Over at The Catholic Weekly, I write:
Recently, I saw one of the purest expressions of MAGA antichrist religion I’ve ever seen in a car window decal.
It read: “If Jesus had had a gun, he would still be alive today.”
As a friend once observed of The Da Vinci Code, this is so far off it’s not even wrong, like demanding to know what inning of the football game it is and how many pucks they have put in the basket to score a royal flush.
It comes from some parallel universe, where the mission of Good Christians is, like Peter and his sword, to kill our enemies and triumph with blood and iron for the Reich of God. Jesus is, for such gun culture religion, just a mascot.
Not that such dreams of bloody power are anything new in the Christian Church. The devil has steadily dangled the carrot of worldly power in front of the human race since forever and everybody from Pharaoh to Sennacharib to Alexander to Caesar to Hitler has made a grab for that brass ring.
Indeed, he even tried it on with Jesus himself, showing him all the kingdoms of the earth and promising “All this will I give you if you will bow down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9).
What sticks out is that Jesus not only refused the offer, but went to war with the entire world system by handing himself over to that world system so it—and we—could pour out upon him all of our sin, dysfunction, craziness, and evil. When he told his disciples to take up their cross and follow him, he made clear that he was not speaking poetically by, in fact, being crucified.
As a first century hymn would put it, “though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).