Conservatives Hijacking Christ

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Ben Cohen
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I have always been amazed at people's ability to contort the teaching of Jesus Christ to suit their own particular prejudices and needs. When I read the gospels, I cannot fathom how narcissistic loudmouths like Bill O'Reilly or fear mongering idiots like Glenn Beck can consider themselves Christian. Their view of society is far more Darwinistic than Christian. They believe that the rich shall inherit the earth, while the poor must be blamed for their woes. In their eyes, the rich are good and the poor are lazy. For O'Reilly and Beck, the world is divided into good and evil where the good are deserving of our kindness, and the evil deserving of remorseless violence.

Here isBill O'Reillyon his version of Christianity:

America remains the land of opportunity, but you have to work for it. The unemployment rate for college graduates is 5 percent. For high-school dropouts, it is 16 percent. Personal responsibility is usually the driving force behind success. But there are millions of Americans who are not responsible, and the cold truth is that the rest of us cannot afford to support them.

Every fair-minded person should support government safety nets for people who need assistance through no fault of their own. But guys like McDermott don't make distinctions like that. For them, the baby Jesus wants us to "provide" no matter what the circumstance. But being a Christian, I know that while Jesus promoted charity at the highest level, he was not self-destructive.

The Lord helps those who help themselves. Does he not?

And here'sAndrew Sullivan, a real Christian (or at least what I imagine to be a real Christian) on the teachings of Christ:

God's mercy is unconditional; so should the mercy and generosity of Christians. Remember - Christians are required to love not just our neighbors or our friends or our families - but our enemies. We are asked to love Osama bin Laden. The Prodigal Son gets more than the loyal one, remember? The rich young man - who was also devout and worthy - was told that he had to give away everything he owned to enter the kingdom of heaven. He was not told to whom. Jesus himself urged us not to worry about material possessions; and he lived as a vagrant, with no source of income. The early Christians were told to seek the mercy and generosity of others in their peregrinations; they were to take as much care of themselves as the lilies in the field. Give us this day our daily bread. Not enough even for tomorrow.

But of course, those who shout loudest in America are right, and those who offer quiet dignity are swept aside.