This story was written by Erin Lord, Dakota Student
I think Bill O'Reilly just pooped his pants. Before you send your hate mail, hear me out. Did Jesus' behavior model Vladimir Lenin or Joseph Stalin? No, of course not. But he was a communist in theory.
He believed in a classless society. In the Gospel of Luke, he criticizes the well-to-do for giving a small fraction of their wealth, while praising a poor widow who gave all she had.
He wanted the upper class and the lower class to move towards each other. Somehow this philosophy has been lost through the ages.
It has been transformed to meet our current agenda, and it has been disfigured to serve our own selfish purposes.
How did we go from "selling everything we own and following Jesus" (Luke 18:22-23) to our current American Jesus philosophy?
We often view contemporary Christians as the fried chicken eatin', flag wavin', country music listenin', war supportin' type. It is unnerving that many think "Christian" is synonymous with "American" or even more accurately, "Republican."
The current Republican philosophy and the true Christian philosophy do not have much in common in reality. Jesus certainly did not advocate the death penalty, was anti-war, and I would have to imagine he would be more liberal than conservative in regards to social programs.
The main objection to the Christian Democrat is the abortion issue. In all reality, there are very few people who are pro-abortion. Abortion is rarely argued to be a good method of birth control. The argument lies in government control more so than morality.
The issue of the American Jesus extends far past party politics though.
I have no bias towards either party. It just so happens that the Democratic party is becoming increasingly secular while the Republican party is holding tight onto their beliefs, so many non-Christians mix up Christian philosophy with Republican philosophy.
The main concern is how we are using Christian ideals to promote Democracy. How on earth is Democracy a Christian construct?
It is primarily a self-serving government, ranking the individual above all. Jesus does not rank the individual above all; he was always challenging his followers to put God and their neighbors first and suppress their own selfish desires.
When Jefferson wrote the preamble for the Declaration of Independence, he included God, but I cannot help but think that he missed the boat when it came to real Christian principles.
Jefferson's famous line is, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
If Jesus were to write the preamble to the Declaration (which is a humorous idea on its own accord), it would probably sound more like, "I hold this truth to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by my Father with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are to be able to love your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to be able to love your neighbor as yourself.
This may sound familiar. It is the main philosophy of Jesus Christ. This is not the same philosophy as Democracy.
Democracy offers the individual the ability to "be anything they want to be" and the "pursuit of happiness," but it offers no guarantee of giving you the ability to promote the happiness of your neighbor, the cohesion of society, or the equitable distribution of goods.
Our country says, "go ahead, help yourself," not "put the needs of others before your own."
In order to salvage th true principles of Christianity, we must recognize that Democracy is not always Christian.
But is there a way to reconcile these diverging philosophies? I think so, and I think it can start in North Dakota.
As a primarily Christian, Republican state, we go against the Christian stereotype many non-Christians have created.
We have a cohesive culture that helps our neighbors.
We say hello to strangers we pass on the sidewalk, we help our second-cousin's friend move and we stop to assist a helpless grandma in changing a flat. Our culture could change the face of the devout Christian. We must move past the bigotry and calmly assert our values. We just cannot use Christian values to promote unjust party politics.