Jesus the politician

The protean Gary Wills is at it again, today in a serious op-ed in the New York Times. The piece was doubtless prompted by the left’s darling, The Hillary, and her recent tone-deaf comments on Jesus.

Wills’ own politics are left-of-center, and he’s not shy about bashing his own Catholic faith. So, when he starts railing against bringing Jesus into the public square, it’s a pretty sure bet that his primary targets are conservatives.

Here’s what shocked me after reading the op-ed: Wills is right on the mark. Jesus’ gospel is not about politics. It is not about going to church and singing in the choir. It is not about having a creche at city hall, or a display of the Ten Commandments in a public building. It is solely about accepting Jesus Christ as your savior, and knowing that he died a heinous death so that we might live.

The details of the gospels are, as Wills rightly points out, not very politic. It’s even worse than what is posed, of course, since Wills omits that Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. And that judgment will include burning unbelievers “with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12). But, I was pleased to see the op-ed, as it’s a good antidote to the usual fluffy bunny Christians who come out this time of year with their Peeps and chocolate bunnies, averting their eyes from any notion of the pain and suffering that Jesus endured.

As for Jesus in politics, Wills is spot-on:

If Democrats want to fight Republicans for the support of an institutional Jesus, they will have to give up the person who said those words. They will have to turn away from what Flannery O’Connor described as “the bleeding stinking mad shadow of Jesus” and “a wild ragged figure” who flits “from tree to tree in the back” of the mind.

He was never that thing that all politicians wish to be esteemed — respectable. At various times in the Gospels, Jesus is called a devil, the devil’s agent, irreligious, unclean, a mocker of Jewish law, a drunkard, a glutton, a promoter of immorality.

The institutional Jesus of the Republicans has no similarity to the Gospel figure. Neither will any institutional Jesus of the Democrats.

Jesus is Lord of all. It is demeaning and insulting to think that He’s on your side in earthly matters, that any group or political party has a monopoly on Him.

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