The Gospel according to Bernie, and Colbert

We commit to the mental gymnastics necessary that allows us to abandon the least of these, to abandon the poor, to abandon the immigrants, to abandon those who are in prison.

bernie-sanders-3Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is running for the Democratic nomination for President, recently spoke at Liberty University, “the very conservative, very Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia,” once the headquarters for the very outspoken Rev. Jerry Falwell.

An evangelical responds to his speech, a graduate of Liberty University, who worked on the presidential campaign for George W. Bush in 2004. He compares Bernie to John the Baptist.

He was convicting the Christian leaders and the religious leaders in that university, and calling us out for being complicit in the abandonment of those who suffer, the least of these, and siding with the powerful and rich, the masters of this world. And he was convicting us and calling us out, and we scorned him, and we stared him down; and, with sour faces, we thought, “Who is this wacko, and why do all these people seem to follow him, seem to like him – this wild-haired Jew, crying out from the wilderness of the political left, in his hoarse voice?”…

And lightning hit my heart at that moment. And I realized that we are evangelical Christians. We believe the Bible. We believe in Jesus. We absolutely shun those who would attempt to find nuance and twisted and tortured interpretations of scripture that they would use to master all other broader interpretations, to find some kind of big message that they want to flout. We absolutely scorn such things, and yet somehow we commit to the mental gymnastics necessary that allows us to abandon the least of these, to abandon the poor, to abandon the immigrants, to abandon those who are in prison.

The very idea of evangelical Christians realizing that income inequality, for instance, is not a liberal position or a conservative position, but a fundamental Christian one, pleases me greatly. Perhaps Bernie Sanders IS the Christian candidate.

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade had degrading words for Pope Francis while talking with Chris Wallace. “Yeah, I’m Catholic and he could stay home. Some of his comments just have no place. He’s in the wrong country…” The part that is on the audio, but not quoted in print is this sentence: “Capitalism is our savior.” Or should it be “Capitalism is our Savior”?

While never a great fan of Stephen Colbert – the “conservative pundit” shtick bored me sooner than it did my friend Alan David Doane – I was interested in the cultural folderol around the late-night programs in general, and specifically, him taking over the CBS Late Night Show for David Letterman. I did think the Joe Biden interview from the third show was more satisfying than the uncut version online.

The recent item I found most interesting about Colbert, though is Stephen Colbert – Witness. “In this rare, personal interview with Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, Stephen Colbert tells all” about his Catholic faith. It’s cued to his observations about Communion, at about 35 minutes. Earlier, c. 22 minutes in, he explains why he believes Jesus must have laughed; Wile E. Coyote is namechecked. I found the whole piece surprisingly moving, as it shows the depth of Colbert’s theological knowledge.
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Donald Trump Makes Up Bogus Bible Quote To Impress Gullible Christians.