In a stunning display of spin that far exceeds even Rush Limbaugh, Herman Cain has transformed Jesus into uber-capitalist and individualist Ayn Rand. Every person for himself -- "the poor are responsible for their poverty."
Add to that Mr. Cain's pronouncement that Jesus was killed by a liberal court. Forget that Jesus, his followers and many other Jews hated the Sanhedrin that convicted Jesus. At the time, the Sanhedrin was dominated by conservative judges from the wealthy elite class who embraced rigid literal interpretations of the Old Testament (Torah).
Cain goes on to proclaim that Jesus, "the perfect conservative," would be a champion of present-day conservative ideology. Where does he get this from? Jesus communicated it, says Cain, through his actions: feeding the hungry without government food stamps, helping the poor without government aid or raising taxes, and healing the sick without ObamaCare. Cain also reminds us that Jesus was "unemployed, and never collected an unemployment check."
Oh, I get it. So manifestations out of thin air by the Son of God is the answer to our economic woes. And with divine healing for the sick, who needs Medicare or any private insurance? Mr. Cain: Have you hidden your magical powers from us? Do you plan to wave a magic wand and manifest bread, fish and wine for the poor of America -- and more?
And please tell us: What were all those poor people doing sitting in a field listening to sermons from Jesus when they should have been home writing resumes for jobs. Wouldn't that have been more in keeping with taking responsibility for their poverty?
As for Cain's keen observation that the unemployed Jesus didn't lean on the government for a dole, should America's poor -- all 46.3 million of them including 6 million children under age six -- grab their begging bowls and hit the road?
How myopic, Mr. Cain. Jesus was far from a conservative -- some might even say he was a radical socialist. Compassion, charity and -- foremost -- sharing resources were at the core of his teachings. In fact, in Jesus' community of disciples and followers, holding back personal possessions, or proceeds from the sale of personal possessions, rather than contributing everything to a communal pool, was a supreme sin meriting severe punishment -- described starkly in Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament:
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost. And great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him (Acts 5:1-6).
And in the spirit of unity and oneness Jesus commanded his followers: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark12:31). Isn't that precisely what the Wall Street protesters are calling for on their signs and posters? "Hey guys, we're your neighbors, we're here and we're suffering. Where are you?"
The Republican rhetoric and debates keep taking bizarre turns that make their tour of America look more and more like day-trips from Bedlam.