Feathered Bastard

Jesus Christ Was a Liberal, No Matter What Republinuts Say

What is it about some Republicrazies and conservatards that makes them think God is on their side? I mean, they really believe all liberals are godless atheists who worship Satan and hate religion, and that Jesus is their Confederate-license-plate-rockin' homeboy.

Take this e-mail I just got from some dude in Kennesaw, Georgia (as they'd say on the old Hee Haw show, "Population 21,675, Saaaaa-luuuut!), who took issue with me using a phrase from the Don McLean song, American Pie, "Satan's laughing with delight." I had used it as a throwaway line in some old opinion piece, it seems.

In any case, Kennesaw-ean Joe Benson wrote me the following,

Mr Lemons, "Satan is laughing in delight" is an odd thing for someone with such a left-slant to say. I think you lefties are a godless bunch.  "Satan comes to Steal, Kill and Destroy". You promote stealing, wholesale, from "the Rich" (a defenseless straw-man).  I believe that puts you in Satan's court, doesn't it?  "But they have so much more than I do!", you might say. Isn't that the same line all the shop-lifters use when they steal from the local department store??  I'd say that puts you squarely on the side of thieves, people without principles, rationalizers, in short - Satan's side!

Now, while I may enjoy the occasional night of moonlit Satan-worshipping and imbibing of intoxicants with a succubus or two, I just so happen to know that there are innumerable liberals who also happen to be Christians, or vice-versa.

In fact, I'd argue that Jesus Christ himself was a liberal. All that stuff about the meek inheriting the earth, helping the poor, being a peacemaker, doing unto others, turning the other cheek, hanging out with ex-prostitutes, publicans, and assorted other sinners, breaking the law of the Sabbath? Sounds pretty lefty to me.

Particularly this well-known Jesus quote from Luke, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

Of course, as we all know, Jesus was Jewish. He wasn't a Christian. So I'm not sure how you deal with that one. But he was one liberal Jew.

Many of the most compassionate folks I've ever known were religious in one way or another. On the flip side, the idiots in the Ku Klux Klan believed themselves to be white knights of Christendom, or some such mess.

Sill, in an effort to prove brother Benson incorrect, and show him the error of his ways, I've developed this little list of famous and not-so-famous Christian liberals. Feel free to add to them, if you wish.

(Note: After posting this, Mr. Benson replied to my e-mail to him in good humor, so keep that in mind as you're posting comments.)

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Jimmy Carter (Deacon in the Baptist Church)

Dorothy Day (devout Catholic)

Dietrich Bonhoffer (theologian, murdered by the Nazis)

Martin Niemoller (Lutheran pastor, anti-Nazi)

Cesar Chavez

Bill Moyers (United Church of Christ)

William Sloane Coffin, Jr. (Presbyterian minister, anti-war activist)

Bill Clinton (Baptist)

Bobby Kennedy (Catholic)

JFK (Catholic)

Reinhold Niebuhr (theologian, liberal)

Most Quakers (excepting Richard Nixon, though some wing-nuts think Nixon was a lib)

Most Unitarians

Many Catholics, though not all.

Most, if not all, United Church of Christ members

Many Presbyterians, though not all

John Fife (former Presbyterian pastor, co-founder of the sanctuary movement)

Gene Lefebvre (also a former Presbyterian pastor and a co-founder of the sanctuary movement)

Rev. Jesse Jackson

Rev. Al Sharpton

Paul Tillich (Christian existentialist)

Mike Wilson (Tohono O'odham tribe member, former Presbyterian lay pastor)

Rev. Liana Rowe (local activist and clergy with the United Church of Christ)

Martin Sheen (devout Roman Catholic)

John Kerry (Roman Catholic)

Johnny Cash

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons