Posted on December 18, 1999


Bum Worship

How Liberals Politicize Religion


Daniel Clark


In a recent, highly publicized crime, a midtown Manhattan streetwalker assaulted a bypassing woman in broad daylight, striking her in the head with a brick. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who prides himself on reducing New York's reputation for crime, as well as the actual frequency of its occurrence, initiated a policy of removing beggars and loiterers from city streets, sending those who are genuinely homeless to the shelters which they typically shun.

Hillary Clinton expressed tiresome outrage, muttering platitudes like, "I reject the politics of division"...however that is supposed to apply in this case. Among her dutifully recited liberal cliches, though, was one item which should not be ignored. Noting that it was the start of Advent, she instructed her audience (a gathering of 85 ministers) to "remember that at Christmas we are celebrating the birth of a homeless child."


Jesus Christ may not have been born in a house, but he was hardly a "homeless child." Anyone with any familiarity with Christmas knows that Mary and Joseph were traveling, and unable to find a place to stay the night; they were not living on the streets, as the First Lady claims. The reason they didn't stay at the inn was that there was no room, not that they were destitute. Yet liberals make that comparison repeatedly, and are seldom confronted over it.

The last time a politician of Mrs. Clinton's stature made such a remark, it was Rev. Jesse Jackson, who a couple Christmases ago referred to Christ as "an at-risk child." What is it he was at risk of? Becoming a junkie? Turning to a life of crime? We don't know, because it was never demanded of Jackson that he explain himself.

The indulgence in such liberal fantasy by a man of the cloth like Rev. Jackson, or like the ministers who failed to correct Mrs. Clinton, tends to be passively accepted by the general public, which is hesitant to question the authority of the experts. As a result, the portrait of the Holy Family as hobos has become etched in the mind of society. It has become so pervasive that, near holidays, it is common for a bum to use the comparison himself, in order to put the squeeze on the conscience of a reluctant donor.

Advocacy groups for "the homeless" have reinforced the phenomenon of the self-righteous beggar. In a protest against Mayor Giuliani, hundreds of bums and bum advocates staged a rally, during which they chanted, "housing, not hate!" So now they want "housing," as opposed to the mere "shelter" they are being offered. Is it that each bum is demanding an entire house instead of a room, or does their dissatisfaction lie in the supervision that exists in homeless shelters, which will not allow them to bring in the liquor and drugs they would be free to consume in homes of their own? Either way, they are not asking for charity, but are instead demanding what they believe is rightfully theirs.

And why shouldn't they demand to be brought gifts, and think themselves superior to those who have worked for what they own? They have been told they are divine, and they agree. What is more difficult to understand is why people like Mrs. Clinton and Rev. Jackson should kneel before them. Why would left-wing intellectuals, people who consider themselves to be "the best and brightest," place these bums on a pedestal, by comparing them with Jesus Christ?

The answer is that such a comparison places Christ in his proper position on the Democrats' chain of command. When liberals refer to Jesus Christ as a "homeless child," they are imagining that he is helpless, and needs to be rescued by liberalism. This is the liberals' ultimate Christmas wish, for the Son of God to be raised on welfare, fed with food stamps and sheltered by HUD. Within this hallucination, Christ is a ward of the state, and so, by extension, are his followers.

Democrats often pretend to oppose any relation between church and state. That's not actually true. As long as the state is established as the supreme authority, religion is always welcome to play a supporting role.

If you dare to point out that our rights are handed down by God and not by the government, like Alan Keyes or Gary Bauer does, then you are a dangerous religious nut, and the First Amendment somehow demands that you be removed from politics. As long as you are willing to pledge God's support for the welfare state, however, you can run for president, even if you are a minister like Jesse Jackson. You are allowed to recite scripture in the context of political debate, like President Clinton does, and to surround yourself with spiritual advisors, who assume God's authority to excuse you for disgracing your office, as well as for committing multiple acts of perjury.

In The Vision of the Anointed, Thomas Sowell uses the term "mascots" to describe those groups of people to whom liberals (aka, "the anointed") extend preferential treatment, so that they can be used to "symbolize the superior wisdom and virtue of the anointed." Topping the list of mascots sited by Sowell are "vagrants, criminals and carriers of contagious diseases." By projecting an image of Jesus Christ as a bum, liberals are portraying him as a mascot.

Mrs. Clinton once told an audience at a National Prayer Breakfast that she doesn't believe it's possible to be both a Christian and a Republican. Many Christian Republicans took Republicans. They should instead have taken offense as Christians, because it was as Christians that they were being called followers of a mascot of government paternalism. To be thought, as Republicans, to be incompatible with that image is higher praise than the GOP, perennial patsy in budget disputes, has shown it deserves.



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