Sunday, March 27, 2016


Guest Post: Jeff Heinle

Jeff Heinle is native of San Jose, and a captain in the Bakersfield Fire Department. Jeff's an active member of the Bakersfield community, and has a nice habit of raising questions about life, religion, and politics that make you think a bit differently about our world. This article originally appeared in the Bakersfield Californian a little over three weeks ago. The memes and pictures are added.


Christ the Socialist?
The irony associated with political identity and the accusation that each party is disconnected from reality is astounding. Recently there have been some differences of opinion in The Californian about the figure of Jesus in the New Testament and whether he was a socialist. Personally, I think the issue is much deeper than regurgitating the definition of socialism in some angst riddle diatribe or defending a religious position based on Dominionism or American Civil Religion.
Now that there is a presidential election on the horizon and candidates like Donald Trump or Senator Sanders are running, it is important for “Christians” to do some soul searching to determine if Christ would have been a socialist in today's society.
This writer’s experiences with churches span about 4 decades and encompass many sects of American Christianity. I would assume I fall in the spiritual category of “Seeker,” but I hold dear what I believe the savior taught as salvation for my soul. After years of study, I have come to a conclusion that the American “Christian” church is in desperate need of a political and spiritual overhaul.
A televangelist lives here with their extended family ... Would Christ live here?
First and foremost, I am convinced that an entire generation of this country’s “Christian” community has been immersed in American Civil Religious or Dominionism ideology. The ramifications of having such a substantial theocratic false-ology in our politics is concerning especially in a nation that prides itself on a freedom of beliefs with a constitutional assurance that no one religion takes precedence over another.
Its modern movement can be traced back to the Moral Majority of the late 1970’s with Jerry Falwell’s presidential bid and continued with the Christian Coalition presidential run of Pat Robertson — that type theocracy which was an extremely expensive campaign, galvanized many churches under a format that is taught to this day.
What I have experienced under those formats: Cherry picking scripture to meet a political agenda, misogyny, racism, discrimination, idolatry of the American Flag, nationalistic pride bordering on fascism and a fanatical position on second amendment rights that resemble paranoia.

The typical nomenclature in those venues: hates the poor, hates immigration, hates homosexuality, hates the choice of woman in regards to their body and hates the homeless. It politically manipulates and coerces their attendees through the fear of hell and has a gross misinterpretation of scripture that does not take into account any historical cultural relevance of the past, nor does it acknowledge controversial meanings of the Greek.
Worst of all, the message brain washes the people in the pews to politically vote against their own best interests.
The message ignores science, basic humanitarianism and the altruistic message of love. Sadly, all of this as it was politically designed, is found on the right side of the political spectrum. It looks like a white Jesus draped in an American flag, holding a machine gun in one hand and a bible in the other.

Here is the “disconnect” that I find the most egregious: Any governmental social construct that benefits less fortunate American people and is of a Judeo-Christian foundation is vehemently opposed by the very same right-wing political theocrats and their constituents that believe this country is founded on “Christian” principles.
So was the Christ of the New Testament a socialist? For those who argue that it’s an individual mandate to adhere to the principles taught by Jesus and not the responsibility of our government, I say shame on you. The American church and the body have failed miserably in regards to taking care of the citizens of this country. I hang my hat on Roosevelt’s New Deal as proof. I would also take the position that the ideology that Christ taught had significant socialistic overtones, and ignoring this country’s Judeo-Christian governmental social programs is hypocritical and a disservice to the American Christian culture.

The American church desperately needs to change the political narrative being taught from the rich elite multi-billion dollar tax-free business that the church has become. The political propaganda that is part of this religious format does not resemble anything I have read in scripture.

For those of you that believe in this “Christian” fallacy, I believe my rebuke would be that you need to recognize that the socialistic “peace loving hippie” that Christ was has been replaced with a war hawk, uber-neocon, hedge fund savior that hates many of its neighbors and worships flags and guns.
Jeff Heinle, a San Jose native, has been a Bakersfield firefighter since 1992.

- Mark

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