The Rendition of Christ:
Winning the Battle for their Souls
By Jason Miller
Clearing House" -- -- America as the beacon
of human rights and dignity is but a dream yet to be
realized. While the dream has lain dormant, amoral
opportunists have busily unleashed their nightmare on
billions of human beings. And all the while they have
trumpeted the many virtues of the United States as a
There are many admirable aspects to our country, but these
are often over-shadowed by the actions of the Machiavellian,
ruthless, and avaricious individuals who have long dominated
the social, economic, religious, and political institutions
comprising the power structure United States of America.
While a nation is an abstraction encompassing many aspects
and dynamics (i.e. its people, culture, government,
resources, etc.) that are in a constant state of flux, there
are at least four elements of the United States which have
remained relatively consistent throughout much of its
1. A wealthy White patriarchy has monopolized most of the
power and wealth.
2. An economic system resting on the pillars of greed and
self-interest has driven the United States to enslave a race
of human beings, commit genocide against another, and to
commit virtually innumerable crimes against humanity in the
pursuit of growth and profit.
3. Disseminating powerful propagandistic messages through a
corporate-owned media and a public school system designed
from the top down to produce obedient consumers and workers,
the ruling elite in the United States has convinced
generations of citizens that their nation is a moral icon
and that American Exceptionalism justifies the slaughter of
millions of innocents.
4. Many in the United States assert that the United States
is a Christian nation. “Christianizing” the “heathen” Native
Americans and the Filipino “savages” provided a
rationalization for annihilating millions of human beings.
Self-righteous hypocrisy and the banner of Christianity have
been staples of the ruling elite in the United States as
they have led their followers on a 200 year spree of
economic and geographic expansion at the expense of those
unfortunate enough to stand in their way. Exemplifying their
latest crusade, in October 2003, newly appointed
undersecretary of defense for intelligence Lt. General
William Boykin emphatically proclaimed that fundamentalist
Muslims hated the United States “because we’re a
Christian nation, because our foundation and roots are
Judeo-Christian…and the enemy is a guy named Satan”
Given that the psyche of most Americans has been battered
with the notion that our country was founded by Christians
intending to form a Christian nation, and that many of those
besieged psyches have acquiesced and accepted this assertion
as dogmatic truth, perhaps an analysis of the founder of
Christianity would be instructive.
Jesus Christ. Was he deity, man, or myth? The answer to that
question depends on one’s point of view. Christians embrace
him as the son of God and a member of the Holy Trinity.
Followers of Islam consider him to be a prophet and holy man
who performed miracles, but do not believe in his divinity.
Some of us in the “pagan” realm simply view him as an
inspirational moral leader. Others doubt that Christ even
Whether he was god, exceptional human or legend, almost all
of our knowledge about Jesus Christ is derived from the
synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And these three
books of the Bible do reveal a story of a remarkable being.
Jesus was a radical agitator and social outcast who
challenged the establishment of his day. A carpenter by
trade, Christ would have been considered one of the working
poor. As is common knowledge, he defied the Sanhedrin’s
insistence on strict adherence to religious law to the
extent that they eventually saw to his crucifixion.
In his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus was stigmatized as a
bastard and shunned as the son of an adulteress. Joseph is
believed to have adopted him, but that apparently did little
to alleviate the situation. Jesus eventually embraced a new
“family” in the sect that followed John the Baptist. Jewish
leaders, whose power was largely dependent upon their Roman
occupiers, came to view John as a serious threat as he
preached loyalty to God over Caesar. Jesus’ equally
tenacious commitment to placing the will of God above that
of a political leader ultimately led him to martyrdom too.
Both men represented serious threats to the social order and
it was virtually inevitable that the ruling class would kill
Aside from the fact that he claimed to be the Messiah and
seriously threatened their authority, the Pharisees feared
and hated Jesus because he developed such a mass following
throughout much of Galilee during his three year ministry.
He won hearts and minds with his messages of redemption and
compassion. Whether it was through the placebo effect,
alleviation of psychosomatic illnesses, or true divine
intervention, Jesus performed many miraculous cures and
exorcisms. Encouraging his considerable throng of followers
to follow the spirit rather than the letter of the law and
asserting corruption in the Temples, Jesus demonstrated that
he was an anarchist capable of initiating a successful
rebellion against the status quo.
Excepting his martyrdom, perhaps his crowning achievement as
a spiritual leader was the Sermon on the Mount. As he spoke,
he shocked his listeners with the Beatitudes in which he
defined the blessed in ways that defied orthodoxy. According
to Christ and his Beatitudes, the blessed and the
inhabitants of the Kingdom of Heaven include mourners, the
hungry, the persecuted, the merciful, the meek, the poor in
spirit, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers.
