Left Politics Political Philosophy Ungagged Writing

Jesus – Guilty as Charged

Chuck Hamilton

Jesus Christ did not come to rescue Wall Street like President Obama. He did not come to save the American Chamber of Commerce. He did not come to free corporations, regardless of how many courts claim that they are, contrary to all rational thought, “persons”. And he would not have agreed with that money is speech.

Jesus Christ did not promote austerity, balanced budgets, or privatization and dissolution of government services. He did not means test or drug screen those coming to him in desperation seeking mercy. He did not hide the homeless from the sight of the affluent. He did not gentrify cities with wholesale destruction of public and otherwise affordable housing in order to clear space to build apartments and condominiums for the wealthy. He did not come to preach Third Way, supply-side, trickle-down, horse-and-sparrow neoliberal capitalist economics that make poor and working people pay for the lifestyles of the rich and shameless.

Jesus Christ did not support White Supremacism or Christian Triumphalism. He did not build at great expense graven images in the form of gigantic crosses and statues of the Ten so-called Commandments. He did not call for public prayer in town councils or at football games, or for God to be thanked by celebrities at awards shows.

Jesus Christ did not extol American or Israeli exceptionalism. He did not support the original illegal immigrants to the Americas seeking a better quality of life at the expense of that of the native peoples, nor their descendants facing later illegal immigrants seeking the same.

Jesus Christ did not promote Open Carry. He did not preach Stand Your Ground. He did not even advocate Self Defense.

Jesus Christ did not condemn birth control or abortion. He did not come to save zygotes or nonviable fetuses, or for that matter fetuses of any viability, especially not at the risk of the mother’s health against her will. He did not teach that a woman’s only place is in the home and that her only purpose in life is to be a housewife and mother.

If you believe Jesus Christ supported or would support any single one of those things, you are not following the real Jesus Christ. You are following Ayn Rand in a White Jesus mask riding a red-white-and-blue horse shooting fire from its nostrils, lightning from its eyes, and oats from its arse onto the road behind it for the peasants to consume.

The real Jesus Christ, by the way, was not really Jesus Christ. In the early Christian era, he was more often referred to as Isho Nasraya in in his native Galilean Aramaic, Yeshu ha-Notzri in Hebrew, and Iesous [Ee-soos] Nazoraios [Nad-zo-rah’-yos] in Greek, all of which translate to “Jesus the Nazorean”, not “Jesus of Nazareth”.

Jesus the Nazorean was not a 21st century American with blonde hair, blue eyes, European features, and an aquiline nose. He was a 1st century Galilean with dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes, and a big nose. In other words, he looked more like the humans America has been bombing since 2001, as well as the humans against whom bigots in Texas and other states of the Southwest are building fences and patrolling borders, than he did any White, American, Suburban, Professional.

Jesus the Nazorean did not hang out with sanctimonius saints, billionaires, celebrities, lords of Wall Street, masters of industry, land-owners, TV preachers, colonials, the popular, the chic, the cultured, the socially acceptable. He hung out with righteous sinners, deplorables, basement-dwellers, workers, tenants, prostitutes, thieves, collaborators, aliens, indigenous people, refugees, addicts, the poor, the outcast, the socially undesirable. He was in the lower class, of the criminal element, and as unfree as the prisoners of mass incarceration under the empire.

Jesus the Nazorean did not deny to anyone food, shelter, clothing, or healthcare because they were the wrong race, the wrong nationality, the wrong ethnicity, the wrong social class, the wrong religion, the wrong gender, the wrong sexual orientation, felons, addicts, too poor, not sufficiently poor, or able-bodied enough to slave for pittance wages or in makeworkfare-for-welfare programs.

Jesus the Nazorean was neither a capitalist nor a supporter of capital. He did not teach that a person’s only worth derives solely from their ability to produce profits. He frequently advocated social justice and redistribution of wealth, even invading the Wall Street of 1st century Palestine to chase out with a whip the brokers, bankers, financiers, and other swindlers who had taken up residence in what was supposed to be the sanctuary of the people.

Jesus the Nazorean was an outlaw who was executed as a terrorist by the Roman empire. And of that charge there is no question that he was guilty under imperial law. Make no mistake; his trial and execution has fuck all to do with jealousy from the elders and religious elites. Their sole participation, if in fact they participated at all, was as agents and clients of the state.

Jesus the Nazorean was crucified for an act of rebellion against the state. In his time, the Temple precinct, where the oligarchs of Judea held court, their money-changers defrauded, and the sellers of death profited, fell under the administrative supervision of the Roman prefect, so an attack on it was, legally, an attack against the empire. The insurrection that took place in Jerusalem at the same festival over Pilate’s use of Temple money for building an aqueduct into the city made the outcome of Jesus’ trial inevitable. Which shows that the law is not about justice, morality, or equity, but first and foremost about protecting the elite.

And “if the real Jesus Christ were to come back today,” as the 1980s song by the English punk band The The goes, “he’d be gunned down cold by the CIA”. Maybe. More likely, he’d be sent to Camp X-ray at Gitmo, or extraordinarily rendered to a black site in Poland or Romania, or turned over to be tortured by the secret police of Egypt or Azerbaijan or Saudi Arabia.

If his itinerant preaching brought him into America from Mexico, he might find himself in a detention camp as an illegal alien. Or should he somehow make it past the border patrol and vigilante militias, he would doubtless find himself on a no-fly list.

In some states, he and his entourage would find themselves driven out of town or sent as vagrants to private prisons with forced labor for private profits. Certain municipalities would have him arrested for feeding the poor and homeless in public. Other communities would keep him and his crew from sleeping with spikes driven into the ground of every possible shelter and place of rest.

Here in America, he would not die on a cross. He would die frozen under a railroad bridge, or in a booby trap at the border, or at the hands of a suburban middle-class white ammosexual wearing fear goggles “afraid for his life”, or beaten and choked to death by cops with the words, “I can’t breathe” on his lips instead of “It is finished”.

And if he were in his homeland today, he would probably die from American drones. Or from Israeli bombs. Or from gasoline ignited after being forced down his throat.

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