Friday, February 27, 2004

From The Political Review, June 13, 2004

Exclusive Interview with Independent Candidate for President, Jesus
By Randall Cliffordstein

Of course, the story of Professor Finklemeyer’s time machine extraction of Jesus is well known to anyone on the planet with any exposure to any kind of media and certainly doesn’t need to be repeated here. The story of Finklemeyer’s tragic and untimely demise is also well known. His tampering with time only worked once before his machine malfunctioned and was destroyed along with his entire lab, thus destroying the designs and formulas necessary for time travel. But Jesus is still with us, much removed from his world in first century Judea and yet he is settling in quite well.

In fact, he has thrown the country into further uproar in last two weeks by way of his candidacy for the presidency, which he can now pursue thanks to the quickly passed twenty-eighth amendment allowing foreign born citizens to become president. Jesus became a citizen of the United States by way of a lighting fast expedited process spearheaded by President Bush (though we must wonder if he would have done that had he known that Jesus would run against him). With most of the people in the country declared Christians, Christ himself would seem to be a very formidable candidate with a built-in base of those who are especially devout. The only one who can be seen to benefit from this initially is Senator John Kerry, who was never counting on the devout to put him into the White House to begin with, but there is a catch. Jesus has some rather controversial views on a wide variety of topics that may not engender voter enthusiasm from many Americans.

I was fortunate enough to get the first exclusive interview with the candidate to talk about the issues of the day and to ask him how a Jesus presidency would approach the many problems facing our nation today. He was as clear as he could be, as he doesn’t have great experience with our language yet, and very forthright. The question is will this forthrightness gain him more votes or less? Would he be better off shutting his mouth and running a front-porch campaign? I’ll let the reader decide, but even George Washington’s popularity went down some after he entered politics and started taking positions on matters publicly.

