Sunday, November 27, 2005

How would Jesus guide public policy?

Saturday's San Francisco Chronicle carried a letter to the editor, responding to the question posed to Governor Schwarzenegger, "What would Jesus do about clemency for the convicted murderer, Stanley Tookie Williams, who is scheduled to be executed on 2005-12-13?" The writer asks back a few questions:

  • What would Jesus do regarding the killing of the unborn?
  • What would he do regarding same-sex marriages?
  • What would he do about legalizing marijuana?
  • What would he do about prayer in school?
  • What would Jesus do about removing his name from the Dec. 25 holiday?
I think it's fair to say that in general Jesus would disapprove of killing the unborn. Whether Jesus would support outlawing abortion entirely is a more complicated question, though.

Regarding same-sex marriage, I will repeat here in this blog every single comment that Jesus himself made about homosexuality, according to the Bible. Are you ready? Here we go.... There, we're done. Did you miss it? I'll say it again: . That's right, Jesus never said a single thing about homosexuality. Kinda makes you wonder why his supposed followers are so hung up about the issue.

Jesus also never said a single word about marijuana, but he didn't seem to have a problem with wine, and it is abundantly clear that alcohol is a greater danger to society than marijuana, so I think it is fair to say that Jesus would favor immediate full legalization, not just medical use.

Prayer in school has always struck me as being hypocritical. When I was in fourth grade (in Dallas, Texas, the same year as the Roe v. Wade decision), my teacher, Mrs. Katie Brittain, led the class in compulsory prayer and Bible readings, even though the Supreme Court had outlawed them when I was still in diapers. I was a Christian, and the prayers were Christian, but they weren't quite the same "flavor" of Christian. I was very uncomfortable with being compelled to say a prayer that was not in accord with my family's religious beliefs — and that's before we talk about the Jewish kids in the class. The final word on Jesus' position, though, should be clear from Matthew 6:5–6. Jesus comes down emphatically opposed to school prayer.

As for the festival of December 25th, it started as a celebration of the winter solstice, the Saturnalia, and Mithra, the Persian god of light. Some time around the 4th century, Christians hijacked the holiday and slapped a meager veneer of Christian symbolism over it. Most of the trappings — Christmas tree, Christmas ham, deck the holly, and under the mistletoe — had their origins in the pagan celebrations of the solstice, known by the familiar name of Yule. Thus, I think it's clear to say that Jesus would want his name removed from a pagan holiday that has very little to do with his ministry.

Any more questions you want me to answer on Jesus' behalf?