Irwin Ozborne, Contributor
“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needed without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.” -Steven Colbert
In a small Middle-Eastern town, the community had been under the rule of a harsh dictator for nearly four decades. He would use force to execute his own citizens, family, children, and wives, if they were to threaten his regime. The dictator was part of a puppet government installed by a larger empire which looked to control and manipulate all of the land.
One day, in fear of a takeover, he ordered his secret militia police to carry out mass executions of every infant boy under the age of two years old. It was not uncommon under his rule to carry out such atrocious acts to spread fear of his people.
As his secret police were “just following orders,” one of the families was able to flee the country and seek refuge in a foreign land.
This is the story of Jesus and the Christmas Holiday – it is a story about a Middle-Eastern refugee family trying to escape persecution and terror in their homeland.
The story continues with the dictator dying and handing over his kingdom to one of his son’s who would create even more terrorism and persecution. This left the refugee family to return to their hometown of Nazareth, which was under different rulers at the time.
Jesus began preaching at age 32 and spoke of love, compassion, and helping those in need. Whether or not you believe in the story of Jesus, are an atheist, believe it is all symbolism, or have no opinion on the matter – you cannot deny that the teachings stood for togetherness, connection, and love for humanity.
He spoke about helping the poor, was against material possessions, and spent most his time with the lepers, prostitutes, and those shunned by society. He told us to forgive each other, to return hatred with love, anti-violence, and was anti-imperialism. Simply, it was about love, forgiveness, acceptance, and social justice.
This is the foundation of Christianity – the teachings of Christ.
But, it doesn’t take too long to discover that a large portion of modern “Christians” seem to have this backwards. They hide behind the Bible, recite scripture, and then are openly racist, discriminatory, judgmental, and self-serving.
Most of these extremists belong to the Republican Party. Now, most Christians are very good people and do follow the teachings of Christ for the most part. Also, most Republicans are good people who believe what they feel is right for “their” country. However, their beliefs do not align with the teachings of Christ. The Republican beliefs are actually anti-Christian – could that be referred to as anti-Christ?
In the same way that Radical Islam does not in any way resemble Islam; neither does Radical Christianity resemble the teachings of Christ.
Let’s be honest. If Jesus was born thirty years ago, Fox News and the Republican Party would label him a dangerous Middle Eastern man who wants to impose socialism on the world and enable the poor.
The Story of Republican Jesus
While they love Jesus, they seem to have made their own interpretation along the way. The Republican Party of the United States of America has created a new figure, Republican Jesus.
Republican Jesus, despite being born in the Middle-East, is a white man. Republican Jesus also openly hates homosexuals, believes that helping the poor encourages them to be lazy, handouts should be reserved for Churches and Corporations, and gave his sermons from million-dollar megachurches which were sponsored by oil companies and arms manufacturers – because Republican Jesus loves guns.
He also completely opposes abortion, because killing is wrong.
However, once the baby is born he opposes any government programs such as welfare, food stamps, free lunch, and public housing assistance. Because, you see, killing is wrong but once they are born they are on their own. Then, allowing a slow, miserable existence is perfectly acceptable for those born in poverty. And if we cannot profit off them, we will simply arrest them and put them in our concentration camps (err..private prisons) and get free slave labor for our corporations – which get tax benefits for all the good they provide.
The distinction between Biblical Jesus and Republican Jesus must have came around the 1960s during Jesus’ hippy days of believing that loving the poor and those in need was a good idea. Until he realized that big money, profits, and using violence was the way to heaven.
During his days of preaching, while leaving Jericho, two blind men approached Republican Jesus and shouted, “Lord have mercy on us!”
“What do you want me to do for you,” he asked.
“Lord,” they asked, “we want our sight.”
“What is thy insurance coverage plan?” asked Republican Jesus.
“Insurance?” they asked, “What is that?”
“You have no health insurance?” Republican Jesus laughed, “Well we cannot issue free health insurance to everyone or that would hurt the market. I cannot help you without coverage.”
“How do we get insurance Lord?” they asked.
“Well, you have a pre-existing condition,” Republican Jesus responded, “So you will not likely find any coverage. Perhaps you should get a job and earn some money like the rest of us.”
Republican Jesus and his disciples soon created a commercial fishing empire in which they held a monopoly over the industry. They came before a hungry crown with their trucks of fish and bread. As the people came up to him, he realized that if he were to feed them all it would only create dependency.
