Jesus Holds a Press Conference

By Bill Meulemans

Though the media obscure the fact, the American Christian community is split into two broad wings:  call them the authoritarian and the liberal.  Meulemans’ piece is a cry from the liberal wing.

What would you do if you were Jesus? How would you feel about the money changers coming back into the temple? How and why did his church get so far off track?

Christianity started out as a wonderful belief system based on humility, giving to the poor, and making peace with one’s enemies. Remember the phrase: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That was the theme of the religious/social/political/economic dogma. But the gap between theory and practice grew wider by the day; it was most apparent with those who wielded power.  It was the old story of using a selfless, splendid philosophy to justify ruthless behavior that violates the heart of the original idea. It was a great cover for those who wanted to take as much as they could get, and still be rewarded as followers of a self-sacrificing creed.

Many (if not most) conservatives still believe God is on their side even though they are no longer on God’s side. Good, conservative, Christian people are professing humility on Sunday, but are driven by getting all they can on the other six days of the week.

The most remarkable part of this situation is that liberals are closer to the first principles of the Christian doctrine than many practicing conservatives. Most left-wing people are more likely to practice the precepts set out by Jesus Christ. No one planned it this way, it just happened. The secular orientation of many liberals gave them a chance to formulate a philosophy outside the confines of a religious dogma. In a strange twist of events, non-religious people were somewhat less likely to be swept up in the grand betrayal.

The old idea of humility is out the window, and has been replaced by a new slogan: “God wants you to be rich.” Check out the real behavior and values of the major churches. Many of today’s Christians have subconsciously decided that the old principles can be down-peddled as quaint, wonderful concepts that are no longer relevant in this age. It’s sort of the same importance one gives to old mythology and fairy tales that are out of date. Even the clergy have kicked these ideas upstairs to Christmas and Easter where they can be venerated and ignored.

So what would Jesus say if he returned to earth? Imagine if he held a televised, world-wide press conference in which he could speak to everyone in the vernacular, but at the same time target his message to each nation. His opening remarks to the United States might begin with an opening statement like this:

I’m not happy with the way things have turned out. I don’t like the idea of hypocrites ruling my church, especially those who pervert my teachings in order to strike fear in the hearts of powerless people with threats of eternal damnation. Forget that whole thing about Hell. Terrifying people is something you dreamed up to scare people into submission. Your practice of Christianity has given me a bad name. I’m not a negative messenger – my church is not about punishment and sending people to eternal damnation – it’s really about love. Remember the parable about looking for the lost sheep? That’s what it’s all about. Why have you forgotten my main message? I came here to save folks, not penalize them – there’s a big difference.

You could make this a better world if you set a good example that was based on love and inclusion, but all you talk about is sin. Many of you in your flowing robes abuse little children while promoting your own narrow views as “fathers of my church,” (You never talk about mothers of the church.) Remember what I said about the equality?  Do you realize how that looks from up here?

Money has become the most important thing in your lives. Uncontrollable amounts of dollars have contaminated your political and economic system, while poor people go hungry. You give tax breaks to the rich while cutting health care from the poor and you are hiding behind my word as a means to follow a selfish path. People are exploited and the earth is polluted so you can make a profit. Don’t you see how this madness has infected your lives?

I’ve remained silent for two thousand years, but now I’m convinced it’s time to bring my message up to date. First, it’s time to pray less and do more. Get up off your knees and make this a better world. I’ve watched many of you beat your breasts on Sunday while you exploit your workers the rest of the week. What is this thing about everyone being on their own? You didn’t get that from me. I’ve watched from above as many of you run your churches like a business enterprise, collecting money from the parishioners, preaching the gospel of free markets, and condemning political groups that could actually help the poor. Remember what I said about the camel going through the eye of a needle and a rich man entering heaven? Well, I haven’t changed my mind. Building more cathedrals and raising money as TV evangelists will not bring you any closer to me.  Does any of this sound familiar?

You condemn socialism, suggesting it would violate my teachings, when, in fact, a little more socialism would make this world a better place. Check out other nations of the world. And another thing, why do you think universal health care would be un-American? Is there something patriotic about denying health care to sick people? Don’t you have any sense of empathy or morality? Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be poor and sick in a land where hedge-fund managers were making millions of dollars every year? Didn’t you learn anything from my example?

