If Jesus returned ...
If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him
by Harvey Wasserman
As we enter another Easter Season, it's become all too obvious that if Christ returns, those who hate in his name will slime him, then kill him.
Christ was a long-haired peace activist who would have been sickened to his soul by the war in Iraq. "Blessed are the peacemakers" Jesus said in his defining Sermon on the Mount. "Turn the other cheek...Love thy neighbor."
Such hippie-radical ideals are the "Christian" right wing's worst nightmare. The GOP would never tolerate an upstart like Jesus gathering a following in the face of their corporate-fundamentalist crusade. These are self-proclaimed Christians who love power but would despise the actual Christ, just as they love a Zionist Israel but believe actual Jews are doomed to Hell.
In the wake of Jesus's inspiring life of non-violent rebellion, a perverse liturgy weighted by twenty centuries of intolerant bloodthirsty bigotry has erupted in his name. Attacks on people of color, on nations with oil, on humans of the same gender who love each other, on youth who enjoy sex….all have become staples of a new fundamentalist crusade doing in Christ's name things that would have left him horrified.
In large part through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus came to be viewed as Divine because he spoke eloquently for a gracious, loving God.
Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, George Bush and their corporate-fundamentalist minions speak to and for a very different kind of God, one at war with the Deity described by Christ.
Bush-Rove's Master is a spiteful dictator, defined by hate and greed, intolerance and hypocrisy.
Christ kicked the moneychangers out of the temple. Today's Republicans have enshrined them.
Christ spoke of a God of compassion and joy.
Today's "religious" right wingers worship Meanness of Spirit, a greed-driven war-loving totalitarianism. The only way to salvation, they say is THEIR way, through a nature-hating Authority that tramples all Jesus preached.
As Tecumseh, the great Shawnee spirit-warrior, allegedly shouted at William Henry Harrison in the early 1800s: "When Jesus Christ came upon the Earth, you killed him. The son of your own God. And only after he was dead did you worship him and start killing those who would not. "
If Christ came back today to resume preaching the Sermon on the Mount, Karl Rove would slime him in the media, then kill him outright, then turn his words into conservative hatespeak, then kill those who refuse to follow in his name.
If Christ came back to organize against Bush's war, Rove's pet bloviators would shriek about Mary Magdalene. Isn't that her next to Christ in DaVinci's "Last Supper"? Wasn't she pregnant with Christ's bastard child. Who let her catch his blood dripping from the cross?
Rush Limbaugh would demand to how this "Son of God" could have a relationship out of wedlock? Who was he to feed loaves and fishes to the undeserving poor, prolonging the existence of inferior racial stock? Who said he could attack those moneychangers who are the Elect of God and the sponsors of Rush's air time?
Then O'Reilly would slime the Easter thing. A self-anointed "peace prophet" rising from the tomb? Poppycock, he'd say. Just another pinko hippie terrorist conspiracy theory.
But if Christ persisted, and built a following like, say, Martin Luther King or Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez or Nelson Mandela…well….they'd kill him.
They'd blame a patsy, like, say the Jews, or the terrorists, or the Willie Hortons. They'd designate a straw man to take the fall for the assassination.
Rove would cloud his death in shadowy scandal. Stories would surface of unconfirmed debts. Or tainted investments. Maybe something about hashish, no stranger to the region.
Hannity would feature some jilted lovers. There'd be rumors Jesus was gay. Talk of a love triangle. Ugly gossip about Mary and Judas. False leads about Jews wanting him dead. New doubts about that "virgin birth."
Whatever it would take to slime the sheen off an anti-war "Son of God" and to turn his death tawdry, Rove would do.
But would Jesus stand for the slaughter of 100,000 Iraqis in his name for oil and dubious Biblical prophecy? What would Christ think about a president in love with the torture chamber and electric chair? What would Jesus, who hated hypocrisy, say about a Bush who scampers back to prolong the life of a brain-dead woman, but who gleefully executed 150 people as governor and still more as president? How would Jesus cope with a self-proclaimed Divinity demanding the death penalty for children?
And what would Jesus say about torture in American prisons, where much the same is being done to innocent inmates as was done to Christ himself on the way to Calvary? Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" could serve as a documentary of the daily torture and slaughter among the 2.2 million prisoners held in the US military and civilian gulag, a barbaric prison system that makes the Romans' seem benign by comparison.
Systematic sexual abuse by both prison guards and Catholic priests? The wholesale slaughter of Iraqi children? The debasement by corporate money of both church and state?
Christ would lead the non-violent charge against these cornerstones of GOP rule---until Rove killed him.
What would Jesus do about gay marriage? "Love they neighbor," he'd say.
What business is it of those who use his name, he would ask, to prolong bigotry and intolerance just as 50 years ago those same cynical haters claimed Biblical sanction for laws preventing people of different colors from marrying one another.
Christ would never stand for such bigotry. So Karl Rove would have him killed.
Hitler claimed Christ was an Aryan supremacist. Now Rove, DeLay & company use him to sell dictatorial, greed-driven, gay-hating, war loving hypocrisy.
Easter says otherwise. It should remind us that if Jesus returned to preach the Gandhian love-thy-neighbor subversion with which he challenged the Romans, Karl Rove would do what Pontius Pilate did.
But Rove would be better at the spin.
HARVEY WASSERMAN'S HISTORY OF THE US can be found here.
as can his GLIMPSE OF THE BIG LIGHT: LOSING PARENTS, FINDING SPIRIT.