FEBRUARY 6, 2012 9:09PM

Pagan Obama doesn't understand Jesus...

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...according to some right-wing fundie people, whose cherry-picking of the scriptures doesn't sync with that of the prez.  The following is from The Washington Times.  (Hey, isn't that the Moonie paper?)
 
President Barak Obama tragically misrepresented a Bible verse in his speech this week at the 60th annual National Prayer Breakfast. He also seemed to reveal a pagan philosophy of civil government versus the traditional American philosophy based on Judeo-Christian principles. 
 
Obama said he thinks that people like him should give up some tax breaks.
"... for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus' teaching that,'for unto whom much is given, much shall be required."

But the writer says that the biblical reference doesn't mean what Obama was trying to make it sound like.  The article quotes the context:
 
"The servant who knows the master's will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." 
 
Hmm.  So does that mean Jesus was cool with masters beating their 'servants' (sounds more like slaves...which, come to think of it, might well be in line with Traditional American Philosophy).  And, indeed, it doesn't sound like it has anything to do with (shudder) Redistributing Wealth.  
 
All of which doesn't bother me...because it's not 100% clear that Jesus existed, and even if he did his words were recorded a loooonnnnggg time after he died and you know how that goes (the gospels don't agree on some rather vital things).  And, of course, I don't believe that Jesus was some form of God.
 
But those things are important to believers like the writer, many of whom are dead-set against Obama.
 
The article goes on to say:
 
Jesus did not teach that wealthy people should give more money to the government or charity than others should. God's covenant with the Hebrews was to give ten percent of all they received to the temple or church. The purpose for this giving to the church was to ensure that the church had the ability to care for widows, orphans and the poor. 
 
Haha, so that's where Ron Paul gets his ideas.  No health insurance?  No money?  The church will take care of you.  (Atheist?  THEN DIE, SINNER.)
 
Okay, but then the article goes on to say, Jesus came along and preached that every person should give all they have freely to service, and trust that God will take care of their needs - not government. 
 
Oops.  "Give all they have"?  Sounds like that bit I think I heard about how you should give away everything you own to the poor and follow Jesus. How they gonna get around that?  
 

Christ taught that there is a separation of responsibilities among government, church and individuals or families. The primary role of government (i.e., the state) is protection of the people. Only government has authority to use "the sword" in an organized fashion (individuals have a right to protect themselves and their families against immediate threats).

The church, as a collection of God's people, is to take care of the poor with the tithe. The family is responsible for raising and educating children and the general commerce of society. 
 
Yeah yeah, but what about that giving-everything-away thing?
 
In a free society, most of the things President Obama wants to support with taxes such as health care, housing, food stamps, and other forms of public welfare have no business in the realm of government. Churches, charity and individuals should provide these services to those unable to provide for themselves. 
 
I'm not going to bother getting into the impracticality of that way of life, once possible in villages and agrarian settings, but not in an actual modern nation, with freedom of association, mobility, and all the blessings of the individualism this writer admires (she's getting to it, be patient).
 
By continually talking about the American people in segmented groups (e.g., the poor, Latino, the young, seniors, etc.), President Obama is in reality advocating for a country run on ideas that dominated throughout most of history and the world today outside of the U.S. and a handful of European countries and Israel.

Historian Richard Frothingham describes the historical plight of man this way:

"Social order rested on the assumed natural inequality of men. The individual was regarded as of value only as he formed a part of the political fabric, and was able to contribute to its uses as though it were the end of his being to aggrandize the state. This was the pagan idea of man." 
 
I dunno.  I think the history of Christianity has been one of discouraging individuality.  Especially for women.  But never mind...
 
President Obama rarely talks about protecting the individual rights of all Americans nor the need to up-hold the first constitution in history designed to do just that. Jesus was about the individual. He came so that liberty could be restored to the individual. It would be refreshing to hear President Obama speak about Jesus' real mission. 
 
Well this is just blither.  That's silly about the constitution, of course, which didn't protect the individual rights of all people (hint: black, native, women).  I'm not sure that Jesus' thing about rendering unto Caesar was advocating individualism.  Could even be interpreted as bowing down to Big Government. 
 
When you really get down to it, tho, I think it was a no-win for Obama to use the prayer breakfast to put his spin on how members of congress should behave - they were bound to rebel, even if Jesus himself appeared at Obama's side and said Right On!  
 
However, Obama may well have been speaking beyond the people present at the breakfast, to the public, so they would see the reaction of the Republicans...like the guy who walked out. 

