Thursday, June 7, 2007

You might have heard about the German man who tried to hitch a ride on the popemobile yesterday. The New York Times reports, "The 80-year-old pope did not seem to notice as his security guards quickly subdued the man, a 27-year-old German who appeared to hold briefly onto the rear of the white vehicle. The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the pope’s spokesman, said the man, wearing shorts, sunglasses and a baseball cap, was not armed." I'm not a theologist, and I'm not even a good Christian — but I try to be a moral person and, even though I'm skeptical of His divinity, I think Jesus Christ is a pretty damn good role model. So when something like this happens, it seems like a good idea to reflect and ask, "What would Jesus do?" And also, "Would Jesus have armed guards, and a spokesman?"

I know that the New Testament was written in a pre-9/11 mindset, but I don't recall the chapter and verse where one of the faithful tries to touch Jesus's robes and he goes all Akon on their leper ass. My recollection of the Bible is a little fuzzy here: The blind and crippled and just general assholes who wanted to trick up Jesus needed to go through Ticketmaster to get an audience with him, right? And Jesus lived in a giant house covered in gold stolen off Roman ruins, and he totally kept women out of his ministry. You know what else Jesus was really big on? Adhering to ridiculous centuries-old traditions that distanced people from their faith.

When you use the brain that God gave you, rather than ideological dogma, Jesus and Benedict seem more and more mutually exclusive — the latter's single-minded focus on the dissolution of his spiritual authority in the information age, and the former encouraging spiritual growth between individuals, society, and God. It doesn't surprise me when a certain Texan born-again demagogue doesn't get Jesus's message, but isn't Ratzinger a professor of theology? (According to Wikipedia, he was also a leftist in his younger, wilder, more Christ-like days.) Again, my Revelations is rusty, but I'm pretty sure one sign of the apocalypse is when I'm a closer adherent to Jesus than the pope is.