Stephen Colbert v. Jesus-hijacking

Jesus and the poor

It annoys me whenever Jesus is used as a talking point in politics by people who water down or misrepresent the Bible’s take on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. I call that Jesus hijacking, or putting Jesus in a narrow political column that happens to be your own. So when I saw Stephen Colbert’s “Jesus is a Liberal Democrat” video posted on facebook, I passed it by out of that same annoyance.

But when the video popped up 30 times on facebook amongst my friends, I can come to one of three conclusions.

  1. It’s an awesome video that hits on many points.
  2. A disproportionate number of my friends are liberals.
  3. All of the above.

Well, regardless, for the 13 of you who haven’t seen the video, here it is. He is primarily responding to Bill O’Reilly’s assertion that:

Being a Christian, I know that while Jesus promoted charity at the highest level, he was not self-destructive.

Uh…and where exactly did Jesus end his earthly ministry but on a cross? That’s not self-destructive? Really?

If you can suspend offense at the conservative bashing and skip over Colbert’s comments on Ben Franklin’s indiscretions at 1:55, it’s got some great points to ponder. Check it out:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jesus Is a Liberal Democrat
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog March to Keep Fear Alive

When I watched it, I expected typical liberal boilerplate but in the act of claiming Jesus is of one political party, Colbert satirizes the attempts by all sides to misrepresent Christ’s calls to serve the poor. Would Jesus be a Liberal Democrat? Of course not, that’s just polarizing comments to sell entertainment. By hijacking Jesus to be of one party, he exposes how ridiculous such a thing is and calls us to move beyond partisan politics to actually serve the poor.

Here’s Colbert’s closing paragraph:

But if this is going to be a Christian Nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition…and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.

Ouch. A reminder to us all to not water down Jesus’ calls to serve others in our own contexts, regardless of our politics.


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  1. says

    Just like with anything, most people can’t look past the “who” of what is being said. Since Stephen said it, many people will feel, then it must be wrong, twisted and/or un-American.

    I’d love to show this at a study group and see what happens. Stay blessed…john

  2. chris says

    I don’t think we can know what Jesus would do if put in charge of a government. I always thought of Jesus as completely ambivalent. (from Disciple, maybe?) From the O’Reilly side, we can say that Jesus never demanded that the Roman government do anything. He demanded that *people* do something. From the Colbert side, of course Jesus sounds like a liberal. He was just talking to individuals and not governments.

    Many times conservatives are excessively harsh to the poor, but at the same time, liberals try to shed their personal responsibility and put it on the government instead. The church, and Christians as individuals, need to stop asking Congress to help the poor and start doing it ourselves.

  3. Micah says

    “Has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to those who love him?” James 2:5

    Jesus will BE the government. He will reign forever as the Almighty King, and those who are humble will be exalted in His Kingdom.

  4. Charlotte Conley says

    In character or not, I think that that final phrase really hits the ‘nail on the head’. In biblical times all the way through the end of the New Testament seeing to the needs of the poor was squarely on the backs of anyone in a covenant with Yahweh, and that includes ALL Abraham’s children, Jews and Muslims included. As a passionate follower of King of Kings, I feel that the hateful, selfish words that pour out of the mouths of so many conservative Christians shame us ALL. In His words and actions Jesus admonished us never to forget the poor and afflicted, saying, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Clearly Jesus commands, and expects us to lend a helping hand to those in need. I just don’t understand how so many brothers and sisters in Christ can simply plug their ears and turn their backs on something so very close to the heart of God.

  5. Feloneouscat says

    Considering Republicans have halted SNAP which provided food for the poor, I think Jesus can not be considered part of the GOP.

    When conservatives get back to the central theme of the New Testament, we can talk.

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