From the Archive: Christian conservatives are cheering Mitt Romney’s attack on a 14-year-old comment by Barack Obama endorsing a limited “redistribution” of wealth, but they ignore that Jesus called for a far more radical wealth redistribution – and it may have led to his crucifixion, as Rev. Howard Bess wrote in 2011.
Popular psychology, in discussing self-love, sometimes references Jesus’s edict to “love your neighbor as yourself,” noting that you can’t love others unless you love yourself. But Rev. Howard Bess sees that logic as missing what Jesus meant when he talked about love.
Many Christians claim a personal relationship with Jesus but show little regard for his commandments to serve the poor and love thy neighbor. Some conceal these contradictions by narrowing the definition of “neighbor,” as Rev. Howard Bess explains.
Some of our special stories in June focused on the misguided framing of Campaign 2012, continued misreporting on Iran’s nuclear program, the misunderstood history of Watergate, and mistaken beliefs about human nature.
Recent historical discoveries about northern Palestine of two millennia ago reveal how radical Jesus’s message was, what risks he was asking his followers to take, and why he was arrested and crucified as an insurrectionist when he ventured south to Jerusalem, says Rev. Howard Bess.
Some of our special stories in May focused on the moral ambiguity of killing “terrorists,” the troubling role of religion in fomenting violence, the start of President Obama’s reelection campaign, and correcting historical distortions both old and new.
If the teachings of Jesus were really taken seriously, the Christian Right wouldn’t be devoting so much time to protecting the wealth of the wealthiest. True Christians would be demanding redistribution of the world’s riches in ways far more radical than modern politicians would dare propose, as Rev. Howard Bess explains.
Religious fundamentalists object to same-sex marriage as a violation of Biblical standards. But the actual Biblical marriage standards treat women as chattel and let men have multiple wives, along with concubines and sex-slaves, an inconvenient truth that Rev. Howard Bess notes.
In reshaping American politics and society, the Christian Right has applied a distorted version of Jesus’s teachings, downplaying his pacifism and his contempt for wealth while emphasizing later revisions that didn’t threaten the powerful. That’s why Rev. Howard Bess says the search for the true Jesus is crucial.
Some special stories in March demonstrated our unique brand of investigative journalism, bringing historical context to current events. Stories included White House secrets on the sabotage of Vietnam peace talks, realization that Campaign 2012 may turn on old myths about Iran, the legal battle over health-care reform and more.