Newsweek's cover story is all about Christianity. Writer Andrew Sullivan stakes the claim that Christianity has been "destroyed" by politics, evangelists and priests. The article, which starts by examining Thomas Jefferson's views on faith and the Bible, delves deeply into all that Sullivan sees wrong with Christianity in America.
Below, see the Newsweek cover image featuring Jesus:
After stating his belief in "Jesus’ divinity and resurrection," Sullivan goes on to urge a "return to what Jesus actually asked us to do and to be." Jefferson, who the writer claims was for a "simpler, purer, apolitical Christianity," would have stark differences with the worldview embraced by modern-day Christianity. Here's how he summed up the situation in America:
On one side, the Republican base is made up of evangelical Protestants who believe that religion must consume and influence every aspect of public life. On the other side, the last Democratic primary had candidates profess their faith in public forums, and more recently President Obama appeared at the National Prayer Breakfast, invoking Jesus to defend his plan for universal health care. The crisis of Christianity is perhaps best captured in the new meaning of the word “secular.” It once meant belief in separating the spheres of faith and politics; it now means, for many, simply atheism. The ability to be faithful in a religious space and reasonable in a political one has atrophied before our eyes.
While Sullivan tackles these issues and seems to call for changes to the way that Christians handle controversial issues like abortion, The Christian Watershed blog takes a different stance on his commentary, writing:
Ultimately, however, what Sullivan is calling for is nothing more than a private faith that is a step below the Social Gospel. Yet, the “Social Gospel” movement has failed and will continue to fail in every manifestation, even ones that are watered down. When we rob the Gospel of its power and reduce it to nothing more than “Take care of the poor,” then the movement will fail because it lacks the power of the Holy Spirit behind it. This is not to say that we shouldn’t take care of those who need it – I’ve been very clear on this issue in my writings – rather that we should realize that the Gospel extends beyond just helping the poor, and goes to bringing people to Christ. It also means we stand up for social justice, that we aren’t “apolitical,” but follow a politic that fits within the ideals of Christianity.
It seems that Sullivan thinks Christians should remain quiet on issues such as abortion, but would he say the same thing for Christians involved in movements to end sex-trafficking or slave-labor overseas? Should we not petition our government on these issues? Should William Wilberforce have simply shut his mouth on the issue of slavery? Should the Christian civil rights activists of the 50s, 60s, and 70s have simply lived the “way of Jesus” rather than petitioning the government and society itself to change how it viewed minorities? I’m sure that Sullivan would rightfully applaud these efforts, but in doing so he would negate his entire stance; these efforts weren’t brought about by individuals following the way of Christ (solely), but instead by entire churches mobilizing against what they saw as an injustice.
Read the rest of Sullivan's article, below. The piece -- and the hipster Jesus cover -- comes at an interesting time, as Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown has been fending off reports that the Daily Best-Newsweek partnership has actually lost millions for the venture. Perhaps this was an opportunity (some may call it a ploy) to boost readership.
According to Folio, putting Jesus on a magazine cover could, as The Atlantic reports, cause a major (45 percent) increase in sales (to add to the intrigue, Sullivan wrote for The Atlantic before leaving for The Daily Beast in early 2011).
This, of course, isn't the first time that Son of Man has graced Newsweek's cover. You can see seven other past issues that Jesus appeared on here. Also, it's not the first time that a well-known individual has been Photoshopped in an interesting light. Recall Brown's aging of Princess Diana not long ago.