Thursday, April 13, 2006

Breaking the first two Commandments

My wife points out this Sunday NYT op-ed from Gary Wills, emeritus professor of history at Northwestern, author of "Why I Am A Catholic," and very frequent contributor to the NY Review of Books.

Some excerpts:
Some people want to display and honor the Ten Commandments as a political commitment enjoined by the religion of Jesus. That very act is a violation of the First and Second Commandments. By erecting a false religion -- imposing a reign of Jesus in this order -- they are worshiping a false god. They commit idolatry. They also take the Lord's name in vain.


The Jesus of the Gospels is not a great ethical teacher like Socrates, our leading humanitarian. He is an apocalyptic figure who steps outside the boundaries of normal morality to signal that the Father's judgment is breaking into history. His miracles were not acts of charity but eschatological signs — accepting the unclean, promising heavenly rewards, making last things first.


The institutional Jesus of the Republicans has no similarity to the Gospel figure. Neither will any institutional Jesus of the Democrats. [emphasis mine]
Read the whole thing -- and then wonder if conservative evangelical leaders really know what they're doing when they let politicians trot Jesus out at every turn -- or if liberal religious leaders know what they're doing when they talk about an explicitly religious answer to fundamentalism.

(And for those of you who think I advocate silencing the religious, You're Wrong.)

TitusOneNine posted on the op-ed, eliciting the following comment:
It’s not a matter of keeping Christians out of politics. It’s a matter of Christians not letting their faith become a way for self-seeking politicians to manipulate them.
That's a start.

1 comment:

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

And for Citicens not to let politics become a way for self-seeking churchians to manipulate them.