A favorite meme of the anti-“Religious Right” is that Jesus wasn’t political, and they should stop mixing the Bible with GOP politics. And so, my left eyebrow raised all by itself when I saw this:
“He was out there fighting injustice and speaking truth to power every single day.”—Michelle Obama
Well, actually, not really, Mrs. President. When Jesus saves the adulteress from being stoned in the well-known story from John 8, it’s not that she’s being done an injustice, it’s that those who would stone her are no more guiltless, and could use a little mercy themselves.
When Jesus whips the money-changers out of temple in John 2, it’s precisely because of the blasphemy against God. [Something the Religious Right wouldn’t mind picking up a whip against.]
No, Mrs. President, Jesus wasn’t out there like Alec Baldwin in sandals, doing the politics thing, fighting for truth, justice, and the populist way, “speaking truth to power.” He barely spoke to Pilate atall.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with people living their religion and not parking it in a lockbox until Sunday. And there’s certainly plenty of good Christian political theology on the “all men are created equal” front.
Theologically, I’m unhappy with Mrs. Obama turning Jesus into Malcolm or Abbie Hoffman and Christianity into #Occupy, but that’s OK. What I’d like to point out to those who would silence the Religious Right is that the door of religiously motivated activism must swing both ways.
I mean, she’s allowed to be wrong about her interpretation of the Bible, but so is everyone else.
“It’s kind of like church,” Mrs. Obama said. “Our faith journey isn’t just about showing up on Sunday for a good sermon and good music and a good meal. It’s about what we do Monday through Saturday as well, especially in those quiet moments, when the spotlight’s not on us, and we’re making those daily choices about how to live our lives.”
Mm-hmmm. We all agree on that much, then. It opens the door to another argument, though, one better made elsewhere, and a door I think Mrs. Obama would prefer to nail shut.