Saying that budgets are moral documents, though a commonplace, is still instructive. Where you spend your money is how you signal your priorities. Or in the words of Jesus, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart also be.”
That whole budgets-are-moral-documents thing came to me as I listened to a summary of the president’s new budget proposal. Cuts to the EPA, to HUD, to international economic development, to the arts and public broadcasting, to scientific research. But the thing that really exasperated me were the cuts to services for the most vulnerable among us—the poor, the elderly, the unemployed. School lunches? Meals-on-Wheels? Community development block grants? Legal aid? Seriously?
And when you add that dramatic budgetary gut punch to the stunningly generous tax cut for the wealthiest Americans masquerading as healthcare reform, to the mean-spirited crackdown on immigrants and refugees, to the hate-mongering against Muslims, to the targeting of hard-won civil rights for African Americans and LGBTQ people … well, the picture is grim—especially if you happen to be a person who takes Jesus anything like seriously.
But in the midst of my despair, looking for a little spiritual and ethical insight, I ran across a set of documents I didn’t know existed—which is saying something, because I try to keep up on that sort of thing. But there I was, poking about the dusty corners of the Internet and I happened to run across an ancient manuscript.
Now manuscript dating is not my area of expertise, so I won’t attempt to put a date on this one. All I’m going to say is that it looked really dang old. (I realize that lacks a certain amount of academic precision, but you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.)
So, I blew the digital dust off these files, broke out my Greek lexicon and went to work. And what I discovered, I think, provides a bit of insight into our current political situation.
Here for you, for the first time translated into English, is the manuscript I found, entitled, Things Jesus didn’t say.
Things Jesus didn’t say:
”Love your friends, bless those who bless you … and screw everybody else.”
“If you had the faith of this mustard seed … you wouldn’t need all that fancy ‘affordable health care.’”
“Blessed are the racists, for they will rise to great heights in the new administration.”
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? I mean, look at all these liberals, and their un-Christian ‘caring for widows, orphans, and the stranger.’ Why can’t they care about Christian stuff, like the 2nd amendment or school prayer?”
“Go, sell all you have and give it to the richest one percent.”
“Blessed are those who hate immigrants in my name, for they shall inherit all the jobs white people don’t want to do.”
“Follow me and I will make you fishers of … people who look just like you.”
“Give unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and give unto God only what you can’t hide on your 1040.”
“Let the little children come to me … unless they’re in Head Start or need help with school lunches, then cast them out into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of their tiny little teeth.”
“Come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden … and I will make sure you have no union to watch over you.”
“Go ye therefore into all the world … and make sure everybody hates Muslims. Because obviously.”
“My God, my God, why do women not see that men should have the last word about what they do with their bodies?”
“You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery, but I say to you … unless she’s a lot younger, prettier (like a model or whatever), and you’ve had enough foresight to sign a prenup.’”
“You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, but I say to you … what the hell? They’ve got it coming.’”
”You have heard it said that healthcare should be a right for everyone, but I say to you, ‘If you can store up for yourselves another new Benz, even though it comes from money meant for poor people’s chemotherapy, then you should totally do it.’”
“You cannot serve God and mammon … which is why it was important to have the Supreme Court rule favorably in Citizens United. Helps us keep to keep who’s who straight.”
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven … but if you have a suitably large investment portfolio, that definitely won’t hurt.”
“If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.” (Marginalia—“This only applies to People of Color and women in abusive relationships.”)
“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but I say to you … just kidding. That’s for suckers!”
“And I, when I am lifted up, will draw all straight, cisgender, middle class white guys unto myself.”
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep … except refugees. They definitely do not count.”
“So therefore , none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” (Wait. Actually, he did say that, but he probably shouldn’t have.)