Thursday, March 20, 2008

Another ally in my Quaker War, Arthur Silber

According to Limbaugh, Wright's condemnation of the white ruling class's numerous, brutal and unending sins and oppressions has nothing to do with "true" religion.For "true" religion, according to Limbaugh, is all about love, and sweetness, and making goo-goo eyes at everyone. "True" religion is /nice/, and bland to a degree that renders religion offensive to precisely no one. "True" religion is utterly unthreatening. It shouldn't upset anyone, but offer only comfort and succor.I would suggest that all this would come as a considerable shock to one Jesus Christ. I don't care in the least whether you think Jesus was the Son of God, or the weird guy from that little village over there, or an actual historical figure. I'm talking about the /actual/ essence of the story of Jesus as that story has come down to us. /In fact/, the Jesus of that story challenged every aspect of the behavior and thought of the ruling class of his time. He condemned that ruling class in stark and notably /un/forgiving terms. He was threatening to the powerful of his time to a degree that the powerful found intolerable.You might recall that the threat Jesus represented to the powerful elites of his time was so extreme that they killed him because of it. But in a pattern that is repeated over and over again throughout history, the ruling class found a very clever way to disembowel the threat Jesus represented, once they had disemboweled the individual in question. The ruling class appropriated the religion he had preached, purged it of each and every element that criticized them, and repackaged it as a bland, easily digestible pablum. They then pretended this tasteless, empty, sentimentalized religion was what Jesus had offered all along. And many people fell for it. (I note that the identical appropriation occurred with Martin Luther King, who also had been a dangerously threatening revolutionary figure. But for us today, King has been mainstreamed in a manner that I think King himself would have condemned in terms that most Americans would find as upsetting as Wright's statements. The King who is regularly appealed to by every mainstream commentator, of right and left, bears not a single significant point of correspondence to the statements and actions of the King who actually lived, until he too was eliminated because he was too profoundly threatening to the ruling class. For another example of this kind of appropriation by the powerful, see the general discussion of the profound changes in Christianity itself and of Augustine's role in that transformation, in "Of Abortion, and Women as the Ultimate Source of Evil <http://powerofnarra tive.blogspot. com/2007/ 08/of-abortion- and-women- as-ultimate. html>.")In brief: Jesus would recognize Wright (and certainly King), and see them as fighting the same battles that he himself fought. Jesus would also see Limbaugh very clearly, just as he would take the measure of many liberals who are running away from the full import of Wright's views as fast as their little accommodationist legs will carry them. I don't imagine that Jesus would offer much in the way of sweetness and succor to the Limbaughs of our time, just as I find it difficult to see Jesus exchanging mash notes with today's Vichy liberals and making goo-goo eyes at them.And we will crucify Jeremiah Wright, won't we? I suppose it's a marginal improvement that we only do it figuratively now -- except, to be sure, when we destroy entire nations and peoples in the pursuit of our fundamentalist religion /of state/ <http://powerofnarra tive.blogspot. com/2008/ 03/over-one- million-murdered -and-nothing. html>. In any case, Wright is about to retire, so it doesn't matter all that much -- right, Senator Obama? Moral cowardice, endless oppression of the weak and comparatively powerless, and brutal violence unleashed against those who are disfavored are the constants of humanity's history, stretching back through the blood-soaked centuries. These are our specialties, and we will not surrender them.So we conclude our short sermon. I do hope it contained enough sweetness to sustain you until dinner. And I surely would not wish to offend anyone at all.Surely not./posted by Arthur Silber at 11:15 AM


Blogger Ned Netterville said...

Geez, John, I wish I'd said that! If Obamamama had integrity, he'd propose Jeremiah Wright for chaplain of the House and Senate. Ned

2:28 PM  

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