RC: Hello Mr. Jesus, do you mind if I call you Mr. Jesus?
JC: Please, umm, call me Christ.
RC: Ok, Mr. Christ. Well I think the first thing people want to know is why are you running for the presidency?
JC: I am the son of God. God’s word must be that which people live by, not the word of man.
RC: And you don’t think President Bush governs by the word of God?
JC: No, from what I see he violates God’s word in a great many areas, he swears oaths to the word of men as opposed to that of God, my father.
RC: Wouldn’t you, as president, have to take an oath to uphold the constitution as well?
JC: Maybe, as a formality, but should it conflict with the word of God, my father, then I have no doubt which I will choose.
RC: God’s?
JC: My father’s, yes.
RC: Oh, well, um, moving on. What do you think, Mr. Christ, …
JC: Think not, I’ve no need to think, one should live by the word of God alone. What thinking does one’s heart do? What thinking does one need with the word of God?
RC: Umm, I don’t know, none I would assume. So what is ahhh, what is God’s word on the subject of taxation and the rich? Should they be taxed more or less?
JC: This came up in Judea as well; I care not how much anyone is taxed. Should one care about such things they will never be welcome in the kingdom of God. I used to tell my disciples that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
RC: So then, would you tell rich men to give up their wealth or people in general to not strive for wealth?
JC: I’ve always told those with things to sell off all they have and then distribute the money to the poor, that way they will sit with me at the seat of power on the right hand of God. Also, those who try to be the best will only make themselves the inferior to all and the servant of all. All should repent as the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
RC: What do you mean by that exactly?
JC: God will come to judge the world, those who are sinners will be cast to hell and those who have followed me shall be saved.
RC: Let’s move on from that, how would a President Jesus fight the war on terrorism?
JC: Fight a war? Hah! I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do well for those who hate you, and pray for all those who persecute or misuse you. Remember, the peacemakers are blessed, for they are the children of God, those who make war shall burn.
RC: So you wouldn’t fight the terrorists?
JC: Do not resist evil, if someone strikes your right cheek; turn to him your other.
RC: But what about those among the American people who want to be able to live in safety and not be killed by terrorists?
JC: Those who love life will only lose it while those who despise their lives in this world will live forever.
RC: So you are essentially saying that we ought not to fight the terrorists and should despise our lives on Earth?
JC: Yes, that’s what I’m saying.
RC: You’re not concerned that this position will cause people to not vote for you?
JC: Those who don’t follow me are not worthy of me.
RC: That’s a pretty elitist attitude isn’t it?
JC: I am the son of God.
RC: Oh, yes, umm, it’s been a practice here to always ask, what would Jesus do? So, in the interest of answering some of these questions, would you drive a sport utility vehicle? Perhaps I should ask if you’ve had time to learn what that is exactly?
JC: Yes, I’ve become all too familiar with your automobiles. I would not drive any of them or own any of them, such a waste of money which could go to the poor. To own one would be to hoard from your brothers and sisters, that is not acceptable.
RC: Yes, I suppose that is consistent. So how would the good Jesus deal with homosexual marriages?
JC: None are good, not even me. Only one is good, and that one is God. I would do nothing about homosexual marriages. People who get married are obviously concerned about this worldly, I think you call this secular, happiness when the kingdom of heaven is at hand. All who do this are foolish and will not sit at the seat of power when God comes to judge.
RC: That’s a, well, interesting view of things. This may be getting redundant, but we have a problem here with lawsuits, healthcare, things of that nature. What would President Jesus do about frivolous lawsuits?
JC: I say that if any man sues you to take away your money, let him have your home and other possessions as well. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, all of these possessions are useless anyway.
RC: So your position is that whoever sues you, merit or no merit, let him have what he wants and even give him more?
JC: Yes.
RC: I’d like to go back to something you said earlier. You said, “Those who don’t follow me are not worthy of me.”
JC: Yes, I did.
RC: So how would you characterize someone who is “worthy” of you?
JC: He that follows me, or he that gives his life for my sake are those who will be rewarded.
RC: By “gives his life for my sake,” what exactly do you mean?
JC: I mean, he that sacrifices himself for me is worthy, those who don’t shall pay, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
RC: Interesting. Have you had time to look at other religions while you’ve been here?
JC: Yes, I’ve looked at them, including the ones that claim to follow me which I think are all illegitimate, the kingdom of heaven is at hand and people set up palaces of money devoted to me? It is the ultimate insult.
RC: So what do you think of religions carried by the sword, like Islam? As opposed to your creed which you bring in peace?
JC: You shouldn’t think that I’m on Earth to send or bring peace; I’ve come with a sword, not an olive branch.
RC: What do you mean by that?
JC: I am here to set men against one another and to choose between me and anyone else they might wish to follow. If one loves their parents more than me then they aren’t worthy and if one loves their children more than me they also are not worthy.
RC: This would seem to break up families which might not agree about your words.
JC: They are not my words, but the words of God, and if they aren’t accepted by all then the resulting separations are necessary for these family members will be separated in the final judgment.
RC: So what does one gain by believing you, aside from being saved in this “final judgment” you say is imminent?
JC: All things are possible to those who believe.
RC: What does that mean?
JC: Only those who believe will know what it means and they don’t have to ask.
RC: Isn’t that a bit circular?
JC: Do you think you can out-reason God?
RC: Well, no offense, but I’m not sure you speak for God, assuming there is one.
JC: This interview is over.

He seemed affable enough during the interview, but obviously some of his views are quite controversial. It is clear that if it were anyone but Jesus, most people would consider the talk, of being the son of God and the coming “kingdom of heaven,” the ravings of a lunatic. Certainly his solution to the current terrorist problem, which is to do nothing, seems, at best, idiotic. And his economic policy, which consists of rich people, or anyone with any possessions, selling all they have and giving the proceeds to the poor, is what can be described as egalitarian and altruistic in the utmost extreme. Unless you are poor, in which case it is in your selfish interest to support Jesus, which is an odd paradox. It would seem safe to say that Jesus and Marx would have gotten along beautifully, except that Marx’s nominal concern for this world would have infuriated Jesus. Perhaps he can best be compared to a nihilist, but even that wouldn’t be accurate.

Can he win? Sure, he has a built in voting block that has been told for decades that he is the ideal of mankind, in fact he’s better than men, a God (or demi-God) even. But will his views, particularly on relevant issues of the day, so repel potential voters that people move away from Jesus?

Finally, Dr. Finklemeyer’s extraction of Jesus means that Jesus was never crucified or sacrificed, supposedly to absolve us all of our sins, which virtually destroys all of his appeal as a messianic figure. Perhaps it was good that Jesus was extracted so that we could take the measure of the actual man as opposed to the myth. In this reporter’s opinion, he doesn’t quite measure up.

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