Monday, March 21, 2005

If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him

If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him
Harvey Wasserman

March 21, 2005

As we enter another Easter Season, it's become all too obvious that if Christ returns, those who hate in Jesus's name will have him slimed, then killed.

Christ was a long-haired peace activist who would have hated the war in Iraq. "Blessed are the peacemakers" Jesus said in his defining Sermon on the Mount. "Turn the other cheek...Love thy neighbor."

Such hippie-radical ideals are the "Christian" right wing's worst nightmare. The GOP would never tolerate an upstart like Jesus gathering a following in the face of their corporate-fundamentalist crusade. These are Christians who love power but would despise the actual Christ, just as they love a Zionist Israel but can't tolerate actual Jews.

In the wake of Jesus's exemplary life of non-violent rebellion, a perverse liturgy weighted by twenty centuries of intolerant bloodthirsty bigotry has erupted in his name. Attacks on people of color, on nations with oil, on humans of the same gender who love each other, on youth who enjoy sex….all have become enemies of a new fundamentalist crusade doing in Christ's name things that would have left him sickened and horrified.

In large part through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus came to be viewed as Divine because he spoke eloquently for a gracious, loving God.

Karl Rove, Tom DeLay and their ilk believe George Bush and his corporate-fundamentalist minions speak to and for a very different kind of God, one with characteristics at war with those described by Christ.

Bush-Rove's Divinity is a nasty dictator, defined by hate and greed, intolerance and hypocrisy.

Christ kicked the moneychangers out of the temple. Rove-DeLay's Republicans have enshrined them.

Christ spoke of a God of compassion and joy.

Today's so-called Christian fundamentalists worship one of greed-driven warmongering totalitarianism. The only way to salvation, they say is THEIR way, through a spiteful God that hates all Jesus preached.

As Tecumseh, the great Shawnee warrior, shouted at William Henry Harrison in the early 1800s, "You killed the son of your God, then you worshipped him when he was dead, and now you kill those who choose not to follow him."

If Christ came back today to resume preaching the Sermon on the Mount, Karl Rove would slime him in the media, then kill him outright, then turn his words into right wing hatespeak, then kill those who refuse to follow in his name.

If Christ came back to organize against Bush's war, Rove's pet bloviators would shriek about Mary Magdalene. Isn't that her seated next to Christ in DaVinci's "Last Supper"? Wasn't she unmarried, pregnant with Christ's bastard child, catching his blood dripping from the cross?

Rush Limbaugh would demand to know what right did the self-proclaimed "Son of God" had to a relationship out of wedlock? Who was he to feed those loaves and fishes to the undeserving poor, prolonging the existence of inferior racial stock? Who was he to attack those moneychangers who are the Elect of God and the sponsors of Rush's air time?

Then O'Reilly would slime the Easter thing. A self-anointed "peace prophet" rising from the tomb? Poppycock, he'd say. Just another pinko hippie terrorist conspiracy theory.

But if Christ persisted, and built a following like, say, Martin Luther King or Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez or Nelson Mandela…well….they'd kill him.

They'd set it up to blame someone else, like, say the Jews, or the terrorists, or the Willie Hortons. They'd find some patsy to take the fall for the assassination.

Rove would cloud his death in shadowy scandal. Stories would surface unconfirmed debts. Or tainted investments. Maybe something about hashish, no stranger to the region.

Hannity would feature some lovers he jilted. There'd be rumors he was gay. Talk of a love triangle. Ugly gossip about Mary and Judas. False leads about Jews wanting him dead. New doubts about that "virgin birth."

Whatever it would take to rub the sheen off an anti-war "Son of God" and to turn his death tawdry, Rove would do.

But would Jesus stand for the slaughter of 100,000 Iraqis in his name merely because of oil and dubious Biblical prophecy? How would Christ view a president in love with the gas chamber and electric chair? What would Jesus, who hated hypocrisy above all, say about a Bush who scampers back to prolong the life of a brain-dead woman who wanted to die, but who gleefully executes 150 people as governor and as many more as president as he can get his hands on? How would Jesus cope with a self-proclaimed Divinity demanding the death penalty for children?

What would Jesus think of the torture in American prisons, where much the same is being done to innocent inmates as was done to Christ himself? Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" stands as a documentary of the daily torture and slaughter of too many of the 2.2 million prisoners held in the US military and civilian gulag, a barbaric prison system that makes the Romans' look benign by comparison.

Systematic sexual abuse by both prison guards and Catholic priests? The wholesale slaughter of Iraqi children? The debasement by corporate money of both church and state?

Christ would lead the non-violent charge against these cornerstones of GOP rule---until Rove killed him.

What would Jesus do about gay marriage? "Love they neighbor," he'd say.

What business is it of those who use his name, he would ask, to prolong bigotry and intolerance just as 50 years ago those same cynical haters claimed Biblical sanction for laws preventing people of color from marrying the white people they loved.

Christ would never stand for such a hate campaign. So Karl Rove would have him killed.

Hitler claimed Christ was an Aryan supremacist. Now Rove, DeLay & company use him to justify dictatorial, greed-approving, gay-hating, war loving, torture-is-fine bigotry.

Easter says otherwise. It should remind us that if Jesus returned to preach the Gandhian love-thy-neighbor subversion with which he challenged the Romans, Karl Rove would do what Pilate did.

But Rove would be better at the spin.