Some Christian churches observe a near-month-long preparation for Christmas known as the Advent season, but its origins are not Bible-based and not well understood. Advent traces back to the Middle Ages when some Christians thought Jesus’s return was imminent, explains Rev. Howard Bess.
The prevailing view on Fox News is that everyone in America, regardless of his or her religious beliefs, must join in the lavish and lengthy celebration of the birth of Jesus – or be accused of warring on Christmas. But the real assault on Jesus’s teaching comes from gross materialism, says Lawrence S. Wittner.
From the Archive: In the month-long (or even longer) “Christmas season,” there is much faux outrage from Fox News and the Right about a “war on Christmas,” even as public places are adorned with Christmas decorations and Christmas music fills the air, as Robert Parry noted in 2005.
An irony of modern politics is that many conservative Americans view themselves as devout believers in the Bible yet they ascribe to right-wing, dog-eat-dog economic theories that Jesus and other Biblical figures would condemn. The contradiction has pushed Biblical economics out of mainstream debate, says Rev. Howard Bess.
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.
Republican vice presidential choice Paul Ryan calls himself a devout Catholic, but his right-wing politics would divert more wealth to the rich at the expense of the poor, the opposite of both the teachings of Jesus and the recommendations of the Vatican, notes Catholic ethicist Daniel C. Maguire.
Exclusive: A Russian judge has sentenced three female “punk” rockers from the group “Pussy Riot” to two years in prison for performing a protest song at a Moscow cathedral, what the judge called anti-religious “hooliganism.” But Ray McGovern sees the protest as in the spirit of Mary, mother of Jesus.
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.