"Man Who Claims to Be Prophet Muhammad Alive and Well in Hoboken, Says It's Cool to Eat Pork"
Imagine that headline on ABCNews.com. And imagine the story included no Muslim imams or scholars to denounce the charlatan. Well, that's pretty much what ABC did today on an old story front-paged on its Web site today (see screencap on the right), only the religion in question was Christianity (and the fake Jesus in the story lives in Houston).
Here's the headline for the March 6, 2007, story by Jim Avila (yes, the dateline is correct, this story is over a month old):
Nowhere in Avila's three-page story are any Christian scholars or preachers consulted for comment or to condemn Jose de Jesus for blasphemy. In fact, this is the closest Avila gets on that point:
There are no rules in de Jesus' church. Anything goes when you follow "Jesus of Suburbia." But he is serious about being the Second Coming of Christ. And along with his followers, he also has many detractors. Some who think he's the devil incarnate and others who think he's just a charlatan and a con man. One of the things that makes him so hated, so controversial, is that he preaches the Catholic Church is evil, and his followers burn pictures of the pope and hold protests outside churches.
Granted, most everyone who reads this story will automatically think de Jesus is a few cans short of a sixpack, or a very good scam artist. But given the fact that orthodox Christians get skeptical treatment from the media while gnostic nonsense like "The DaVinci Code" gets hyped, isn't is only fair that orthodox defenders of historic Christianity get some ink in a story about a cult?
And one more thing for Mr. Avila. Christians do believe Jesus Christ is alive and well, in a physically resurrected body, and coming again soon to judge the living and the dead. The language in Avila's lede seems to suggest that Jose de Jesus is unlike the historical Jesus of Nazareth by being alive and well presently:
A few weeks ago, in a tattoo parlor in the hip art deco district of Miami Beach, people were lining up to get "666" tattooed on their bodies, and then smiling through their pain. But these are not devil worshipers. They see themselves as devout followers of Jesus Christ. But the major difference that separates them from other Christians around the world is that the Jesus Christ they worship is alive and well -- and living in the suburbs of Houston.
It's a 2,000-year old faith, Mr. Avila. It's not that hard to do your homework on the basics.