#0048 Trump and Cruz: Jesus with skin on?
Links relevant to this posting
- Clinton slams Trump, Cruz on divisiveness, fearmongering
- Anti-Muslim attacks more than double typical US rate
- Trump Rallies Mobs, and the GOP Follows
- Conservative talk radio
- How are Trump supporters like Moonies?
- Religion promotes the follower mindset
- Self-righteousness—the new righteousness
Since Donald Trump has called for the ban on Muslims coming into the country, his polling numbers are at an all-time high; Cruz’s numbers are up in Iowa and attacks on Muslims (or people mistaken for Muslims) in our country have more than doubled in the past month. Most all of this anti-Muslim energy and rhetoric is coming from the Christians. They are the self-righteous, 2-dimentional Christians—but they are people who go around self-proclaiming their belief in Jesus Christ. Evidently they feel that because Jesus died for their sins, they want to do something for Him in return; especially during this special time of year. What better way to demonstrate to their friends, relatives and neighbors how much they love Jesus than to get behind one of the two top Christian presidential candidates (currently running in the Christian/Republican party) who each stands for restoring Christian values back into our country. Praise Him. Trump or Cruz—take your pick—they’re both Jesus with skin on. Not really; but that’s their claim. Today I am going to use a scripture in Matthew to try and get a point across. Christian conservatists are the ones who usually are seen utilizing scriptures to make their conservative points. They are prone to do this because it’s rather easy for them to bend a scripture or a Christian meme into something that appears to explicitly support their position and they are extremely adept at doing this. You might say it’s their stock-in-trade.
Conservatists are predisposed to view Muslims, LBGTs, liberals, etc. as being evil by nature; so when these, such as Mr. Trump or Mr. Cruz, come along slinging rhetoric that demonizes those from one of the groups previously listed or anyone else who’s been pre-labeled an enemy of (the Christian) God then conservatists seem all too ready and highly motivated to jump on their bandwagon. The only thing necessary on the part of your Trumps and Cruzes is for them to simply self-profess their belief in God and identify their motives and their perspectives as righteous and inspired of God; then they’re off to the races. The conservatists are ready to ceremoniously hand over to them the keys of the city. The likes of Trump and Cruz are running a game on these would-be followers of Christ. They are with their methodic and righteous-sounding rhetoric, in effect overwriting the message of Jesus with their own silver-tongued yet bogus message. They are pushing aside or to the back the actual Righteous and true message of the gospel and the Kingdom and replacing it with a different, self-righteousness message. Part of their fast and glitzy rhetoric has church folk thinking that the enemy of God is the sinner and that the nemesis of righteousness is UN-righteousness; but they are wrong or they are lying: the enemy of God isn’t the sinner—it’s Evil—with a capital L and the nemesis of righteousness is SELF-righteousness. As long as the Trumps and the Cruzes of the world keep selling this self-righteous rhetoric and tie it to the concept of God they are, in effect, selling a self-righteous God and many, too many are buying this kind of god.
So as we are seeing more and more examples of self-righteousness seen in the news displayed by those who try to pose as Godly people or as God’s people (i.e.: Messrs. Trump and Cruz); it gives one pause to ask the question: “So, what is righteousness?” In the scripture passage below we see Jesus—the real Jesus talking to His disciples and fielding a highly charged spiritual question from one of them. There are several often-quoted one-liners of scripture contained in this chapter of Matthew. The big-picture perspective is missed if you segment scriptures especially scriptures quoting things Jesus says. The thrust throughout the chapter deals with His Father’s Kingdom and as such has more to do with political dynamics and human interactions than simply with who will qualify for salvation or who will get to go to heaven. Jesus is outlining what sort of personality is right—a good fit—for the Kingdom. As He lays out these concepts look for Him present one idea then reiterate it again and again using several examples. This is a technique Jesus most often uses. It gives a kind of layering effect to His message and it tends to allow a variety of access points to it for the benefit of a diverse group of listeners. I am going to start out with the first seven verses and continue with follow-up postings. Notice in verse 3 how Jesus paints a clear picture of a converted person whose most notable characteristic is humility. In this illustration Jesus uses a little child as a visual aid…
1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
Matt: 18: 1-7 (KJV)
TBC: Sunday, December 20, 2015