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JESUS, GRAHAM AND CHURCH AND STATE

May 15, 2018

JESUS, GRAHAM, CHURCH AND STATE

Professor Kennedy in her blog today compared the reaction of Franklin Graham to Trump’s sexual antics with those of Clinton and how he gives a pass to Trump but damnation to Clinton and asked for commentary. Following was mine.

Graham is a phony, of course, but he has historical company. Thus popes who shared or even assumed secular powers gave us an illiterate Charlemagne as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, which Voltaire rightly described as neither holy, Roman nor an empire. Apparently Graham as a self-appointed Protestant Pope lusts for that day in which secular rulers were appointed by religious leaders, so it is no surprise that he can pretend to forgive those who further his grand design (read clueless Trump with a terminal case of zipperitis in need of divine forgiveness) while putting down those (Clinton et al.) who are opposed to religious and secular rule in one package in favor of purely secular rule (Constitution, laws etc.), all of which amounts to an endless replay of church v. state brought up to date.

Graham and other such would be rulers have ignored belief in their own version of the sayings of Jesus Christ, who was the very first to come down on the issue of church and state with his red letter statement to “render unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” One can argue that Jesus was feeling the Roman heat and an early crucifixion and came up with such a statement as a political matter, or one can argue that he recognized early on that some matters were for the church and others for the state and advised his followers to distinguish between them based upon his further statement that “my kingdom is not of this world.” Secular rule is plainly of this world, so, case closed, Mr. Graham. Go back to your pulpit and tell the rest of us that it is all right to violate the Commandments if we have more important things to consider, as does Trump, who can’t be bothered to follow the rules you insist the rest of us must follow. Physician, heal thyself.      GERALD       E

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One Comment
  1. I approach religion in general, Jesus specifically, through the modern applications of historical, literary, social, political, linguistic and archeological sciences and critical analysis. Nothing new. Started 300 years ago in Germany in what we call The Enlightenment. Jefferson, Adams, et al, were, of course, contemporaries of that movement and applied it to their cause.

    Franklin Graham, like his father, is a typical con man who uses the bible for political and financial gain. That, too, is nothing new. Rev. Fifield left a liberal seminary in Chicago during the height of The Depression assigned to his first call at the largest Congregationalist Church in downtown Los Angels where families like Getty, DeMille, Hurst, Hilton, etc were dynasties looking for a way to put a stop to Roosevelt’s “evil socialism” and the demonetization of the private sector/business and resurrect their capitalistic wet dreams. The answer? Filling church pulpits across America with their divinely blessed pro business was their vision. The ultimate marketing idea! Billy Graham perfected the dream (even having a literal hand in Eisenhower’s first inaugural address and putting God we Trust on our paper currency) and, of course, others have followed since, putting Evangelicals in bed with K Street and politicians of any brand, but particularly the GOP.

    Jesus death was a political execution by a domination system (i.e. “normal civilization”) that did what all empires do to political threats: death. Of course, bad (even abusive) theology was created almost from the get go (i.e. Atonement Theology) that has, for all practical purposes, hidden and buried the historical story of the poor destitute Jewish illiterate revolutionary from Nazareth. I give Constantine credit for taking a rapidly thriving non-violent, anti-military, socialist life style and movement in the 4th century C.E. and turning it into a pro-empire “belief” system. The rest, as they say, is history (and a bloody one at that).

    The reason Jesus claimed his kingdom was not of this world was NOT because his was a “heavenly” kingdom that exists somewhere else or after death. Rather, his implication was that God’s Kingdom does not function like the kingdoms/empires of this world who operate through violence and domination with primarily military and economic might. The USA, like all empires in history who operate through military and economic threats and destruction is no different than any other Jesus was critical of.

    In all of Jesus’ statement and teachings, his number one message was for the violence created by people in power, specifically those of great wealth and status. It’s no surprise, then, that Constantine and nearly every (with very few exceptions) “Christian” CEO/King/President in western history never quote or talk about Jesus’ life and teachings. The creeds and theology of Christendom has successfully avoided and done away with Jesus and replaced him with things to “believe” ABOUT him.

    Jesus made it quite clear (using and quoting his own Jewish prophets in the Hebrew Bible) that anyone who dared follow him were to pick up THEIR cross (not his) and take non-violent Truth to Power. THIS is the Jewish prophetic story: Liberation from Oppression. Jesus lived it.

    He is still asking for volunteers today to stand up and resist those who work fro and promote violence whether that violence is done by a pen in Congress or through a cruise missile in Syria.

    Thanks for your words Jerry, as always. You have Truth to share. Keep sharing it. The fascists and racists voices have the upper hand right now and its both very dangerous and scary. Blessings, Peace and Justice- Brad

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