Today we introduce our newest writer, Sidicious Bonesparkle, PhD. Dr. Bonesparkle currently serves as Hell’s Ambassador to the United States, and he will periodically post on issues relating to politics, religion, and culture.
I often think the only thing sillier than the average American is the person he elects to represent him.In John 18:36 Jesus Christ says to Pontius Pilate that “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” And in Matthew 22:21, he says “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”As you might expect, I’ve read the Bible, and have often wondered at those who have difficulty grasping its stance on the material world’s relation to the celestial. This world is uniformly portrayed as a den of iniquity (a contention I take some pride in), the domain of Satan, the Prince of the Power of the Air. Whatever else you might believe, the Christian book is quite clear on one key point: when push comes to shove, this life is little more than a testing ground to see who’s “worthy” of the Kingdom of Heaven. The things of this world are mundane, corrupt, second-rate, etc.
For those who haven’t read the Bible in all its (often entertaining) translations and interpretations, the Bible Gateway now affords access to versions you’ve likely never heard of before. If you read them all thoroughly I believe you’ll discover something noteworthy: in no version of the Bible, from King James to New Life to Contemporary English, do either of the above passages include Jesus following up his pronouncements with a *wink wink*.
On the contrary. I first met Jesus he was still a young man, and even then I was struck by his oppressive seriousness. Trust me when I say that he’s not given to irony, satire, or any other form of rhetorical misdirection. He doesn’t wink, he has not a sarcastic bone in his body, and unless he makes it painfully obvious up front that THIS IS A PARABLE, he’s speaking literally. Given the kinds of people who followed him around he had little choice. His was not the Kingdom of Nuance, if you take my meaning. (I don’t mean to paint him as a complete “buzzkill,” to use a colorful term favored by some of my younger colleagues. He’s a nice guy. Smart, engaging, thoughtful to a fault. When you encounter that “oh hell, who invited this downer to the party” persona, that’s usually the personality of his chief biographer, Paul, imposing itself on the narrative.) So when he speaks on matters of importance, it’s safe to take him at his word.
On this point, he was unambiguous: Jesus Christ, like the framers of the US Constitution, was a believer in the separation of church and state. Jesus and Jefferson held this view for different reasons, of course. Jesus saw mucking around in politics as the sort of activity that was properly beneath the dignity of the truly righteous man. Every moment spent tending to the petty affairs of this world was a moment lost to the only meaningful pursuit available: preparing the soul for the next life. Jefferson, on the other hand, saw religion as inherently corrosive to the conduct of government. His only flaw was that he made too many assumptions about the capacity of the average citizen to grasp the obvious. He could have used a measure more of Jesus’ painful literal-mindedness at times.
Imagine my amusement, then, when I see legions of American politicians gleefully corrupting both their religion and their government with their insistence on making the latter serve the former. Some wonderful examples can be found in this video clip profiling the Rev. John Hagee, my colleague in our Armageddon Ministry.
I have always wanted to ask one of these politicians a question. Have a look at the oath taken by all US Senators:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
In taking this oath, nearly all electees swear to their God that they will serve the Constitution. Not the church. Not Jesus. Jesus didn’t wink when he talked about his devotion to his heavenly kingdom, but apparently gentlemen like Sen. John McCain have one hand on the Bible and the fingers of their other hand crossed behind their back.
Do they believe that God won’t care when they swear, on his name, to do something they have no intention of doing? Do they think they creator of the universe (as they see it, anyway) needs to resort to chicanery to outwit a handful of mortal politicians who are members of a party they suppose God doesn’t like?
How stupid, weak, and duplicitous do they imagine their supreme ruler to be? Not that I’m complaining, mind you….
Perhaps these are bad questions, because they assume a degree of awareness on the part of these officials that doesn’t exist. (If I sound contemptuous, forgive me, but check my credentials. It’s what I do.) Still, it’s hard not to be impressed by the level of energy these “men of God” devote to serving causes that are beneath the contempt of he whom they profess to worship.
If I were a god and my worshipers gave me the amount of credit American politicians are giving their god, rest assured that there would be some smiting in the works.