Saturday, December 21, 2013

Another stoopid lefty meme to fisk

To your left is another meme making the usual rounds. Like most memes, its BQ (bulls*** quotient) is high and its SMK (subject-matter knowledge) is low; like most progressive memes invoking Jesus, it shows a high degree of scriptural choosiness combined with a shocking innocence concerning anachronism (do I need to point out that Jesus didn't have to pay for malpractice insurance, buy expensive diagnostic equipment or maintain a suite of offices?).

*sigh* Here we go:

Jesus was not a radical revolutionary. He affirmed the authority of religious leaders (Mt 23:2-3) and of the secular government (Lk 20:25). He hung out with sinners because "I came to call not the righteous to repentance but sinners" (Mk 2:17). Jesus' "silence" on homosexuality and abortion can only be taken to mean he did not oppose Jewish law forbidding gay sex and the use of abortifacients; Jesus “did not come to abolish the law ... but to fulfill [it]” (Mt 5:17). He did not condemn the adulteress, but he did tell her, “Go and sin no more” (Jn 8:11). 

Most of all, Jesus did not come to be a political sock puppet or to take sides in our godawful culture wars but so “that he who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

Let me give as much as I can to the progressive side of the argument: 

Jesus spoke of the love of God because it's that very divine Love that impels God to seek reconciliation with us. One of the images Jesus used to illustrate that merciful love is that of a shepherd who, having lost one sheep, leaves the other ninety-nine in order to find it, and rejoices more over having found the one lost than over not losing the other ninety-nine. Although he could be stern, and could trade invective with the best of them ("You brood of vipers!"), the image we get of Jesus' treatment of the sinners he ate with is of gentle encouragement. The Pharisees, with their cult of purity, had perfected the "zero tolerance policy"; Jesus, by contrast, showed not that God is "tolerant" — a word quickly losing substance in today's dialogue — but rather that He forgives at the least sign of regret and reform, that it's better to come to righteousness late than never at all, and that those who love much will be forgiven much. Jesus could cure sinfulness just as he could cure leprosy.

But Jesus, as I've written before, was not a first-century C├ęsar Chavez. He was not a Harvey Milk or a Martin Luther King, Jr. He led no protest against Roman or Herodian oppression. He said nothing recorded for or against slavery, or concerning the role of women in Judean society. He spent no time working for a state-supported social safety net. And I'm surprised that an itinerant preacher who had "no place to lay his head" could be described as "community-organizing". The person John Fugelsang is describing isn't Jesus ... in fact, with a quibble here and there, the person he's describing could be taken to be a first-century Jewish John Fugelsang. 

Or, as they say in divinity schools, "By their 'Lives of Jesus' you will know them."