Smile Politely

Who would Jesus mock

My modest proposal for a bumper sticker: “Who Would Jesus Mock?”

We’ve all seen “Who Would Jesus Bomb?” That’s a good one. This new idea came to me after finally having my fill of political diatribe from both ends of the spectrum. Not just from the candidates this past November, but from fellow observers. Now I’m a full blown politico-bulimic. I’ve binged, and now I gotta purge.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a political moderate; an old school humanist that identifies primarily with the human race. A dinosaur, only grumpier. My sister recently informed me that she only knows one person who has a broader social network than I do. And we’re talking real life flesh and blood relationships with shared life history, as well as a burgeoning collection of cyber cronies and pixel pixies. My friends’ political heros range from William F. Buckley Jr. to Bill Ayers. I have challenged them all to come out of their echo chambers with the rest of the yodel-heads.

And none of them likes it when I do.

Yesterday for the umpteenth time I was sent the latest clever political video that mocked people who had a political view the sender didn’t like. Enough already! Who would Jesus mock, who would he dismiss, who would he ridicule? I know he sure wouldn’t treat me that way, albeit not from a lack of material with which to work. No need for one of those water into wine deals that made him so popular at wedding receptions.

Don’t get me wrong, I love debates. Ask me what I’d like to argue about, and I say “Whadaya got?” But observing the current ones, it seems both the rightees and the leftees think everything the other side says and believes and does is wrong and everything someone in their own tribe does is obvious orthodoxy. Statements and positions of “the enemy” are taken out of context, distorted, ridiculed, and used to build a case for separation and disassociation. It reminds me a lot of religion gone bad. People are deciding whom to include in their clan based on their degree of alignment with their own position. Idealistic globalism has been replaced by chauvinistic tribalism. Derogatory labels fly around like pancakes at a Boy Scout fund-raising breakfast.

Label me an aging hippie idealist, but I thought the real enemies were ignorance, bigotry, injustice and oppression. Now I’m told, “no.” The real enemies are socialism, or capitalism, or corporations, or lazy people on welfare, or the rich, or fundamentalists, or atheists, or terrorists, or the U.S. military, or illegal immigrants, or colonialists, or Rush Limbaugh, or National Public Radio. The bad guys were the cowboys. No, it was the Indians. Sorry, I meant to say the “beef facilitators” and “indigenous people groups”.

No country is great except the good ol’ U.S.A. Every country is great, except the bad ol’ U.S.A. We’re the oppressors of the world. No we’re the liberators of the world.

Echo chambers bore me. I’m not comfortable when I’m comfortable. I want to be challenged. No single person or group can possibly know enough to know enough. Each of us has some validity, and some bogus-ity. Everybody has something to teach me. I’m afraid if we keep marginalizing each other, we’re going to push each other right off the page. A massive mass paper cut from hell.

So who would Jesus mock? Nobody. He was gravely mocked by an unlikely ad hoc religio-political alliance of two of the most powerful institutions history has ever seen. But he rose above it all. That’s why I’m in his Party.

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