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I have taught in the Historical Jesus area for years (tho not in some time). I read the scholarship.

While many do historical sleight-of-hand and claim Jesua was a Marxist---which is simply ahistorical and impossible--there's no question that the intent and meaning of many parables and the open table companionship at the eating table as well as the extraordinary leveling-nature of Matt. Ch. 5 (Srmon on the Mount)...there just can be no question that Jesus was, in his time and place (which had virtually no middle income population) that Jesus was a radical egalitarian.

rated.
Hi Jonathan. I think Jesus of the Pharasees, the woman at the well, lepers, Lazarus, Martha...the loaves and fishes...was not the Jesus of the Republican right wing Christians.
Oy. Just came across another item, entitled The Perversion of the Words of Our Lord Jesus Christ by the Sinner Barack H. Obama. I don't know if I can bring myself to read it...but I'll try.
I'm still trying to work out what religion has to do with politics?
I hope that didn't come across as critical towards you. I enjoyed reading your post.
Something just struck me. So that bit about "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" was in the context of the master and his servants...but is that the only context that it's applicable? Why not as a general principle?
The more I see of religious people, the better I feel about being an atheist. It seems like we're the only people who are nice to others... without needing a reason!
Let's face it: The rich don't like anybody who wants them to share their wealth fairly as members of society do. And they'll spin any reasoning or philosophy to keep the money.

Poor? It's your fault.
Unemployed? It's your fault.
Sick and can't work? It's your fault.
Old and don't have enough money to live or to pay for your drugs? That's your fault.

To the rich, it's ALWAYS the fault of the unfortunate. Why, it's not that they don't WANT to help others in society. But it's the gosh darn PRINCIPLE of the thing! They actually feel they're doing society a favor by refusing to help those who need help.

Take the money away from teachers and give it to rich businessmen as tax cuts. Local government can always remove teacher jobs. After all, rich businessmen create jobs, teachers don't! Especially the unemployed ones.
Well here we go again, another well-meaning but misinformed FOREIGNER trying to tell Americans about their own president and how their country should work. First of all Myriad, the Bible IS the constitution of the United States; we adopted it ages ago and replaced the old rag with what's called The Word. And Jesus was voted posthumously as the first president, superseding George Washington as the father of our country. (Btw, George did not chop down a cherry tree; he blew it up.)

It's also been completely updated, for example, there's no more references to whips and swords; they've all been replaced with guns. "Congress" is not Congress anymore either; they're called Apostles. President Christ liked metaphors; remember how he multiplied the loaves and fishes? Those weren't *really* bread and fish; that was a metaphor for money. He taught that anyone can have as much as they want if they believe hard enough. So if you're not rich, your faith's not strong enough and it's your own dang fault. It's all simply a test of faith. Of course Obama got mixed up; he's not a U.S. citizen. He was actually born in Canada.

Blither indeed.
I am so surprised at your POV here...Interesting to say the least.



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This falls into some stuff I'm working on personally. This is what I was raised with, not necessarily what I believe now...

Everyone is equal. No one is better than anyone else. If you have talent, you give it away. You can't be proud of yourself because that will make someone else (sister, mother) feel bad about them-self.

All of this is done to keep us confused about what we should do with our lives- those gifts of creation and self-determination freely given by whomever bestows these things. These rich people tell us that we should follow that mantra because that poor, homeless person over there will take all of our stuff away if we're not vigilant, and if the government doesn't take it away and give it to them first. That keeps the rich people out of the fray and us not so rich people tearing each other to pieces.

Heck of a scheme.
The Synoptic Gospels were edited by Constantine's council of eunuchs in Nicaea. If you want to know what Jesus really said read the Secret Gospel of Thomas
Fascinating. More grey hairs for Obama's head. He is trying so hard. I kind of like him as a Pagan.
Prosperity Gospel wingnuts can bitch and split hairs all they want to, but to deny Jesus' teachings were essentially communistic is -- well, heresy. I could cite endless verses "sell all you have and give it to the poor" "as you have done to the least of these, so even have you done unto me" "if a man steals your cloak, give him your shirt also" -- but the deniers will still be in denial.

And it ain't just Jesus, the OT talks about Jubilee, too. The PG crowd conveniently ignores that as well, while busily storing up treasures on earth -- and heaping burning coals upon their heads in Heaven.
@Margaret - you should make that its own post. Better yet, you should propose a Fiction Friday open call...your vision of an American theocracy...