Countless words of condemnation have been heaped upon President George W. Bush and his hard-right regime -- a crescendo growing louder by the day, with voices from across the political spectrum. But the most devastating repudiation of the regime's foul ethos was actually delivered almost 2,000 years ago by the man whose birth is celebrated at this season of the year.
We speak, of course, of Jesus of Nazareth, whose Sermon on the Mount called for a revolutionary transformation of human nature -- a complete overthrow of our natural instincts for greed, aggression and self-aggrandizement. This radical vision -- erupting in the turbulent backwater of a brutal world empire -- is the true miracle of Jesus' life, not the primitive fables about virgin births, magic tricks and corpses rising from the dead. The vision's living force sears through dogma, casts down the pomp of church and state, and gives the lie to every hypocrite who evokes Jesus' name in pursuit of earthly power.
Bush professes to believe that Jesus is the son of God, whose words are literally divine commands. Yet anyone who compares what Jesus really said to Bush's actions in power -- the abandonment of the poor, the exaltation of the rich; the dirty insider deals, the culture of corruption, the politics of smear and slander; the perversion of law to countenance murder, torture and predatory war -- can readily see that this profession of faith is a monstrous deceit.
Bush, along with his politicized, pseudo-religious "base," may well believe that some divine being approves of their unbridled greed, aggression and self-aggrandizement; but this mythical godling in their heads has nothing to do with the man from Nazareth who, as Matthew and Luke tell it, went up into a mountain one day and began to preach:
"Blessed be ye poor; for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now; for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now; for ye shall laugh."
"But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! For ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! For ye shall mourn and weep."
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you: Resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."
Floyd offers more sayings of Jesus that are in direct contradiction to the Bush administration's approach to life. I've never understood how being a Christian can include taking no notice of what Jesus actually taught. But the Republicans manage.