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The Spirit of the Christians? Another Possible Radio Show

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When I was a boy growing up in America in the 1950s, among the most
vivid impressions I got of the spirit of Christianity was from the
movies on Biblical themes that Hollywood was making at the time.
Some of the films of this sort were THE ROBE, QUO VADIS, and BEN HUR.

A frequent theme of these films was the stark contrast between the
Romans and the Christians. Often, the hero has been banging up
against the brutality and harshness of the Roman empire, and then he
encounters some Christians.

These Christians are not wearing armor, like the Romans, but simple
cloth. They are not brutal, but gentle. They are not full
of angry energy to assert their power and dominance, nor full of
punitive rage toward anyone who opposes them; they are kind,
loving, conscious of other humans as their brethren, ready to forgive
even as their Lord forgave even those who nailed his flesh to the

In the presence of these Christians, the music of the soundtrack
switches away from the militaristic brass and drums that Roman legions
tromp along to, in the streets of Jerusalem or Rome, and become more
heartfelt strings and winds, expressing the human spiritual yearning
for Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men.

Was I misled in believing that the compassionate, forgiving,
peace-loving spirit these films portrayed captured something of the
essential heart of Christianity?

Now, in America, there is a political force that, more than any other
in our country today, identifies itself as Christian. And this
force has aligned itself with certain leadership-- a particular
political party, led by particular political figures and prominent
media voices.
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When we look at this political force, and at how it acts and how it speaks, what kind of spirit do we behold?

Where among the leaders this force support, where among these prominent
voices these conservative Christians heed, is to be found anyone who
expresses anything like the spirit of those Christians in those
Bible-story films? Dick Cheney? Newt Gingrich? Rush

How would these people look if they were placed down in the midst of
one of those scenes where the "Goodwill toward men" of the Christians
is being contrasted with the brutal imperial dominance of the Roman

What are we to make of the starkness of that contrast?
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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. He is the author of various books including The Parable of the Tribes: The (more...)

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Here's something Ive been working on. A brief repl... by martinweiss on Friday, Aug 7, 2009 at 2:12:15 PM
 I left the Church I was raised in when I was ask... by Robert N Smith on Friday, Aug 7, 2009 at 4:38:26 PM
With complicity by the Pentagon, much of the US. M... by Arthur Avalon on Friday, Aug 7, 2009 at 10:16:21 PM
Very interesting analysis and comparison, Mr. Aval... by martinweiss on Friday, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:55:18 PM
Joseph J. Adamson (who I quoted) also wrote an art... by Arthur Avalon on Saturday, Aug 8, 2009 at 10:48:03 AM
For Mr. Schmookler, I hope you can find a construc... by martinweiss on Saturday, Aug 8, 2009 at 12:01:04 AM
I agree with you, martinweiss, that Christianity's... by Andrew Bard Schmookler on Saturday, Aug 8, 2009 at 4:51:18 AM
It has not been always thus.In societies that span... by martinweiss on Saturday, Aug 8, 2009 at 6:15:24 AM
Jesus predicted that hypocrites would be claiming ... by Arthur Avalon on Saturday, Aug 8, 2009 at 11:19:38 AM
oh, for the love of God, how about worrying about ... by shielah jones on Saturday, Aug 8, 2009 at 12:50:05 PM
George W. Bush's hidden agenda for his war in Iraq... by Arthur Avalon on Saturday, Aug 8, 2009 at 3:59:33 PM
Blessed are the mercifulBlessed are the meekLove t... by Andrew Bard Schmookler on Saturday, Aug 8, 2009 at 4:20:00 PM
Ironically, it is those who boast that they are re... by Arthur Avalon on Saturday, Aug 8, 2009 at 4:50:58 PM