It now emerges, via the new book One Nation Under God by Princeton history professor Kevin Kruse, that it was in response to the New Deal that American Christians began selling as godly the every-man-for-himself worldview of The Right. Big Business, hating the idea of the little guy getting a fair shake, hating even more the idea that their own obscene wealth might be attenuated, enlisted such ordained scumbags as the Rev. James Fifield, pastor to Hollywood stars, the glamorous and wealthy, to convince the staunchly moronic American electorate that it was actually Satan behind the idea of the government intervening on behalf of the poor and old and weak.
Never mind that two major planks in Jesus’s platform had been compassion and charity — not the tax exemption kind. According to Rev. Fifield, it behooved the discerning Christian to read the Bible as he or she would eat fish — to enjoy the delicious flesh after having discarded the bones. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God,” one learned in Mark 10:25. A bone! Proverbs 19:17 taught that "whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed." Another bone! Matthew 5:42 urged the faithful to "give to the one who begs from you." Was there no end to the bones in this salmon? “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,” Matthew 25:40 cautioned, “you did for [Jesus].” Oh, the boniness! The infernal boniness! One was almost content to give up on fishes, and change his order to loaves!
In the course of explaining how to save American democracy yesterday, I suggested that political candidates be hooked up during televised debates to lie-detecting apparatuses that would administer a mild electric shock if they lied. I acknowledge that it would be woefully immoderate to advocate the public crucifixions of purportedly Christian politicians who live in mansions while others are eating out of supermarket dumpsters and sleeping on the sidewalk. I instead support their being made to wear crowns of thorns — the awful tight-fitting, Mel Gibson kind, that which induces lovely cinematic rivulets of blood down the sides of the face.
In terms of the eye of the needle, I would require Christian (and other!) candidates for national office take an oath of poverty, whereby they would agree to live while in office on what someone subsisting at around the 33rd percentile in their districts lived on. My intuition is that most pols are vainglorious enough to be content with fame and power, and, in some cases, the slim prospect that their names will go down in history. On leaving office, they can always write (or have ghostwritten) their memoirs for generous advances.
Speaking of politicians, can someone explain to me why the lame-duck ones don’t cut the proverbial crap and speak actual truth during their last months in office? I get that the Democratic National Committee would be apoplectic if Barack Obama treated himself to an orgy of candor, but when are we going to get such candor if not in a pol’s lame-duck period?