According to the New Testament gospel of Matthew, chapter 28, the messiah ascended into heaven, promising to return one day. In 2008, he made good on that promise, descending into Chicago’s Grant Park on a mission to redeem mankind and bring all men into a new promised land of his making. The former messiah’s public ministry lasted only three short years, yet his life remains the pivot point of history. On the third anniversary of the more recent messiah’s campaign, comparisons are appropriate and quite revealing.
Eschewing traditional methods of messiah-ship, e.g. healing the sick, sermonizing from the Mount, and rising from the dead, this savior instead stands atop Mount Tele-Prompter to lead the way to national salvation through his public proclamations. Yet the strategy he has pursued is a curious one.
Instead of calling people to follow him to greater faith, he has belittled the faithful, calling them weak and clinging. Instead of calling them to serve the poor, he has called all people to become poorer for the sake of equality, demanding that more be rendered unto Caesar. Instead of instructing his followers to help the wounded on the side of the road, he asked for money to shovel the road. Unfortunately, the shovel was willing but the spirit was weak.
Instead of protecting the most vulnerable in society, life in its most nascent form is now to be created to be destroyed for the sake of science. Under the auspices of improved health care, he, in a cruel irony, mandated that the faithful provide products (contraception) and services (abortion) that offend their deepest beliefs. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in America as it is in Chicago.
Even nature was not beyond his reach. Parting the Red Sea and walking on water paled in comparison to his promise to lower the sea levels. Watch and learn, King Canute. The tide of history had ushered in a new reality, and the arc of history would now bend in service to the gospel he proclaimed. Traditional church attendance was therefore rendered moot, unless he was campaigning. The word was with him, and the word was him. There was no need to go elsewhere to hear it.
At the same time, he redefined settled teaching on foundational issues. Ignoring even his own church’s definition of marriage, he refuses to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act and encourages litigation against traditional marriage in California and across the nation. Millennia of religious consensus on the sanctity of traditional marriage were breezily cast aside in service to a contemporary ethic (and fringe voting bloc) whose only credo is absolute sexual freedom without limit, or responsibility.