Maybe you should change your priorities. You could spend less time talking about sin, and more time talking about boosting the minimum wage. It would be better if you worried less about people on welfare and more time about promoting early childhood education.

And what is this about denying transgender people a chance to use the bathroom of their choice? Why are you so fixated on sex? Why do you think your marriages would be threatened by permitting other people to marry who they loved? Do you realize how much time and energy you devote to denying sexual desires?  I put LBGT people on earth for a reason. It’s not up to you to try to force everyone into the same mold because you can’t understand my intent. Get over it.

And what’s this thing about denying science and climate change? Don’t you realize that I am the author of science? The people who are scientists are revealing my creation. Treat them with respect and listen to what they say. I was encouraged when nearly all the nations of the world signed the Paris Accord on climate change, but then your president decided to pull out of the only agreement that showed any intelligence. Can you imagine how I felt when I noted how many of you so-called Christians cheered him on? You ask for my blessing while you willingly choose to destroy your only home. No wonder your old allies around the world think you’re no longer fit to lead the free world. I agree with them!

I know you all want to feel special, but this whole idea of nationalism is so divisive. There is nothing inherently better about your country when compared to others. In fact, you’ve been falling behind in terms of public health, literacy and infant mortality.  You spend a lot of energy trying to keep people out of your country.  Can you imagine what I think about that wall you want to build on the southern border? Have you forgotten what it was like for your grandparents to go through Ellis Island? What gives you the right to discriminate against people because of their nationality, race, or religion? Do you think being a Christian gives you the right to condemn people of another religion or those who speak a different language? Have you ever thought why so many people around the world hate you? Do you think folks in the Middle East joined ISIS for no good reason? Have you ever heard of karma?  Maybe it’s time for the tables to be turned and for you to be on the outside looking in.

That reminds me, I’m going to hold a special session in Washington D.C. when I go to the White House, the Congress and the Supreme Court. I’m letting you folks off easy compared to what I’m going to say to them. Do you remember voting for some of them just because they said they were Christians? Next time ask a few more questions before you cast your ballot.

Some of you have been wondering why I inspired voters to switch their allegiance from Democratic to Republican that caused Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio to go for Trump.  I did it to see if Donald Trump would corrupt your country to such a degree that you could finally come to your senses. I thought that this crude, narcissistic, ignorant man, with no discernable principles, would surely make you see the error of your ways. But so far many of you are following him because he favors your selfish agenda:  repealing Obamacare, lowering taxes, and deregulating the economy.

On the matter of Trump colluding with the Russians – I am utterly surprised that so-called conservative Christians would not stand up to Russia that has long opposed everything I stood for. I really did expect more from the United States! You’ve squandered so much for so little.  It really comes down to this question: Are you willing to remain silent and keep a man in office who is going to destroy your country just because he favors so-called conservative political/economic objectives? Is thirty pieces of silver enough for selling out your Christian heritage?

You invoke my name every time you ask for a blessing, but you have completely forgotten what I tried to teach you. I am utterly amazed that you are not aware of the contradiction between what you say and what you do – this should be the topic for every sermon given across the country.

Several of you have sent me questions that I will repeat now in a condensed form:

Which is better: Catholics or Protestants? Jews or Gentiles?  Hindus or Muslims?  Israelis or Palestinians?  Capitalists or Marxists?  White People or Black People?  Democrats or Republicans? 

I’m not going to dignify these questions with an answer. Think about it. All of these questions deal with division – that’s your big problem, isn’t it? Another one of you asked this question: Isn’t it all right to ignore climate change because the earth wasn’t meant to last forever? And someone had the nerve to ask whether Trump was better than Obama?

But the question that came up the most often was one that is in your subconscious mind that you think about it every day: Which political philosophy and practices are closer to God – liberalism or conservativism? My response is, be your own judge – which set of ideas and practices are most likely to be rewarded with a place in heaven?  I don’t need to answer that, it’s pretty clear isn’t it?