Tuesday, January 10, 2006


According to the Christian-right WorldMagBlog, former Sen. Gary Hart's latest book is just the latest instance of the left making a grab for the Jesus brass ring. Hart reportedly questions how Jesus would have felt about such presumably right-wing priorities as gun ownership, the death penalty and "foreign adventuring."

The implication, of course, is that Jesus was actually a leftie (a radical leftie, some argue) and that this constitutes an endorsement of many policies favored by the left: Opposition to the death penalty, a strong resistance to "pre-emptive" wars such as Iraq, aggressive assistance for the poor, etc.

But Hart and the left are making a big mistake by playing the Christian right's game. As soon as they credit the question "What Would Jesus Do?" with legitimacy, they've lost. Why? Two reasons. One is the non-Christian assertion that Jesus was just a guy, and one not elected to office in the United States of America, and that if his positions are so clearly the right way to go, they ought to be able to win in the marketplace of ideas without reference to their source. The second is the more important reason, and one that even Christians ought to endorse: That we don't and can not know what Jesus would do, because the one meaningful source of insight on this question -- the internally inconsistent and self-contradictory Bible -- has shown itself through history to be infinitely malleable and interpretable. In other words, as soon as we endorse the concept of crafting national policy based on what Jesus would do, we toss rationality out the door and, with perhaps more fearful implications, open the door to the next demagogue able to use Jesus to sell irrational, anti-Democratic policies. Sound familiar?

Give me a Democrat -- Christian or otherwise -- with the balls to say that we ought to hold our debates in the present, using facts and the insights that 2,000 years of progress have brought to light.


ceej said...

What coulda woulda Jesus woulda do?

Petty Larseny said...

I finally remembered what the acronym is! Who Cares What Jesus Would Do!

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