From the Mean-Spirited to the Asinine: 7 Prime Examples of Right-Wing Lunacy This Week
1. Ken Blackwell: Cutting Food Stamps, Oh So Christian
Obviously, the adjective “Christian” has gone through a lot of permutations since Jesus died. Now, apparently Christian means purposely not helping people who are down-and-out. That’s the interpretation that Family Research Council fellow Ken Blackwell was going with when he said this week that “nothing is more Christian” than the massive ($40 billion) cuts to food stamps passed last week by House Republicans.
Apparently though, the Pope has not heard about this newfangled kind of Christianity. Pope Francis broke with Vatican tradition recently to remind his flock that money—and the preoccupation with gay marriage—has led them astray, and helping the less fortunate is very much a Christian value.
But no, Blackwell believes that feeding the poor can lead to dependency, and that particular display of mercy is unchristian. We’re just wondering if he read a different Sermon on the Mount than we did.
Blackwell is not just some out-there Christian activist crackpot, he has held positions of power, including a stint as Ohio secretary of state and failed 2006 gubernatorial candidate. This week he said he favored empowering the poor and working poor to become self-sufficient, although he did not venture any specific plans for doing that.
“Making sure they are participants in their own upliftment (excuse us, is that a word?) and empowerment so that they, in fact, through the dignity of work … can break from the plantation of big government,” Blackwell said, adding insult to insult by employing a loaded slavery metaphor.
2. Bill O’Reilly: Jesus Died For Our Taxes
Speaking of Jesus, religious history scholar and messianic Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly has penned, or had his ghost pen, a new rant called Killing Jesus: A History. And it turns out, and this is really going to surprise you, that Jesus was a Tea Partier.
Reviewing the book for The Daily Beast, Candida Moss, an actual religious history scholar summed up O’Reilly and co-author Martin Dugard’s thesis. Taxes killed Jesus.
“The basic argument of the book is that Jesus died because he interfered with the taxation-heavy Roman revenue stream,” Moss wrote. And escaping taxes was why the Jews eagerly anticipated a messiah. So, to recap, scrap that whole “Jesus died for our sins” claptrap you learned if you went to Sunday school.
Ironically, Moss points out, the Roman system of taxation was not so very different from the current day, and featured a popular current proposal among conservatives. Wealthy citizens were exempt, and non-citizens paid a flat-rate poll tax. But they did not commit the obscenity of helping the poor with those taxes.
O’Reilly feigns humility in his intro. “In the writing of this fact-based book, Martin Dugard and I do not aim to suggest that we know everything about Jesus. But we know much and will tell you things that you might not have heard."
And naturally he leaves out what many, including the new Pope, seem to think was Jesus’ central message, that Christians must help the poor, widows and orphans.
Just not through taxes. God forbid.
3. AIG CEO: My Plight Is Similar to Lynch Mob Victims
Robert Benmosche, CEO of the insurance giant AIG made a headscratchingly, off-base comparison in recent comments that were reported, and yet completely glossed over, in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal. He compared the anger over the fact that he and other executives received huge bonuses even as the government was bailing them out, and despite the fact that AIG was one of the prime causes of the economic collapse — to the racist anger of lynch mobs in the south.