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Another Jesus 

click to enlarge BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson

Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) and the American History and Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit Rapert created to educate us about our "history" and "heritage," have raised over $50,000 on the GoFundMe website to replace the Ten Commandments monument that was mowed down less than 24 hours after it was erected on the Capitol grounds. If you follow the logic of Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.

Maybe Progressive Christians have it all wrong. Maybe this Jesus, full of vengeance and fear, did anoint President Trump and handpicked him to be president. It wasn't the Russians meddling in our election. It was GOP Jesus. A Jesus who would rather us give our money to build what could be argued is a graven image than donate to the number of heartbreaking GoFundMe accounts placed by parents of sick babies, families in danger of losing their homes after a medical crisis, or children trying to raise money to bury a parent. A Jesus who values winning over helping others cross the finish line, too. Forget the Jesus who was concerned about widows and orphans; we now have one who is smiling down on Reps. Steve Womack, Rick Crawford, French Hill and Bruce Westerman for their votes to cut Medicaid for women and children.

Of course, this Jesus who favors and blesses the United States of America over all other countries wants us to build a wall to keep out those fleeing their homes desperate for a new life and the safety of their children. It makes complete sense that a God who favors a man who has admitted to adultery and sexual assault would support policies limiting women's access to health care and birth control. This new Jesus is also surely pleased by any effort to keep foster children in institutions and group homes and out of any sort of stable or loving environment provided by unmarried couples or those who dare love someone of the same sex.

Arkansas is lucky to have Rapert and so many others to help us understand where we went wrong with our religion. How dare we think a man such as President Jimmy Carter, who nearly died from exhaustion building homes for the poor, would be a role model for our children? We should look to those such as Mike Huckabee so we can learn how to praise God and ridicule the less fortunate at the same time. Who needs policies and laws that benefit our fellow man when this new Jesus wants us to put ourselves and our families first?

Maybe instead of a Ten Commandments monument, the money should be spent on a stone statue of a white Jesus holding a gun in one hand and a "MAGA" sign in the other. Instead of the image of the old Jesus being surrounded by children and feeding the hungry or healing the sick, we can depict this new Jesus as a prison executioner or maybe an ICE agent rounding up undocumented families. It would help to have an inscription on the base clarifying the definition of "neighbor" to exclude people from other countries, the mentally ill, addicts and those who are unable to meet any type of work requirement. For good measure, we could build a wall around this Jesus to protect him from anyone who would try to hurt him or dare wash his feet. Sadly, we would then truly have a testament to what seems to be our values.

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