I wonder about Jesus a lot.  I contemplate how Jesus’s message could have been distorted so.  I wonder if Jesus existed.  I wonder if Jesus’s words have any bearing in my life.  When I do wonder about such things, I wonder if conservative Christians wonder much like I do.  Do they put thought into thinking.  I ponder the ways that conservative Christians find reasons for the suffering our country has imposed upon so many others in its history, especially recently.  How can they reconcile their faith with a man that seems as the self-anointed leader of the Christian blind, deaf, and dumb?  It’s hard to forget sometimes that Christianity in its truest form does exist because the conservative neo-Christians have such a loud, brazen bark and it is remarkably easy to hear the yelling through the din while the quiet contemplate.

I give thanks for a man named Bill Moyers, who has helped my contemplation in a recent speech.  A few highlights are quoted below, but please read the transcript of the speech or watch it in its entirety at: Democracy in Balance.

In our time alone the litany is horrendous. I keep a file marked “Holy War.” It bulges with stories of Shias and Sunnis in fratricidal conflict. Of teenage girls in Algeria shot in the face for not wearing a veil. Of professors whose throats are cut for teaching male and female students in the same classroom. Of the fanatical Jewish doctor with a machine gun mowing down 30 praying Muslims in a mosque. Of Muslim suicide bombers bent on the obliteration of Jews. Of the young Orthodox Jew who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin and then announced to the world that “Everything I did, I did for the glory of God.” Of Hindus and Muslims slaughtering each other in India, of Christians and Muslims perpetuating gruesome vengeance on each another in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, groups calling themselves the Christian Identity Movement and the Christian Patriot League arm themselves, and Christians intoxicated with the delusional doctrine of two 19th-century preachers not only await the rapture but believe they have an obligation to get involved politically to hasten the divine scenario for the Apocalypse that will bring an end to the world. Sadly, Christians, too, can invoke God for the purpose of waging religious war. “Onward Christian Soldiers” is back in vogue and the 2lst century version of the Crusades has taken on aspects of the righteous ferocity that marked its predecessors. “To be furious in religion,” said the Quaker William Penn, “is to be furiously irreligious.”

That’s why so many people are turned off by politics. It’s why we can’t put things right. And it’s wrong. Hear the great Justice Learned Hand on this: “If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: ‘Thou shalt not ration justice.’” He got it right: The rich have the right to buy more homes than anyone else. They have the right to buy more cars, more clothes, or more vacations than anyone else. But they don’t have the right to buy more democracy than anyone else.

And they hijacked Jesus. The very Jesus who stood in Nazareth and proclaimed, “The Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor.” The very Jesus who told 5,000 hungry people that all of you will be fed, not just some of you. The very Jesus who challenged the religious orthodoxy of the day by feeding the hungry on the Sabbath, who offered kindness to the prostitute and hospitality to the outcast, who raised the status of women and treated even the tax collector like a child of God. The very Jesus who drove the money changers from the temple. This Jesus has been hijacked and turned into a guardian of privilege instead of a champion of the dispossessed. Hijacked, he was made over into a militarist, hedonist, and lobbyist, sent prowling the halls of Congress in Guccis, seeking tax breaks and loopholes for the powerful, costly new weapon systems that don’t work, and punitive public policies.

—–