Jesus Rode A Donkey, Not An Elephant
Paul Rosenberg printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 03:53:25 PM EST
(I had hoped my first diary at Talk2Action would be more informative, rather than a rant.  But I just can't help myself anymore.  Such is life...)

The Predatorgate meltdown currently impacting the GOP will undoubtedly take time to sort out.  But one thing is clear: it has dramatically underscored the radical disconnect between the Christian rhetoric and the actual actions of the "religious right."

Whether the Democrats can do anything significant in the longterm as a result of this revelation is doubtful, unless folks outside the party give them a major assist.  While our longterm goal should be much larger than partisan politics, we cannot afford to ignore that realm, either, since the "religious right" has made partisan politics a key focus of its attention.

Is it, then, a mere coincidence that the GOP's symbol is the elephant (a sacred beast for Hindus, not Christians) while the Democrat's symbol is the donkey, on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday?  Or is it, rather, a sign from God?

Consider:  The "religious right"/GOP repeatedly relates its notions of religiousity to matters that have no place in  Gospels, and only a tenuous place, at best, elsewhere in the Bible.

Jesus did not speak about abortion, homosexuality, or the Rapture.

He did speak about separation of church and state ("render unto Ceaser that which is Ceaser's..."), and about treating the most lowly and despised with dignity and respect ("Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me"), and about a dire fate for those who failed to show such respect ("Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not...")

The Silence of the Wolves (In Shepard's Clothing)

In his book, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror, Mahmood Mamdani explains how what he calls "political Islam" was a creation of secular politicians looking for a political vehicle, not a creation of religious leaders and theologians.  The same is largely true of our "religious right."

This is not to deny the longterm influences of theological doctrines many of us find deeply troubling, to say the least.  But the nurturing of such doctrines into a specifically politically expression--and a narrowly partisan one, as well--is far more the work of political operatives and ideologues than anything else.  

This meanest species of secular genesis is what so perfectly explains both Predatorgate and the silence of the wolves about it.  It's taken a bit of time for them to get back on script--mendaciously equating Foley's predation with homosexuality, and vehemently condemning it.  But their prolonged silence before they could figure out their spin speaks volumes about their true nature as purely political spinmeisters, for whom religion is nothing but a schtick.

What we need in response to them--not just for the short run, but for the longterm reclamation of our democracy and our spiritual heritage--is not "civil discourse," but rather the wrath of the prophets, and of Jesus himself, when promising them "everlasting fire."  Remember: the purpose of such wrath is not to punish those who have strayed and forgotten, but to reawaken them, that they may escape punishment.

Hushed voices will not do the trick--although they surely have their place, as well.  Deafening elephant bellows have dominated the public square for far too long.  It's time to hear the plaintive donkey's brey.

Or, as Martin Luther King said in "The Drum Major Instinct":

If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don't want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long.  And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize--that isn't important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards--that's not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school.

I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others.

I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question.

I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry.

And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked.

I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison.

I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace.  I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that's all I want to say.

It's time for drum majors of love and service, riding their humble donkeys into a New Jerusalem.



Display:
I and my wife got a real hoot over the title, and MLK's talk on the Drum Major instinct was moving- this is the first time I've encountered it (that I remember).

by ArchaeoBob on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:07:14 PM EST


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