Note that his criteria for blessedness did not encompass the
aspects of humanity which Americans have been programmed to
worship, including winning; accumulating wealth; attaining
power; being thin, youthful and beautiful; succeeding;
heterosexuality; regular attendance of church; being
Caucasian; and patriotism.
Besides the Beatitudes, Jesus Christ gave us several other
gems of moral wisdom. His “turn the other cheek” metaphor
inspired the powerful non-violent spiritual leadership of
Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The Golden Rule has acted as
a cornerstone of civilized behavior. And Christ’s hyperbole
concerning rich men, camels and eyes of needles has served
as a largely unheeded warning about greed and the
accumulation of excessive wealth.
Were Jesus Christ incarnate today and living in America,
what would he think of a nation inhabited by many who claim
to be followers of the spiritual movement he founded? And
how would the ruling elite of the United States receive him?
Jesus Christ returns to Earth as he was
portrayed in the Gospels at the height of his ministry.
Geographically, his manifestation occurs in a blighted urban
core in a large American city. Despite his humanity, he is
endowed with omniscience and omnipotence. But he will not
use them to change the course of humankind. He is here to
act as a mortal agent of change.
Jesus’ initial reaction to the knowledge flooding his
mind and the assault to his senses is a catatonic state.
Horror at the rapacious and avaricious nature of the United
States’ social order overwhelms his consciousness.
Shaking off the initial shock, he succumbs to a wave of
uncontrollable nausea. Thoughts of institutionalized racism,
the wealth chasm, and the military industrial complex evoke
a burst of primal and toxic hatred. He retches violently.
Having purged his loathing, Jesus sits back and rests
quietly on a soiled mattress someone had dragged into the
garbage strewn alley where he finds himself.
Surrounded by broken bottles, hypodermic needles, and used
prophylactics containing their repulsive spent payloads,
Christ falls into a deep state of reflection which is
unhindered by the scurrying sounds of rats and roaches. As
he contemplates the many horrific atrocities committed in
his name, a resident of the alley brushes past him in a
drunken stupor, urinates in his pants and promptly passes
A country claiming to practice his spirituality spends $600
billion a year on its behemoth murder machine while over two
million of its own people live on the street and eat from
dumpsters. Rage surges through Jesus’ being. He grabs a
chunk of broken brick, hurls it with abandon, and shatters
what is left of a broken window. The thought that his
ministry and martyrdom had spawned such inhumanity
Regaining his calm and composure, Jesus resumes his
What is this abomination called Capitalism? Permeating
nearly every facet of the United States (including his
churches), exploiting human beings and the Earth, demanding
perpetual war, and ensuring the comfort of a few through the
suffering of the many, Capitalism is a cancer that reduces
its blind adherents to empty, soulless shells.
Greed is good? Had his flock truly strayed so far that they
enshrined selfishness, mean-spiritedness, ruthless
competitive instincts, and avarice as virtues? What chance
would his message of compassion and peace have competing
with the clever propaganda and allure of immediate
gratification purveyed by the likes of Fox, McDonald’s,
Wal-Mart, and Rush Limbaugh?
Grief-stricken, he cries in despair for the Native
Americans, Black Americans, and the tens of millions of
victims of the imperialist United States foreign policy in
Latin America, Africa, the Philippines, Vietnam, Iraq, and
Palestine. He smiles briefly at the thought of Judea and
Galilee and feels a twinge of home-sickness. Joy and
nostalgia are short-lived as thoughts of Palestinian
suffering at the hands of the merciless Israeli government
quickly intrude on his nostalgic reminiscence.
It perplexes him that the United States has not lived up to
the rich promise spawned by the American Revolution that
broke the shackles of tyranny against tremendous odds. Early
Americans had created a phenomenal instrument with which to
govern a nation when they wrote the Constitution. They even
included a mechanism to amend its inherent flaws (i.e. the
legalization of slavery). But despite the valiant struggle
of many poor, working class, and minority Americans, the de
facto tyranny of wealthy elitists has endured.
Jesus concludes that many Americans were amongst the
blessed he had enumerated in the Sermon on the Mount and
that many Americans would enter his Kingdom. Yet he agonizes
over those millions who had succumbed to the propaganda and
sold their souls for the hollow rewards offered by the
“American Way”. Torment consumes him as he realizes that
conspicuous consumption, aggressive militarism, overt and
covert racism, abject inhumanity, torture, theft of land and
resources, corruption, “win at all cost”, survival of the
fittest, and pathological self-absorption are the hallmarks
of the social and political systems of the United States.
