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God Is on Our Side 

Taking a Gander: Jesus does not suffer hypocrites gladly.

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Wife: Hi, honey ... good day at the office?

Husband: Just the usual—total madness. Another client indicted, another notice from the IRS. No rest for the wicked. How was yours?

Wife: Well, it was another crazy one. The kids got peanut butter and jam all over the kitchen; Spot had an accident on the carpet; the water heater's kaput. And, Jesus dropped by.

Husband: Jesus?

Wife: The one and only!

Husband: Uh ... what did he want?

Wife: Oh, I think he just wanted to talk. He was pretty pissed—furious that the majority of Americans call themselves "Christians," and even madder that some of them describe themselves as the "Christian Right." Says he's contemplating suing for unauthorized use of his name, and he resents his name being used for a political prop.

Husband: He's a nonresident, so he probably doesn't have status to file here. Must not know the rules.

Wife: Well, anyway, I offered him coffee. He thanked me, then insisted on adding a shot of whiskey to it. I was stunned, but he told me he drinks every day—mostly to try to forget the mess Americans have made of their country. He sipped, then talked sort of nostalgically.

He said that he can't figure—for the eternal life of him—how so many misguided people could be so delusional as to think they have any personal commitment to him.

Husband: He may have a point there...

Wife: He said "Christian" is a misunderstood, misconstrued concept—that churchgoing or accepting him as personal savior doesn't make anyone Christian. He said folks have to live his teachings faithfully in order to claim to be a follower. Two cups of Irish coffee later, he turned to me and asked, "Do you support any political leader or party who breaks my dad's law about bearing false witness?"

Husband: He really put you on the spot! Please tell me you lied ....

Wife: Well, I couldn't lie; he'd know it. "Well, your majesty ... highness ... excellency,"—wasn't sure how to address him—"we're voting straight Republican." I thought he was going to stroke. "How could you profess Christianity," he asked, "yet support anyone who bears false witness every time he opens his mouth? No follower of mine would support that person! Do you think Dad and I came up with the Ten Commandments as some kind of joke?"

Husband: That's a gotcha; Trump's public lies just passed the 22,000 mark.

Wife: Really made me wonder. He kept sipping his doctored coffee. "Remember when I said, 'It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.' You know your president and party stole children from their parents—inflicting the most horrific emotional injuries any child can suffer— many never to see their parents again." He spoke right through me—I was totally ashamed.

Husband: Unbearable.

Wife: The questions kept coming, but each brought me more clarity. "Would you support a man or party who steals from the poor to give to the rich?" Of course, I told him, "Absolutely not!" But then he mentioned the Tax Act of 2017, and how 80% of the benefits went to corporations and the wealthiest 1%, adding: "No believer in me could ever vote that way."

Husband: Chri—uh, crap! He was taking no prisoners. But he must know how you love and worship him.

Wife: I'm not really sure; I think he got that I thought I did. Questions just kept coming. "Think of the Good Samaritan," he reminded me, "and ask if you could support a party whose actions would take away medical care for millions. Does that sound Christian to you? Would you vote for a man who brags of sexual assault, covets his neighbor's wife, lusts after his own daughter and cheats on his business deals?

"How about the Golden Rule? I said it once, and I'll say it again: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. Are these the values and actions of your candidates and party?

"You'd vote for people with no humility? Or who weren't compassionate, tolerant and kind toward all, always? Or for any person or party who revels in gross inequality? Or who promotes corporate and governmental wealth and power consolidation, all at the expense of Dad's children?"

Husband: Oh, God! And now, I just broke the Third Commandment taking the Lord's name in vain!! You must feel terrible—please tell me he's gone!

Wife: Yeah, he just went out the door—finished his coffee and left me with a parting thought. "How in the name of Dad did you end up thinking this is OK by me?" Then he looked through me again, maybe hopefully: "Do your clergy teach that supporting, promoting or allowing the atrocities we just talked about isn't Christian, and that no one who does can claim to be a Christian—at least not without bearing false witness, you know, breaking Dad's Ninth Commandment?"

"No, Lord," I whispered, "I have been so wrong."

Then Jesus turned to me, compassion in his eyes. "You know what it means to be mine, to be a real Christian: Reject evil. Do what is right, regardless of consequence. And, if you ever find a preacher who invites you to follow my teachings the way I taught you today, that's a real Christian church. Let me know; I'd like to join."

John Robinson contributed to this article. Michael Robinson is a novelist, columnist and former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and the beloved ashes of their mongrel dog.

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