Axelrod, Jesus, and the Cognitive Dissonance of American Politics and Religion

I'm a preacher's daughter. When you grow up next door to where your dad works, and when he works from home a lot, and when you work in the church a lot--loading the communion trays, ditto-ing and folding bulletins, choir practice, the quotidian tasks of a church mouse--you can say you've been "baptized," "washed in the blood," as it were. Every part of my life was honest-to-god Christian. Poster-family quality. It was great. Until I figured out that some people who also said they were Christian were very mean and hurtful, for no reason I could discern.

1954 Mtn. Grove, Missouri. On the way home from Cabool one night after the movies, we rounded a curve and came upon a wreck. It was pitch dark, and we couldn't see much, but Daddy pulled over. He told us to stay in the car, and ran to the wreck to see what he could do. It seemed like a long time before a state patrol car came along, while we sat paralyzed with dread. My first real tragedy. I later learned that it was truly a tragedy for my father--one of the little boys in the wreck died in his arms, and it may have been the first time I saw my father cry. He was a real life example of a Good Samaritan.

Daddy grew up on a farm, so he was pragmatic about most things--hunted, fished, comfortable with the laws of Nature. But he had a soft spot in his heart, which helped me create an impression of THE Jesus. A man who cared about other people to the point of taking on suffering himself. Who helped others.

At the very same time, this was NOT what I saw some folks doing. Like the whole damn state of Arkansas threatening a few young people who actually WANTED to go to school to learn and grow. I couldn't see Jesus standing on the steps to the school spitting on any child, red, yellow, black or white. Because I learned in Bible School that we are all precious in his sight. Is this not the perfect Jesus all Xtians believe in?

As I grew older, and learned more about the stories and musings behind the daily structure, I found my dad's text from divinity school for New Testament Greek. In Greek. Aha. Coupled (literally) with my mom's influence with words, this propelled me into researching the general topic of religion, especially other peoples' religions. After years of study and reflection, I still believe that Jesus was a man to emulate according to the teachings we've received, no matter how shaky. I have believed since I was around 15, that Buddha and Allah and God are pretty much the same idea, with Jesus, Mohammed, and Zarathustra as the comm link, all swirled around with various colors and flavors of the Holy Ghost, ghospodi, spiritum sanctum, cavorting in Valhalla, Paradise, a sunny beach in Mexico.

Which brings me to what set off this rant. David Axelrod in an interview with someone from the WaPo. Thinking that he is just the person to be where he is right now. Kinda reminds me of Bill Moyers back when he was in politics, LBJ's press secretary, et al. Bill has that Jesus/Buddha-like quality of calm, open-minded reason, willing to do the heavy lifting into researching and reporting the truth. David Axelrod speaks the truth. I think the new administration in general is speaking the truth. Time to act more like Jesus and less like the obliterating Old Testament God of Hate that some self-styled "Christians" like our former VP and other twists to their own ends. It's a hard parallel to make, but it's stunning how politics has become so in service of a wrathful deity to practically self-immolate. At the least, to polarize politics right along with this Christian dichotomy of cognitive dissonance. At least in Hinduism, there is a pantheon of gods and goddesses to more closely mirror the human condition. Even the duality of Buddhism is a cyclical reminder that we are all one, it's all connected.

However, the destructive example of Christianity found in this country doesn't look that different to me than that of Sunni vs. Shi'ia--similar ideology--my god's better than your god, and I'm going to kill you. We're better than that.

Not an especially Christian thing to say. On the other hand, I don't advocate bombing, starving, torturing, or surrounding them with that wretched depleted uranium, or giving all the money to buddies instead of the people who it's supposed to help. I do wish that people would stop listening to them and putting any kind of Jesus-loving link to what they're saying. Jesus is better than that. Don't feed the animals.