In a remarkably clear-eyed and compelling letter to the editor of a Pennsylvania newspaper, a Catholic priest from a small-town parish published a decisive smackdown to the conceit that politicians and editors know the answer to the question, "What would Jesus do?" He responded to a newspaper editorial which suggested that Rep. Paul Ryan's budget was not "what Jesus would do."
The letter is especially entertaining on the subject of the church crowd running Georgetown University, an institution which, along with certain students, has been much in the news of late.
WWJD is a popular device employed by liberal politicians who seldom follow the admonitions of the deity they invoke to support programs they favor. It is a common supplement to the notions that the political class really cares about "the children, "the elderly" or believes in much of anything other than reelection.
Some highlights from the letter:
Theologians are a dime a dozen. They should be evaluated according to their individual merits and, if Catholic, according to their faithfulness to the magisterium of the church. Theologians - especially, but not exclusively, Jesuit theologians of the present day and, more to the point, theologians who inhabit the halls of Georgetown University - are rarely to be taken seriously. In Shakespeare's "Henry VI," Dick the Butcher says, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers!" If we were to substitute "theologians" for "lawyers," we might have a plan for church renewal. Admittedly, that's a little over the top. There are some theologians who should be spared.
Your editorial concludes with this sentence: "As House Republicans continue to appeal to religious conservatives, it's pretty clear that their budget is not what Jesus would do."
Well, it might be clear to you what Jesus would do, but it sure isn't clear to me! I think it borders on sacrilege to presume you know exactly what Jesus would do in regard to the national budget. Pope Benedict doesn't know. I don't know. Quite frankly, you don't know either! We work it out via the political process, take a deep breath and hope for the best.
Maybe, in the cause of diversity, we should ask ourselves what Moses or Muhammad or the Buddha would do!
Read it all. You won't regret the time you invested in doing so.