On Washington Post's On Faith blog, Daily Beast contributor Lisa Miller teased a piece about Occupy Wall Street with a worthy question: "What would Jesus think about Occupy Wall Street?" Her answer was simple, and predictably liberal: "The Jesus of history would love them all."
In a piece titled "Jesus at Occupy Wall Street: 'I feel like I've been here before,'" Miller portrayed the protestors as wretched outcasts, whom God would embrace because of their misery: "Born with little means into a first century world, the historical Jesus might feel right at home with the very aspects of the occupation that so many 21st century observers consider gross: the tents, the damp sleeping bags, the communal kitchen. Jesus would have sympathy, I think, with the campers' efforts to keep a small space sanitary in the absence of modern plumbing."
Poor and wretched outcasts, bringing $5500 laptops to protests.
Miller did concede that the protestors didn't really concern themselves with God or religion. "The protestors don't talk much about Jesus or God. Nor do they offer explicit guidance on transcendent, higher principles."
But according to Miller, actual belief in God doesn't determine whether a person is actually a Christian or not. "A lesson from Jesus might show them that they have moral authority within their grasp - only it won't be conveyed through banners or sound bites. Their most radical act is the company they keep."
No word on what the Savior would have thought about the public sex, drug use, violent rhetoric or criminality on display, or even the crass materialism of the protestors' complaints. Nor did Miller stop to wonder if Christ would approve of making common cause with Marxists, whose philosophy resulted in the murder of 100 million people.
Miller cites "professor of religious studies" Bart Ehrman: "Jesus believed the whole system was corrupt. The people who ran things were empowered by the evil forces of the world and his followers had to work against these powers by feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and caring for the sick."
Ehrman is a non church-going agnostic, who is the author of a book titled Forged: Writing in the Name of God-Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. In a March 25 article on the Huffington Post, Ehrman charged the New Testament writers with lying: "It appears that some of the New Testament writers, such as the authors of 2 Peter, 1 Timothy and Ephesians, felt they were perfectly justified to lie in order to tell the truth. But we today can at least evaluate their claims and realize just how human, and fallible, they were. They were creatures of their time and place. And so too were their teachings, lies and all."
(Other scholars dispute Ehrman's contention that the Bible is a pack of lies.)
A person who claims that Christianity is a "beautiful myth" may not be the best exponent of Christianity. But to liberals, the "Jesus of history" (or, more accurately, the liberal fantasy of Jesus) is more convenient to liberal tastes, because it contradicts the Jesus of the Bible.
The Christ who sought to befriend and convert tax collectors so that they would give voluntarily of their means and who proposed the parable of the talents bears little resemblance to the demanding, grasping protestors, who seek government handouts and a utopia. His kingdom, of course, was "not of this world."
But the revolutionary character of Occupy Wall Street is clear. And perhaps they will chant from their holy text: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."
Wait, that's not in the Bible.