Monday 10 May 2010

“Obama is not a brown-skinned anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare. You’re thinking of Jesus."

That quip was made by John Fugelsang, one of America's well-known stand-up comics, who grew up as the son of a former nun and a Franciscan brother!

I think it's brilliant - a good example of the sort of faith-based humour Jesus himself loved to spring on people, which often deployed the concept of surprise. This reference to Jesus in our contemporary political context - where discriminatory immigration laws, health care, and war/peace initiatives are being hotly debated - probably does takes most people by surprise.

This quote also turns the image many right-wing Christians have about Jesus on its head. The use of irony is not only quite funny but reminds me of the sort of thing Jesus himself might say about what following him should be all about:

Remembering that Jesus was not white as often depicted is worthy of note, not only within blatantly racist cultures, but also among people of colour. Being "anti-war" would certainly be true about Jesus, if one takes his teachings seriously at all. Regarding the broader meaning of "socialist" - meaning the sharing of our wealth for the well-being of all - well, there are various examples among stories recorded about the life of Jesus and throughout other parts of the New Testament which seem to support that. And the rather timely clincher - "free healthcare"- I find that to be a refreshing and hilarious interpretation of Jesus' many healings in the Christian gospels, and all part of the "greater works" he expected to be engaged by his disciples, even today.

What do you think? What was your gut-reaction when you read this quote?


1 comment:

  1. Would Jesus have laughed at that joke?

    I think so.

    For sure he would not have made an attempt to explain it.

    Thanks anyway.