Secular leftists in the media don't often have use for religion, particularly Christianity, except, it seems, when biblical passages can be isolated out of context to bash religious conservatives over the head as wicked for opposing big government or for standing up for traditional moral values.
Enter Joe Klein, Christian theologian extraordinaire, who suggested in Time.com Swampland blog post yesterday that Jesus would make Fox News host Glenn Beck sweat it out a bit at the pearly gates:
If Jesus were around today, he might say that it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a telecharlatan to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In a follow-up blog post from today, Klein thanked a commenter for passing along a passage from the gospel according to St. Matthew wherein Jesus taught that "when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men."
"The noisy proclamation of religiosity is usually a sign of the exact opposite," Klein preached regarding the August 28 Beck rally.
Of course, the teaching Klein cited does not forbid any and all public prayer, it just points out that praying for show as a demonstration of one's self-righteousness carries no reward with God. Either Klein doesn't understand that principle or he does and is arguing that the Beck rally was simply a cynical, hypocritical self-righteous display. I think in context, Klein would hold to the latter.
Yet in concluding his blog post, Klein seemed to attack Beck and his rally attendees for not being public enough about their religious devotion. The Time writer cited Christ's parable of the sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46) wherein Jesus pronounced blessing on those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and visited the imprisoned because "when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me."
"It is amazing how infrequently this sentiment is honored by the noisy righteous," scolded Klein, citing absolutely no evidence for his assertion that the thousands in attendance at the Beck rally are not involved in their quiet lives back home in acts of charity and mercy.
Perhaps Klein is alluding to the philosophical opposition Beck and other conservative have to heavy government involvement in social welfare, but if that's the case Klein would arguably be misappropriating Jesus's call for personal acts of charity and mercy into a call for government action towards those ends, the opposition against could be castigated as sinful and un-Christlike.
At any rate, if Klein wants to play this game, doesn't he seem a bit judgmental for a guy throwing around Jesus's words to condemn his neighbor?