jesus didn’t say only poor Jewish people were blessed. If he had, Christians today wouldn’t be such hypocrites when they reject the Pope’s words.
Queen says Jesus is not a socialist. No indeed. He is a capitalist. And not only that, but a capitalist’s capitalist. According to the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, Jesus had capitalism “in his DNA.”
And we shouldn’t forget Glenn Beck, who said social justice is, “a perversion of the gospel.”
Self-described “Christian, patriot and defender of liberty” Bill Flax said in a Forbes op-ed back in 2012 in response to President Obama citing Jesus that “Socialism renders workers slaves to the state.” I suppose that is supposed to be worse than being slaves to belief in the face of provable, contrary facts.
The arguments against a socialist Jesus are each more ludicrous than the last, for example, Jonathan Moseley writing in World Net Daily that Jesus can’t be a socialist because “By ‘socialism,’ we must understand ‘theft.'”
Leave it to those practical Pagan Romans to understand the true nature of capitalism: Caveat emptor – “Let the buyer beware.”
And it is facts, not ideological rantings, that are at issue here. Not only the facts Bernie Sanders lays out in his speeches, but the facts laid out by Jesus in his. You can believe what you want, but as Republicans have repeatedly been told, you are not entitled to your own facts.
The entire debate last night took place in an imaginary universe, as we listened to Republican presidential candidates rail against the situation as it existed at the end of 2008, as though it were Obama and not Bush who had created the mess.
Almost seven critical years were missing from that debate, and Ann Coulter showed what many conservatives actually feel about Jews like Jesus, when she complained in a tweet during the debate,
How many f—ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) September 17, 2015
There are enough, and they mostly vote Democrat, but that’s hardly the point here. Coulter wanted the candidates to talk about how awful poor, impoverished refugees are. Jesus wanted to talk about the last being first, and the first, like her hero, Donald Trump, being last.
None of these people, who purport to champion Jesus’ teachings, get what Bernie Sanders is saying, even though he is coming from that same place Jesus came from, that same place Pope Francis is coming from now. They don’t get Sanders, and because they don’t get Sanders, they don’t get Jesus.
Queen condemns “Bernie Sanders and his ilk” for failing to understand the gospel, and in doing so, condemns “Jesus and his ilk” who, contrary to Evangelical teachings, actually condemned the rich people Evangelicals support. I think somebody is missing an important lesson here – one Jesus clearly taught – and it’s not me.
Or Bernie Sanders.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.