Later, Republican Jesus explained that when the Son of Man comes in his glory he will separate the people from one another as the shepherd separates the sheep from goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. He will look to those on his right and say:
“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. You were hungry and thirsty, so I eliminated free meals and food banks. You were a stranger, so I vilified you and demanded that you were deported. You were naked, so I assumed you were an evil liberal who hates conservative values. You were sick, so I repealed your only hope for healthcare. You were in prison, so I tortured you.”
Biblical Jesus was a dangerous foreign-born socialist who had a way of speaking with the masses and cause social reform among the lower class. You know, the same thing that happened in places like Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Iran, Philippines, Congo, Cuba, etc. This is a huge threat to Republican Jesus and his love for corporations that profit off stealing resources from the poor. Republican Jesus loves money, war, and social inequality.
As John Fugelsang puts it:
“Jesus was a radical nonviolent revolutionary who hung out with lepers, hookers, and crooks. Wasn’t American and never spoke English; was anti-wealth, anti-death penalty, and anti-public prayer. But he was never ant-gay, never mentioned abortion or birth control, never called the poor lazy, never justified torture, never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes, never asked a leper for a copay. He was a long-haired, brown-skinned, homeless, community-organizing, anti-slut shaming, Middle Eastern Jew.”
All Lives Matter
All Lives Matter! Right!?
Great! Because there are a large number of innocent Syrian men, women, and children that are currently hiding in a living hell in their homeland. They are facing persecution, daily terror, and never know which breath will be their last.
With all the resources available in our country, why don’t we open the doors and help these poor souls? Because All Lives Matter, right?
If you are not willing to open the doors, then it would be fair to say that all lives do not matter equally.
While we truly understand that “All Lives Matter”; we are deciding to focus on the ones that are being discriminated against and killed. The premise behind “Black Lives Matter” is that there is an implied “too” at the end. We are not saying white lives do not matter, but that has never been the subject of a human rights violation, genocide, of social injustice. It would be as if a firefighter showed up to a burning house, but decided to put water on the home next door because “All Homes Matter.”
These incidents in Paris have shown again that we seem to imply that only White Lives Matter. We have rushed in to send prayers, change our profile pictures, and share our support against Terrorism. Which is great! We should do so to fight the good fight.
But, where was this on the same day when 41 civilians were killed and another 200 injured on the same day in Beirut? Do Lebanese Lives matter? Or what about the 19 Iraqi citizens that were leaving a mosque when a bomb went off and ended their lives? I did not even see it mentioned in the news, which would indicate that their lives are not as important as those of the French people. A week before the Paris attacks, there was a car bomb and a shooting at a hotel in Somalia but no one blinked an eye. In October there was a bomb that claimed the lives of 224 civilians on a passenger jet, a suicide bomber blew up 22 Pakistani civilians, a bomb at a mosque in Nigeria killed 42 other innocent people, and there was a suicide bomber that killed 102 people in Turkey that were attending a peace rally.
You see, if these things did get media coverage, I do believe that there would be public response asking for action to take place. This is what ended the Vietnam War. We put cameras out there and the public saw the atrocities being carried out, including the iconic photo of the young girl running scared for her life after napalm had just been scattered on her village.
And the story continues after the Paris attacks. Within the last week, there was a bombing at a farmers market in Nigeria that killed 34 people. The next day, at a different town in Nigeria, a suicide attack took another 15 lives. The other day, a hostage taking and shooting at a hotel in Mali took 27 more lives, then a suicide bombing outside a mosque in Iraq ended another nine lives and injuring forty-seven.
Without one report of any of these on any major network news, it would be fair to say that All Lives Do Not Matter.
This is why there are movements such as “Black Lives Matter” because clearly we do not see that this is happening every day and the only time we offer prayers and support is when white lives are at risk. Therefore, public relations campaigns need to be put in place to remind us that “Black Lives Matter” because clearly it is not very well understood.
Yet, somehow this gets turned into reverse racism by suggesting that white lives do not matter. It is the same as people crying for White History Month. Do you not see that you are the oppressor? It was only fifty years ago that African-Americans were demanding equal rights in a country in which you abducted their ancestors and enslaved them to build your country on stolen Native American land. Spend a day in the shoes of a minority, those being oppressed, a Syrian family, and then remind us how this is a racist movement and that we need to embrace that “White Lives Matter.”
