What would Jesus do?
by: John Tyrrell
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The last week has seen various US state legislatures in a rush to pass "religious freedom" legislation - new laws authorizing individuals and corprations to refuse to serve clients or customers if the lifestyles of those customers would offend their delicate religious sensibilities.
We can be fairly certain that the politicians introducing such legislation and those voting for it were almost unanimously professing Christians. And we can be just as certain that the intent of the legislation is primarily to legally protect other professing Christians in exercising their supposedly religiously-based bigotry
But if they actually turned to their bibles asking "What would Jesus do?", would they be so quick to bring in legislation specifically legalizing the right to be a complete asshole?
Let us turn to Matthew 15:
22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ 23 But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ 24 He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ 26 He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’
Well, there you have it. Jesus was quite OK with being a bigot - with refusing to serve those he despised.
But read further.
27 She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ 28 Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.
Quite simply, the woman shamed Jesus into doing the right thing. She shamed him into providing her with the same service he was prepared to show solely to the house of Israel. Regardless of his personal xenophobic bigotry, typical of a Jew of his time, he ended up serving the Canaanite woman.
And that's the lesson that the religiously-ignorant so-called Christian politicians should take to heart. Put your religious bigotry aside and serve the entire public.
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