White Evangelicals Oppose Jesus

By James Haught

James Haught is editor of West Virginia’s largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette, and a senior editor of Free Inquiry. He is 87-years-old and would like to help secular causes more. This series is a way of giving back.

Jesus was a liberal. He sided with underdogs. He championed little people, not the privileged and powerful. “Blessed are the poor” was one of his maxims. He told a noble: “Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor.”

Christ’s teachings were virtually a prescription for the compassionate “safety net” upholding people and families in modern democracies.

“For I was hungered, and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink. I was a stranger, and ye took me in. Naked, and ye clothed me. I was sick, and ye visited me. I was in prison, and ye came unto me…. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

He also said: “When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee.”

His parable of the Good Samaritan spotlighted the nobility of caring for victims of misfortune. Christ’s Golden Rule — “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” — underscored common fairness.

Jesus didn’t support harsh punishments. When the law demanded stoning of an adultress, he famously said: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

Jesus advocated separation of church and state. “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.”

Jesus wasn’t a militarist. “Blessed are the peacemakers” was another of his maxims.

Clearly, without question, Jesus espoused values aligned with the modern political left. Sometimes, this facet of religion is called the “social gospel.”

So it’s strange that America’s white evangelicals and fundamentalists are the bedrock of the Republican Party — a party that favors the rich, undercuts the safety net, backs militarism, and demands harsher justice and the death penalty. Oddly, these conservative believers contradict the values of Jesus.

When George W. Bush was governor of Texas, he signed execution warrants for a record-breaking 135 inmates, including 11 who were juveniles at the time of the crimes. Many cases involved questionable evidence. Yet Bush was renowned as a born-again believer and declared on national television that his favorite philosopher was Jesus. The contrast between the two sets off clanging bells of cognitive dissonance.Meanwhile, secular Americans who don’t attend church have become the largest group in the base of the Democratic Party, which supports the safety net for average folks. How odd that churchless people are closer to the social principles of Jesus than many churchgoers are.

New Pope Francis has gained immense worldwide popularity because he pushes the humane liberal ideas of Jesus, not the sexual taboos and hidebound Puritanism that dominated his church in the past.

“Inequality is the root of social evil,” Francis declares. All poor families deserve “land, lodging, labor,” he preaches. He says capitalism rests on “unfettered pursuit of money” and discards “unproductive people” like the poor, elderly and less-educated.

Conservatives are rattled by the prelate. Republican figure Pat Buchanan accused him of preaching “socialist sermons.”

But the pope is merely voicing the values of Jesus. He is underscoring what should be obvious to every thinking person: that Jesus was a liberal.

* * *

Author’s note: This column was published before Donald Trump clinched further proof that white evangelicals oppose Jesus. Trump built his presidential campaign on ethnic prejudice — hostility to Hispanics, Muslims and other minorities. Yet Jesus taught inclusion and brotherhood. Jesus showed that a Samaritan, from a minority despised by Jews, was kinder than more “proper” people. However, white evangelicals gave 81 percent of their vote to racist Trump. They contradicted the values of Jesus.

Link here at Daylight Atheism.

This essay appeared in his paper on Nov. 22, 2015, was distributed nationally by two syndicates, and was reprinted in 60 newspapers.

Canadian Atheist Associates: Godless Mom, Nice Mangoes, Sandwalk, Brainstorm Podcast, Left at the Valley, Life, the Universe & Everything Else, The Reality Check, Bad Science Watch, British Columbia Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, Canadian Secular AllianceCentre for Inquiry CanadaKelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association.

Other National/Local Resources: Association humaniste du QuébecAtheist FreethinkersCentral Ontario Humanist AssociationComox Valley HumanistsGrey Bruce HumanistsHalton-Peel Humanist CommunityHamilton HumanistsHumanist Association of LondonHumanist Association of OttawaHumanist Association of TorontoHumanists, Atheists and Agnostics of ManitobaOntario Humanist SocietySecular Connextions SeculaireSecular Humanists in CalgarySociety of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph)Thunder Bay HumanistsToronto OasisVictoria Secular Humanist Association.

Other International/Outside Canada Resources: Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an AgnostikerAmerican Atheists,American Humanist AssociationAssociação Brasileira de Ateus e Agnósticos/Brazilian Association of Atheists and AgnosticsAtheist Alliance InternationalAtheist Alliance of AmericaAtheist CentreAtheist Foundation of AustraliaThe Brights MovementCenter for Inquiry (including Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science), Atheist IrelandCamp Quest, Inc.Council for Secular HumanismDe Vrije GedachteEuropean Humanist FederationFederation of Indian Rationalist AssociationsFoundation Beyond BeliefFreedom From Religion FoundationHumanist Association of IrelandHumanist InternationalHumanist Association of GermanyHumanist Association of IrelandHumanist Society of ScotlandHumanists UKHumanisterna/Humanists SwedenInternet InfidelsInternational League of Non-Religious and AtheistsJames Randi Educational FoundationLeague of Militant AtheistsMilitary Association of Atheists and FreethinkersNational Secular SocietyRationalist InternationalRecovering From ReligionReligion News ServiceSecular Coalition for AmericaSecular Student AllianceThe Clergy ProjectThe Rational Response SquadThe Satanic TempleThe Sunday AssemblyUnited Coalition of ReasonUnion of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.

Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash

4 thoughts on “White Evangelicals Oppose Jesus

  1. Thank you for pointing out the toxic hypocrisy of “conservative” American Christian types on these issues. Calling Jesus a liberal gives him and his liberal fans too much credit, though. This is the same guy who called non-Jews “dogs” undeserving of his help, who insisted that biblical tradition was eternal and divine, and who threatened his enemies with the eternal torture of Hell. These are profoundly illiberal teachings

  2. “obey your rulers for God has chosen them for you” “It is not for no purpose that your rulers wear a sword”

    The right wingers quote mine the Bible, especially the letters, for their legitimization. AS humanists they are completely illegitimate.

    The New Testament was put together and often revised to produce justification for the eventual “Divine Right of Kings’.

    Jesus never existed as a historical person. He is entirely a Character in Good News Gospels and psychedelic Letters.

    • I would simply like to say that ‘right wingers’ is quite a bit broader than evangelicals. I am an atheist, I am socially left wing and economically right wing. I believe that all humans have the rights to make their own choices as long as their actions do not violate others rights.

      • You’re right about the broadness. I used to think there was something of progress in economic freedom. It certainly produces “growth”. It is very problematic if you want to promote shrinkage.

        We need fewer people burning less fuel currently and free enterprise probably won’t accomplish this without draconian levels of restrictions.

        Maybe the rights to personal economic action will be severely restricted because of its enormous success in “growing the economy’.

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