Where to begin with this one? How did it start? Where did it start? Why did it start? And, most importantly, why am I going there?
Well, it started with an image being tweeted out that was so awful, the mere sight of it nearly caused me to go blind, and I was not alone. At least one other viewer had a WTF?! moment, while numerous others seemed to be experiencing their own form of visual confusion. Words cannot do justice to the awfulness the thing we saw, so I have provided the image in question directly below (with the offender’s name blocked out).
Now that you have experienced the joy of nearly going blind yourself, you can better understand just how misguided the theme actually is. That is, unless you are a member of the religious right. If that is the case, you probably can’t see what is so eye-hurtingly wrong here. I will therefore explain it to you.
Jesus was a pacifist. He did not advocate violence, even going so far as to heal the ear of the soldier Peter had injured during the scuffle that occurred during His arrest. Jesus instructed His followers to love their enemies and pray for those who persecuted them. At no time did He ever tell them to go out and slaughter people who believed in other gods, or belonged to a different religious system. Violence was abhorrent to Him. That alone should show up the notion of ‘Deus Vult’, and ‘it’s crusade o’clock’ for what it is: garbage that has no relation to Jesus’ teachings, and something that no true believer in His message would ever adorn their Twitter account with.
There is something else that is disturbing here, though. That is the misplaced reference to Isaiah. Isaiah 6:8 reads: ‘Then I heard a voice of the Lord saying,”Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” “Here I am” I said; “send me!” But… God never said ‘Go launch a crusade, Isaiah!’ Isaiah used words. Fiery words, but not words of hate and division. Isaiah was a prophet, not a warrior. His job was to turn the people back to their God, and in so doing, keep them from being booted out of the land that He had given to them by covenant.
What Little Missy with her anime-crusade cover-photo is missing out on, is exactly what an entire segment of the religious right is also missing out on: that covenant, the Old Covenant, was rendered null and void by the Jews’ own failure to adhere to its rules and regulations. It was replaced by a New Covenant between Jesus and His followers, which has nothing to do with the land of Israel, or the physical descendants of Abraham. There is no ‘Holy Land’ to retake, and no crusade to wage, because the inheritance of Jesus’ followers is not an earthly one.
There are so many things wrong with the religious right that it boggles the mind. Jesus was not a traditionalist; he did not advocate traditional roles for women. He broke all the rules when it came to a woman’s ‘place’. He spoke to women who were strangers to him, which was a big taboo in those days. He fraternized with women who were considered the dregs of society, and he had women among his followers. In the early Christian church, women acted as deacons, as organizers, and helped spread the Gospel both alone, and side by side with their husbands. St. Paul advised women who became widowed not to remarry, and those who were not yet married to remain single, so that they could more effectively devote themselves to the work of God.
The religious right would now have all women back in the kitchen, under the authority of a husband.
That is just a taste of how far from the Gospel, and the spirit of Jesus, the right has wandered. They’ve also thrown away the concept of salvation through faith, and returned to one of attempting to attain salvation through works (I’ve recently heard this described as ‘the Hebrew Roots Movement’, which, as a movement, is not new at all). They’ve thrown their support behind the nation of Israel, refusing to condemn that nation when it commits heinous acts that Jesus would never have approved of. For the love of God, Jesus talked to Samaritans, and the Samaritans ended up believing in Him! Worst of all, the religious right pride themselves on an ideology that only people with hearts of stone could ever espouse.
What ideology is that, you ask? One that has no sympathy for the poor, the outcast, and the unfortunate. An ideology that spits on the poor and calls them ‘lazy’. An ideology that believes giving to the poor only ‘enables’ them. One that doesn’t even believe in taking care of the sick and suffering.
What would Jesus have said about that ideology? Let’s see. Jesus told his followers to sell everything they had, and give it to the poor. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, and refused to condemn a woman who had been brought to him for judgement. In the ideology of the religious right, these are the actions of a horrible, anti-American communist! He provided FREE HEALTH CARE! He didn’t just give out food-stamps, he GAVE AWAY FREE FOOD! Worse yet, he GAVE OUT FREE MONEY!
By today’s standards, at least those of the crusade-fostering religious right, Jesus was a communist, a feminist, and a filthy, traitorous peacenik! Oh, yes, he was also an antisemitic Jew-hater who believed Jews worship Satan and advocated the destruction of Israel and Jerusalem. In the words of John 8:44 “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (NIV)
Somebody hand these religious right-wingers an easy to read copy of the New Testament, please!