“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
—Jesus of Nazareth, from the Sermon on the Mount
alala Yousafzai, the Muslim teenager who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for advocating that, among other things, girls should go to school, appeared on Jon Stewart’s show, and the short segment is must-see television. She talked about how she first found out that the Taliban was targeting her (she was 14 at the time) and she revealed her subsequent thoughts (to a gasping Jon Stewart) about what she would do when a member of the Taliban came to do her harm:
I used to think that the Talib would come and just kill me. But then I said, “If he comes what would you do, Malala?” Then I would reply to myself, “Malala just take a shoe and hit him,” but then I said, “If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with that much cruelty and that much harshly. You must fight others through peace and through dialogue and through education”…I would tell him how important education is and that “I would even want education for your children as well. That’s what I want to tell you. Now do what you want.”
Now, I can’t imagine anything more in tune with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount than that, can you?
Contrast that with what is currently going on at the 2013 Values Voter Summit in Washington, put on by an allegedly Jesus-loving outfit called the Family Research Council. Annually this group gets together to blaspheme their savior by essentially repudiating much of what he stood for in the scriptures these folks hold to be infallible.
Jesus, who offered folks free health care while he was on the earth, must have winced when Senator Mike Lee appeared this morning and said of the Affordable Care Act,
We must stop it. We must defund it. We cannot accept it.
He received a standing ovation from the roomful of, uh, Christians.
The gathered faithful also joyfully and enthusiastically welcomed a militant Mark Levin, a rabid talk-show host who said the President of the United States should just “sit down and shut up.” Apparently the applauding Bible-thumpers forgot about Romans 13, which I suggest they read in full, especially the parts I have highlighted for their edification:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
If one takes the Bible seriously, if one believes that it is the Word of God, as all those Values Voter Summit attendees do, then they all should hope that Barack Obama doesn’t take his “avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” role literally. It could get ugly.
Finally, there was Dr. Ben Carson, formerly a famous neurosurgeon and now an in-demand right-wing Christian speaker, who said the following about the Affordable Care Act, which, I remind you was primarily designed to bring health insurance to millions of folks who can’t afford it or can’t get it because of preexisting health conditions and keeps very much alive the for-profit health system:
I have to tell you ObamaCare is, really I think, the worst thing that’s happened in this nation since slavery.
Dr. Carson, who appears to be black, went on to say that the new law “is slavery, in a way,” and it is “evil,” and it is “socialized medicine” and, of course, it is being used somehow to turn us into a commies.
These folks, I remind you, say they are Christians.
In any case, with all the weirdness going on in Washington, D.C., both in an out of the government, I suppose it makes perfect sense that a little Muslim girl from Pakistan, who bravely stood up to the fanatics around her and lived to tell about it, better represents the Sermon-on-the-Mount Jesus than all the Values Voter Christians put together.