By Guest Blogger: Ferdi Businger
That might seem like an impertinent question for an outspoken anti-theist to ask. But I think it is a fair question since a majority of Americans consider themselves Christians and maybe a third of Americans are devoutly so.
It seems to me that we all have a stake in how Christian values inform public policy, regardless of our beliefs.
Jesus serves as a metaphor for most of us…
I also think it’s a fair question because for many of us, religious or not, Jesus serves as metaphor for our better natures, our loving natures.
Whether or not we believe He is real or a real historical ﬁgure, we all pretty much agree He represents a transcendent good, an altruistic ideal for us to aspire to.
In light of this, I wonder if Jesus is being consulted enough.
I remember thinking a couple years ago, after seeing photos of the Alberta oil sand strip mines, what it would be like to give Jesus a tour of this human-made moonscape. What would He say? Would He say something along the lines of the iconic 1970s poster: “God is coming and boy is She pissed!“?
In fact, I’ve never understood why being good stewards of God’s creation is such a low priority for many of the faithful.
There is a disconnect between our beliefs and our actions
And this strange disconnect between what Jesus ostensibly taught and how we live our lives manifests itself everywhere:
At our southern border children are being ripped from their parents, desperate families caught up in a bureaucratic nightmare of our own making. Believe it or not, taking children away from one group and giving them to another group ﬁts the internationally agreed upon deﬁnition of genocide.
But forget for a moment human rights organizations, bleeding-heart liberals, and hyperbole. The real question is: What would Jesus do in this situation?
Does Jesus, or God for that matter, care more about American families than Mexican or Guatemalan families?
And since I’m not afraid to ask these questions: What would Jesus think about a border wall dividing His children? Would He be ok with it – with preventing families from seeking safety and wildlife from drinking precious water out of the Rio Grand River, water He has provided for them?
Would He be ok with the destruction of wildlife preserves and parks, including a butterﬂy sanctuary?
How is it that the ideals of being good stewards of God’s creation and protecting the least among us have so little currency today? Fear and money have a way of distorting our humanity to the point where we lose our light.
In fact, all the division, conﬂicts, poor policy decisions, arguments on social media and so on can be traced to fear and the effort to manipulate fear for ﬁnancial gain and power. After all, there is no easier way to turn people against each other or to relieve them of their hard-earned taxdollars than by frightening them.
And since we are cliquish by nature there is no easier way to do that than to demonize the “other” – those on the other side of the border, those with a different skin color, those of a different political persuasion or faith tradition.
In God we trust?
How ironic that we print “In God We Trust” on our money, when clearly we don’t trust in God or Jesus at all. We place our trust in guns and missiles and walls instead!
I ﬁnd it disheartening how easily we abandon our core values such as democracy, family, justice, and love for our fellow humans when faced by real or perceived threats. Jesus was an example of someone who did not abandon His core values even in the face of overwhelming odds. He did not let fear cloud His judgment or color his morality.
There have been other examples of this throughout history, such as the many Dutch who, at great risk to themselves, hid Jews in their attics during the Nazi occupation of Holland.
So back to the question of what would Jesus do? I’m not a big fan of people who think they know God’s mind or Jesus’ mind. But I will venture a guess here that He would not be very happy with us. I doubt that He favors walls and wars and environmental destruction.
I think He would ask us to base our decisions and policies on love instead of fear and on good stewardship instead of easy proﬁts.
But what do I know? I’m just a human trying to make sense of life.