Easter week reflections inspired by a rusted van
The back door of the rusted Dodge van was home to several bumper stickers; most were of a New Age and ecological nature. Of course there was the usual – “Commit Random Acts of Kindness,” “Keep the wilderness wild” and “Visualize using your turn signal” – but in the lower left corner, covered with dirt and barely readable, was the one that stopped me short: “Who would Jesus bomb?” I’m of the opinion that often bumper stickers are an inexpensive way to make yourself feel better about doing nothing in support of a cause you believe in. For instance, if everyone who sported a sticker reading “Support our troops” did in fact support our troops, perhaps our soldiers and sailors would be better equipped and family members left at home would be better subsidized. Some bumper-declarations are harmless. I have no problems with “My child is an honor student,” “My child beat up your honor student” or “My poodle is smarter than your child who is an honor student” (also on the van’s door). Those boasts are harmless and healthy examples of child and pet owners displaying their pride. Though I don’t have any vehicle stickers myself, I do love to check out the on-bumper-philosophies of those who I encounter on our roads and parking lots. Usually, I get a quick dose of humor or disgust and move on.
But when I came upon the “Who would Jesus bomb?” at first I dismissed the sticker as the ravings of a Monday-morning quarterback who asks many questions yet provides no answers. But upon further reflection, the sentiment struck me as worthy of attention. Also, I asked myself who would Jesus torture, execute, deport or deny the right to marry? I’m fairly certain the answer would be, “No one.” This might sound naïve, but up to now I hadn’t looked at America’s national and foreign policy though the eyes of the Messiah. It is rather obvious that neither have our leaders. It seems that the lion’s share of our elected officials who present themselves as Christians do not ask themselves that very question, “Who would Jesus bomb?” What is more surprising is that in a nation where almost 70 percent also consider themselves “believers” don’t also ask themselves, “Is this country practicing what we preach?” I’m not so innocent to believe that we can run our nation in accordance with the teachings of the Messiah.
We would have free health care, astronomical social service costs, and the young, poor, elderly and neediest would be cared for. Despite what we might save on our national defense budget, it is likely we would have a multi-trillion dollar national debt. (OK, so we have that already.) If governing in accordance with the Savior’s teachings would prevent us from waging war, the various Gospels seem to open the doors of debate. If you are so inclined, you can come to your conclusion of choice just by sifting through the Testaments, Old and New. I actually had a buddy, an amateur Bible scholar, tell me that, in terms of war, the “Good Book” forbids murder but allows for killing. I’m not sure, but I think that is in the “don’t eat the shellfish” section of Leviticus. Though I’ve had 12 years of religious education, much of the Good Book is still a mystery to me. But since Jesus was only preaching for a few short years, even those of us with ADD can capture the gist of his message: Love, peace, kindness and compassion. “Who would Jesus, Buddha, and Gandhi or Martin Luther King bomb?”
Granted, there have been times in history when force was needed to protect peace and security. I can think of a few conflicts that might have saved more lives than they extinguished. Perhaps there have been wars that even the prophets would endorse. It is unfortunate there are none around to ask. Now admittedly, I’m just some media hack with plenty of sins and poor spelling, but during this most holy of weeks, of the faith in which I was raised, I’d suggest we all ask ourselves that spiritual question that was posed on that rusty van. And when we have done that, let us all consider, who’s smarter: the poodle or the honor student?Jeffrey Bergeron under the alias of Biff America can be seen on RSN, heard on KOA radio, and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or at Backcountrymagazine.com .
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