What makes us so different? Because we were born here? You did nothing to become an American. You were born here, so why should you benefit from freedom as opposed to someone who happens to be born in an area in which they are fighting for their lives the day they are born?
If you are going to pray for France, maybe you should also be praying for Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Nigeria, Chad, Turkey, Pakistan, Kenya, Israel, Afghanistan, Yemen, Egypt, Cameroon, Syria, Libya, Niger, Mali, Tunisia, Macedonia, India, Tunisia, Thailand, Philippines, Ukraine, China, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh as well.
Because if “All Lives” truly matter to you, start showing with actions rather than words.
I already know many responses – “See, if there are so many suicide bombers, we cannot trust any of them.” Or one of the most ignorant comments I have seen in quite some time, “If I gave you 10 skittles and you knew that two were poisonous and would kill you, would you take any of them?”
This skittles comment is insinuating that twenty percent of Muslims, or more specifically Syrian refugees, are going to be terrorists. This is media manipulation. In fact, the entire thing is media manipulation.
I do believe that most people are good people and that they want to live safely for themselves and in harmony with others. The media controls the minds of the masses. They show us the evil terrorists killed people in Paris and now we are jumping on board to support our French brothers and sisters. We have public support to drop bombs over Syria or “kill all the Muslims.”
Islam has more than 1.57 billion adherents, or 23-percent of the world’s population. CNN put together an article which lists all the Islamic terrorist organizations and estimates that 106,000 individuals are members of those organizations. Using this math, it would mean that 0.00006625 percent of Muslims are extremists – yet the Western Media would leave you to believe (and some conservative politicians) that number is closer to twenty percent.
But, what about our own domestic terrorism in the past ten years? Who is carrying out all the domestic acts of terror here? In October it was a white person killing 10 college students in Oregon; In June a white teenager killed nine African-Americans in a church; in 2012 there were attacks at a movie theatre and elementary school – both by white men in their early 20s; or the Oklahoma City Bombing and Waco, Texas incidents in the 1990s by older white men. Using the same logic, we could conclude that all white people are domestic terrorists.
But, who is the biggest winner off the bombings in France? The war-profiteers! Those who have investments in the arms manufacturers like Raytheon (3.93% increase since attacks), Lockheed Martin (4.24% increase), Northrop Grumman (3.9% increase), AVAV (4.49% increase), BAE Systems (4.52% increase) and Thales (7.75% increase), have already seen stocks rise since the Paris attacks.
The people with stock in these companies are the same members of Congress who decide if/when we go to war. The more the public says “We hate Muslims, let’s go to War, let’s kill them all.” Then the more these manufacturers make weapons and the elite profit.
Religion and Politics
When I was younger, I was always told not to talk about religion and politics because it stirs up too many emotions and causes too much conflict. But, there is nothing in the world that causes more problems of separation than religion and politics. Every war is a result of one of these two and if we don’t talk about it, it will never end.
To label one person and good and the other as bad is ludicrous. Look at two infants or toddlers, they know nothing but love. Nobody is born evil, or with hate. They only are victims of misguided love and fear. As we grow, we give ourselves these labels of white/black/Asian/Mexican, or Jewish/Christian/Muslim/Buddhist. Then we go further and create these imaginary lines to further separate us and give ourselves a flag and call ourselves Americans / Egyptians / Germans / Russians / Chinese, etc.
After we create this separation, we attach to these labels and cling to them and soon believe that we are these labels. We fight, defend, die, and kill to protect these labels that are meaningless.
It gets so far away from the original message that we forget that the teachings of Christ, Mohammad, Abraham, Buddha, or Confucius are all the same. They require unconditional love for our fellow human and interconnection with all things.
Unconditional love means without condition. To say that “All Lives Matter” that is implying everyone, without condition. Yet, our fellow brothers and sisters from Syria are struggling and fighting for their lives and we decide that we are going to close our artificial border.
About the Author
An avid historian, Irwin Ozborne (a pen-name) is a survivor of childhood abuse and torture over a period of 13 years, and a recovered alcoholic. As a mental health practitioner, today Irwin practices holistic care and incorporates eastern philosophy into his work with clients.