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The Spirit of the Christians? Another Possible Radio Show

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Andrew Bard Schmookler     Permalink
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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
cross.


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
Limbaugh?


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
Empire?


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. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
 

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