Jesus, Jesus, Jesus: From Pop Culture to Politics Jesus, Jesus, Jesus: From Pop Culture to Politics

By: Rachel Marsden

Ever since Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion of the Christ", came out in theatres, Jesus has been all the rage. All the hype is verging on overkill: a term which also describes what happens to Jesus during the movie. Mel Gibson has succeeded in doing what Sunday Schools and churches have yet to be able to accomplish: making Jesus about as hot a commodity as Barbie and Justin Timberlake.

"The Passion" is on the verge of doing for Aramaic what Star Trek did for Klingon. Bob Siemon -- the brains behind the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelets -- has created a line of necklaces that consist of nails hanging from leather cords. They're reportedly selling like hotcakes on the Internet and at Christian bookstores. Jesus is so incredibly popular right now that the movie soundtrack is ranked number three at The only two people who can claim to have "beaten Jesus in the charts" are American Idol Clay Aiken and Norah Jones. But then who wouldn't want to subject oneself, over and over again, to such wicked tunes as "Jesus Arrested", "The Stoning", "Raising the Cross", "It is Done" (which, I assume, is the politically-correct, Hollywood studio term for "Jesus: He Dead!"), or "Jesus is Carried Down"?

Some people claim that just listening to the soundtrack is a life-changing experience. One reviewer writes: "It is moving, riveting, and soulful. I can almost envision the elements that each title represents. My husband has listened to it nonstop while at work for the past 2 days and has come home with a totally different attitude." Given the fact that Jesus gets the living daylights kicked out of him throughout this movie, it may not be such a good thing that listeners might actually be able to "envision the elements" of the movie over and over again. Anyone who experiences a "Zamfir moment" while listening to the soundtrack of a Jesus snuff movie probably needs his or her head examined.

Even Hollywood is catching on to the 'Jesus thing'. Actors like Brad Pitt, Jessica Simpson, and Pamela Anderson -- who recently said that she attends church services regularly with her two children and teaches Sunday school classes -- have been sporting "Jesus is my Homeboy" t-shirts.

It wasn't long ago that people were snickering at George W. Bush for admitting during his 2000 election campaign that Jesus was his favourite philosopher, or rolling their eyes when he said that he attended regular Bible study sessions along with his good friend Don Evans (Secretary of Commerce) and other White House staffers. Even though Bush himself has clearly stated that he doesn't feel that politics and religion should ever mix, there are still those who are convinced that his religious beliefs are driving his decisions and actions as President. There's a difference between using one's values, beliefs, morals and standards to guide or steady one's thinking--and blindly following religious dogma without thinking critically or independently for oneself.

Liberals would have you believe that it's out of some sort of religious fanaticism that George W. Bush concocts such things as the recent constitutional marriage amendment which, if passed, would prohibit activist judges across the nation from using their judicial powers to redefine marriage as being anything other than between a man and a woman. Look, if gay marriage was really a religious issue, then opposition to the idea wouldn't be currently sitting at 50% (with only 44% in favour of the idea) in a state like California, where over 3,000 gay couples have flocked to get hitched thanks to a San Francisco mayor who passes out gay marriage licences like they were Alcatraz sightseeing passes.

Not to say that I agree with Bush's amendment idea. Personally, I don't like it at all. Gays getting hitched strains the cultural fabric of our society, but it hardly represents a threat to government--which is what constitutional amendments are meant to deal with. Bush really should let the individual states handle the issue, just as California has done with Proposition 22, which restricts marriage in California to being between a man and a woman. If the judiciary in any given state goes on a power trip like the Massachusetts high court did when it ruled 4-3 that gays should be allowed to marry, then it's up to that state's Assembly to introduce an amendment reaffirming the doctrine of separation of powers and reminding the courts that their job does not include deciding political questions. Doing so would force a debate on the issue at the state level, which is really what's needed at this juncture. And if it turns out that ultimately, a particular state's population is all in favour of same-sex marriage, then fine. Majority rules. That's democracy. It's a free country, and there are plenty of other states where the people surely wouldn't vote in favour of it--so move there if worse comes to worst. In a nationwide poll taken recently by CNN/USA Today/Gallup, 6 out of 10 Americans were against legalizing marriage for gays, so it's not like Uncle Sam will be getting an eyebrow tweeze or an apricot facial scrub anytime soon.

If Bush hadn't come out and identified himself as a practicing Christian early on, liberals would probably now be accusing him of exploiting Jesus for political purposes during all the "Passion" hype. But instead, they're left with writing him off as a religious nut. The reality is that Jesus himself never even took a moral stand on gay marriage. Bush is about as guilty of using religion to guide his actions on this issue as he is of being in the right place at the right time to be able to use images of 9/11 in campaign ads--yet another thing liberals are whining about right now. Of course, by the same moronic logic, Democratic Presidential hopeful John Kerry is equally guilty of exploiting his service in Vietnam as though he owned the trademark on the war itself.