Who Would Jesus Assassinate?
- From: "GWhyte" <gwhyte3003@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 10:16:35 -0400
Who Would Jesus Assassinate?
Hugo Chavez and the Men Who Claim to Speak for Jesus?
By RON JACOBS
You know, when I was growing up as a Catholic, I was given many differing
views of Jesus Christ. Virtually all of them were speculative, of course,
and as I grew older, I became aware that most of them were based on the
teacher's particular political and cultural persuasion. The Pallotinian nuns
that taught me in the first and second grades were always telling us horror
stories about the communists in the Soviet Union and China and had us pray
for the souls of their children every morning. The Jesuits I knew in high
school provided me and my fellow catechism students with a different view of
Jesus. Indeed, for most of these men Jesus was a revolutionary. How much of
his revolution was spiritual and how much was social depended on their level
of social and political involvement. Being a very political person, I saw
Jesus as a revolutionary communist with a small "c." Of course, there were a
number of men with Roman collars at the time who were taking this perception
and turning it into the basis for a social movement in many parts of the
world, especially in Latin America. Many of them were Jesuits.
It is this tradition that Hugo Chavez of Venezuela recalls in his speeches
and social programs. It is also this tradition, known today as liberation
theology that the late pope John Paul II attacked within months of his
appointment in 1978. John Paul II's opposition to this perception of Jesus
and his works were also part of the reason for the demotion of the Jesuit
order as the pope's protectors and the ascension of the right wing Catholic
organization Opus Dei into that role. The new pope is even less sympathetic
to this train of thought. The underlying reason for this vehement opposition
to liberation theology among the Catholic hierarchy stems from its alliances
with nonreligious leftists and its attacks on the Church's role as part of
the oppressive structure in the world of the peasantry. Nowhere is this role
greater than it is in Latin America.
Ever since Chavez began his popular upheaval in Venezuela he has been under
attack by the Catholic hierarchy in that country. In fact, members of Opus
Dei were involved in the failed coup of 2000 and have been instrumental in
the CIA-funded opposition movement since the coup, just as they were
intimately involved in the murderous CIA-sponsored coup in September 1973 in
Chile. Last month, Bishop Baltazar Porras, president of the Venezuelan
bishops' conference, said proponents of radical liberation theology are
using it to weaken and divide the Church. "This is part of a plan to
debilitate the Church," Porras told The Associated Press in an interview
last week. He cited a recent forum in which the Church was accused of
turning her back on the poor, where Chavez garners most of his political
support. "This is a new program led by a group of theologians like the ones
in the times of the Sandinista rule in Nicaragua with the same arguments,"
said Porras. "The argument is fundamentally anti-Catholic, anti-hierarchy."
(Catholic World New, 8/15/2005) It is quite interesting to note Porras
equating being anti-hierarchy with being anti-Catholic. I wonder how the
Jesus who threw the moneychangers out of the temple and challenged the
Scribes and the Pharisees would feel about that equation.
Now, in addition to having the Catholic hierarchy opposed to him, Mr. Chavez
has incurred the wrath of some in the evangelical community. Given the
generally political conservatism of much of this community, this is not
surprising. What is surprising, however, is the vehemence of this wrath. Pat
Robertson, former US presidential candidate and head of the
multimillion-dollar Christian Broadcast Network, called for Chavez's
assassination in a broadcast Monday night. Calling assassination " a whole
lot cheaper than starting a war" Robertson went on to say that if Chavez
were killed by US covert operatives he didn't "think any oil shipments will
Of course, for those who keep their religion close to their heart or use it
only when necessary to cynically convince the public of the rightness of
their actions, the comments regarding oil must strike a chord. After all,
that's the underlying reason for Washington's (and the old guard in
Venezuela) opposition to Chavez in the first place. Not only does he using
Venezuelan oil revenues to help the perennially poor in Venezuela, he is
also selling it to Cuba at cut rates and making deals with China, much to
the chagrin of Washington. Chavez and his supporters understand this. In
addition, they also understand the Jesus who inspired Father Gutierrez and
his liberation theology. That was the Jesus who said: "It is easier for a
camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the
kingdom of heaven."
Unfortunately, if Mr. Robertson and many others in Washington, Caracas and
the Vatican have their way, Hugo Chavez may get his chance to enter that
kingdom well before they do. Although I still like to think that if there is
a heaven, Mr. Robertson and his ilk will be denied admission.
Ron Jacobs is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather
Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs' essay on Big Bill
Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch's new collection on music, art and sex,
Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at: ron05401@xxxxxxxxx
- Prev by Date: Scientists Speak Up on Mix of God and Science
- Next by Date: Re: Locking Up Life-Saving Drugs
- Previous by thread: Kill Pat Robertson!!!
- Next by thread: Re: Locking Up Life-Saving Drugs