Last December, GOP presidential contender Herman Cain penned an interesting article about Jesus Christ that has been resurrected (no pun intended) and is getting some attention in the blogosphere. Published just five days before Christmas, the piece claims that Jesus was "a perfect conservative" and that "he...changed the world for the better."
In his article, Cain goes on to explain, though, the reasons why he believes that to be true. He writes:
He helped the poor without one government program. He healed the sick without a government health care system. He [fed] the hungry without food stamps. And everywhere He went, it turned into a rally, attracting large crowds, and giving them hope, encouragement and inspiration.
For three years He was unemployed, and never collected an unemployment check. Nevertheless, he completed all the work He needed to get done. He didn’t travel by private jet. He walked and sailed, and sometimes traveled on a donkey.
These certainly are some intriguing comparisons. During Jesus' life, government programs weren't what they are today. And while Jesus was unemployed, there were many along the way who likely offered their hospitality to him and his disciples. Still, the facts behind these notions, from a Christian perspective, are accurate.
Cain also covers the fact that Jesus wasn't born to a royal family, although he left a "royal impression on the world." Additionally, he says that Christ learned all of the world's ways without becoming of the world." In addressing condemnation, the successful businessman writes that Jesus never attacked what others believed in. Instead, he focused upon sin, evil and corruption.
In discussing Jesus' death, Cain writes that he was arrested and taken to jail without being read his Miranda Rights. The "liberal court," Cain says, found Jesus guilty of false offenses and then sentenced him to death. Interestingly, he then delves into the world's attempts to erase Jesus' impact since his death:
For over 2,000 years the world has tried hard to erase the memory of the perfect conservative, and His principles of compassion, caring and common sense. [...]
The attacks are disguised as political correctness, or a misunderstanding of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Separation of Church and State does not mean Separation of Church from State. The State cannot impose Church on the people, but the people can display and say as much Church in the public square as they desire.
Obviously these statements -- especially those that assert that Jesus was a conservative -- serve as a source of frustration to those on the religious left who would argue the contrary.
In responding to these claims, the leftist Faith in Public Life (FPL) wrote that some of Cain's examples presented in the article are "self-evidently silly." In addressing the fact that Cain said Jesus had principles of common sense, FPL writes:
Now Herman Cain is a minister, and I only had eighteen years of religious education, but I'm pretty sure Jesus's principles were anything but common sense. In fact, in my recollection, they were the complete opposite. The story of the Gospel is Jesus openly challenging the prevailing norms, social structures, and power dynamics of his day and turning them on their heads with a radical message of humility, non-violence, selflessness and faith in the seemingly impossible.
Speaking to another point, ThinkProgress can't fathom why Cain called the court that sentenced Jesus to death "liberal." TP's Zaid Jilani writes:
Cain does not explain why he finds the Roman court that sentenced and executed Jesus to be “liberal.” But his claim is baffling for all kinds of reasons, only one of which is the fact that liberals tend to be ideologically opposed to capital punishment while conservatives tend to favor it.
Regardless of negative reaction stemming from it, the column sheds further light on Cain's views on Christianity and freedom of religion in America. On Tuesday, we brought you a piece delving deeply into his faith background. Cain's church, Antioch Baptist Church North, is widely regarded as liberal -- a fact that is surprising when considering Cain's staunch conservatism.
"You know, I don't wear my Christian faith, which has been my faith since I was 10 years old, on my forehead," Cain said in a recent interview with the Associated Press. "But people can see it on my website and when they read my credentials they can see I'm a staunch Christian conservative, and they are saying 'wait a minute.'''
His faith, it seems, is just making its way into the forefront of the media and political scenes this week.