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Thursday, Dec. 23, 2004 06:35 am

common sense 12-23-04


In the cacophony of Christmas commercialism, it can be difficult even to recall that it's about Jesus. But this hardly is the only time that Jesus gets lost in our modern swirl.

Take politics. In the recent presidential run, much was made by George W. Bush's supporters of his supposedly superior moral values based on his commitment to Jesus. But before we let Bush don the robe of Jesus, let's reflect a moment on the moral teachings of the man from Nazareth.

Like George, I grew up in a Methodist church in Texas. Unlike George, I didn't find any burning anti-liberal theology there.

I recall many a sermon that began with the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:24: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." I recall that the greatest sin of all, "the root of all evil," Jesus said, is "the love of money." I recall the passionate retelling of how Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple.

I recall also that Jesus fed all of the masses that day on the hillside at the Sea of Galilee, not turning away anyone who lacked a platinum card to buy fishes and loaves. And I recall that Jesus flatly said: "You cannot serve both God and Mammon."

In the good book, Jesus talks more about economic justice than nearly any other subject, and the apostles make clear that the most important ethical/religious test of Judeo-Christian faith is in how we treat the least wealthy and least important among us.

Let's call on Bush (and the Democrats, too) to live up to these moral values before claiming that Jesus is on his side.

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