It is the height of irony that FOX News and the conservative right wing consider themselves the guardians of Christmas tradition. From all that was allowed to be published regarding Jesus, there is no evidence that Jesus was anything but a liberal pacifist. Thus, the war for Christmas perpetrated by the right would be anathema to Jesus.
I have long dismissed the notion of Jesus Christ as a God or even a relative, and relegated him to the same status I reserve for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Nevertheless, his human traits as portrayed by the bible are truly admirable.
What I find baffling is how a social right-wing conservative can claim to be a Christian at all. The same people who want to keep the manger scene at a Texas City Hall are the first to decry wasteful government spending. The same people who loudly and self-righteously profess Jesus as their savior—the same Jesus who said, “do not judge, lest you be judged”—have large websites dedicated to the hatred and judgment of everyone from Muslims to gays and everything in between that does not fit their paradigm of a good Christian.
Don’t get me wrong, many Christians are very good people who do not engage in this hatred and are offended by the hypocrisy shown by their alleged fellow believers. The problem is that the right-wing Christian is now the poster child for the religion. Polling shows it is they who dominate the belief system of religion in this country and their evangelical desire for conformity has permeated every political issue from taxes to who gets social services in this country.
Jesus, on the other hand, was very clear about the separation of church and state; “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
His views on the poor were pretty straightforward and indisputably liberal—one might even call them socialist. The only signs of him having a temper were exhibited against the Wall Street crowd of his day, the money changers whom it is said he chased out of the temple and warned people to be on their guard against greed. In manner, dress and attitude he would have been very comfortable with the Occupy San Jose folks who were evicted from City Hall.
But the best legacy—and best political policy—he advanced was the simple notion that one should “love thy neighbor as yourself” and “do to others as you would have them do to you”.
As a philosophy, that is worth celebrating. It is the same philosophy that allowed Martin Luther King, Jr., Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez, Bishop Tutu, and many other liberal icons to be the symbols of freedom in their respective societies.