Monday, October 15, 2007

The Beatitudes

Blessed are the poor (for yours is the kingdom of God.)
Blessed are the poor in spirit (for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.)
Blessed are they that mourn (for they shall be comforted)
Blessed are ye that weep now: (for ye shall laugh.)
Blessed are the meek (for they shall inherit the earth)
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness (for they shall be filled).
Blessed are ye that hunger now (for ye shall be filled).
Blessed are the merciful (for they shall obtain mercy.)
Blessed are the pure in heart (for they shall see God)
Blessed are the
peacemakers (for they shall be called the children of God)
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake (for theirs is the kingdom of heaven)
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake (Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.)

In the late Kurt Vonnegut's article, "Cold Turkey", Vonnegut notices that our current christain-based presidential administration hardly could be seen to embrace the teachings of Christ, the Beatitudes. He says the Beatitudes are, "Not exactly planks in a Republican platform. Not exactly Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney stuff." For all the talk of posting the 10 commandments in school rooms and courthouses, Kurt has never seen the same furvor towards the Beatitudes.

The bulk of organized Christianity (sans the Quakers and the few progressive progressive wings of denominations), especially those who are active in the culture wars from the right, ignore the Beatitudes. The will exercise more the more hail and brimstone parts of Deuteronomy or Leviticus and choose to interpret passages in the most demeaning and judgemental way. How is any of this consistant with the Beatitudes, the very teachings of Jesus? This current administration and the republican can hardly be described as being meek, instead they approach their sense of certainty with not a shread of humility.

For all the claims of this country being Christain-based, we are most certainly a country who don't like to be bothered by the actual teachings of Christ. Gays and Lesbians have long been persecuted in the name of Christ and the poor have been maligned and blamed. All that are blessed are the weak and maligned in society and this is backed up by Christ's actions.

I am looking for a religious faith to follow that reflects the real values of Christ: anti-greed, anti-hypocracy, anti-war, pro-equality, anti-death penalty, pro-poor, pro-weak, pro-civil and human rights, and resists the literal translation of the bible. If none exist, I may have to start my own church.

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