In the wee hours of the night, early on June 2, CNN host Chris Cuomo brought on his family friend Father Edward Beck, lavishly telling him he loved him. They discussed Trump’s pose with a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had been lit on fire in the unrest. Father Beck made Jesus sound like a “zealot” who politically rebelled against the Roman Empire (much like former CNN host Reza Aslan argued in his book Zealot).
CHRIS CUOMO: Help us understand that, because I'm sure you see a big role of faith in the understanding and the demand for social justice. What bothers you here?
FR. EDWARD BECK: Well, Mo, Jesus was a nonviolent protester. I mean that was his life. That's what he stood for. He was against unjust structures. And he didn't condone violence to oppose those structures. But he certainly did oppose them. In nonviolent protest. And so to see nonviolent protesters pushed back by force, and rubber bullets, and tear gas, for a photo op, in front of a church, a desecrated church, I didn't even get the symbolism of holding up the Bible. The word of God was on the side of protesters who were pushed back, so it was so conflictual to me, I didn't understand what I was seeing, what was the president trying to say by holding up the Bible in front of that church and who was he appealing to?
CUOMO: That's what I’m asking you. You're the priest. What is that supposed to mean when you hold up a Bible in front of a church? What does that mean? That he's holy? What is he doing right there?
BECK: Or that he’s representing somehow the word of God or standing for the word of God?
CUOMO: That must be it.
BECK: He was standing for the antithesis of it, though.
That’s certainly On Message for CNN: Trump is the antithesis of Jesus and the Bible.
Later, Cuomo turned to mocking conservative Christians, as if abortion is the only issue they care about. Cuomo crudely suggested Trump-backing Christians didn't care about anything else. Father Beck brought it back around to Jesus, Our Lord and Nonviolent Protester:
CUOMO: The idea of pro-life, the Christian political position seems to be no, no, no, no, – unborn life, we are in favor of protection of unborn life. Once it's born, then we don't have the same feelings anymore. We're not about--
BECK: Well, that’s not the Christian position.
CUOMO: I know, but I’m saying –
BECK: The Christian position is Matthew 25.
BECK: Did you feed the hungry? Did you visit the imprisoned? Did you clothe the naked? I mean, that's the Christian position. So if you corrupt that position, or you use it for your own ends, and you say this is the only one that matters, that's not representation of a true Christian position.
CUOMO: I agree. But in politics, that's where it's become. Right? The Christian conservatives, right, which become a political faction, they are not taking the Christian position the way you just outlined it. It’s really just about abortion. And then after that, they're pretty good with just about anything he [Trump] wants to do to anybody!
BECK: Well, the right-wing Christian persuasion, I would say, would look just at that. But I think more moderate Christians and certainly more progressive Christians, would see what Cardinal Bernardin used to call the full-garment approach. It can't be just about one issue because life, as you said, after the womb is just as important. And so if you're not caring for the poor, if you're not feeding the hungry, if you're not welcoming the stranger, the immigrant, how you are living the message of this nonviolent protester Jesus, whom you really are maligning with what happened there tonight.
The problem with that "full garment" analogy is that many liberals refuse the "full garment," because they can't accept the anti-abortion position. This would be especially true of the Cuomos, since Chris's brother Andrew signed an extreme pro-abortion law in New York.