Jesus marvels that so many people would fall prey to such
obvious spiritual cancers.
Limping severely, a one-armed man with a very bad
prosthesis, matted gray hair, and a badly tattered Army
jacket flops himself onto the mattress next to Jesus. He
smells of alcohol and stale urine. Vacant eyes transfixed on
the alley wall before him, he mutters unintelligibly as he
pulls a rancid-smelling piece of meat from his pocket and
begins gingerly munching with the remaining stumps of his
severely decayed teeth.
Christ feels overwhelmed with compassion and embraces the
man. There is little response, but he does feel a slight
shudder. This coupled with the fact that the man does not
reject the embrace satisfies Jesus that at some level of his
being, the hapless itinerant welcomes human contact and
kindness. Jesus realizes that this man had answered
America’s call to “fight for his country” in Vietnam.
Abandoned by the government he had served, this lost soul
had been condemned to suffer a living hell of homelessness,
untreated PTSD, and substance abuse.
Suddenly Jesus had an epiphany. Despite being one of the
wealthiest societies in human history, the United States has
a homeless population of about two million. As a fisher of
men, he would troll America’s cities, reaping a bountiful
harvest of loyal followers from amongst the homeless and
other disenfranchised groups. And he would start with the
human derelict he had just embraced.
Jesus begins laying out his strategy to his first disciple.
As Christ talks, the despondent man’s vacant expression is
replaced by a crooked smile and a look of enthusiasm. He
feasts upon a small loaf of fresh bread from Christ’s
goatskin bag and listens to Jesus’ message of hope and
redemption. Jesus talks for several hours. His willing
adherent absorbs his words like a desiccated sponge.
Jesus speaks of his vision to cast out his net, gathering
millions of loyal followers from amongst the homeless, poor,
gays, minorities, the working class, and other people who
felt powerless to stop the momentum of the corporatocracy in
Washington. Reminding his disciple that the strength of his
moral revolution will lie in the sheer number of
participants, Jesus predicts that tens of millions will
abandon working and shopping to join him in a triumphant
non-violent march on Washington. Crippled by the loss of its
cogs, the profit and war machine would finally grind to a
Feeling mildly annoyed, Jesus pauses briefly to brush away a
fly that had been persistently buzzing about his face.
Continuing his monologue, Jesus reveals that he plans to
expose the true weakness of the iniquitous corporate
militarists ruling the United States by awakening the
millions of Americans it had psychologically enslaved. He
would free those who had been deluded into giving their
blood, sweat, tears, and children to expand a malevolent
economic empire. He would lay the nightmare to rest and
awaken the dream.
A sharp screech of tires gives Jesus and his newly anointed
apostle a jolt. Two powerfully built men with close-cropped
hair and serious expressions emerge from an ominous-looking
black SUV with heavily tinted windows. With the quick
precision of a trained assassin, one of the “men in black”
snaps the disciple’s neck. The other snatches Jesus by his
hair and hurls him into the back of the Escalade…
Awakening in a mental fog induced by heavy sedation,
Jesus struggles to remember what had happened. Barely lucid,
he slowly takes in his surroundings. He is in a small cell
dimly illuminated by a lone flickering candle. It is chilly
and the air is dank. Seated at a small table in front of
him, a simple-looking man is glaring at him with deep
contempt. Jesus notes a rotund male figure wearing a
permanent snarl and a cruel looking woman with dark skin
hovering nearby. He senses that wickedness and deceit are
habitual with this trio.
Despite his significantly inferior intellect, it is
obvious to Jesus that the two others maintain the pretense
that the man at the table is their leader.
“I am George W. Bush. I am President of the
United States and the leader of the free world. Our spies at
the NSA were monitoring your conversation in the alley. We
know of your terrorist plot to destroy freedom and democracy
in America. I am declaring you an enemy combatant.”
Brimming with smug arrogance, Bush leans back in his
chair and locks his fingers behind his head. He trains his
gaze on Jesus with the air of one studying an insect and
contemplating whether or not to squash such an inferior
Finally he returns his attention to the script laid before
him. After several minutes of careful study, he gives Jesus,
Cheney and Condoleezza a start by forcefully slamming his
fist onto the rickety wooden table. Feeling triumphant
because he is about to vanquish a tremendous threat to the
established power structure, he begins speaking again,
“You are a threat to national security. Like
that MLK bastard, your goal is to empower the poor,
minorities, and the other groups we keep oppressed to
protect our selfish interests. You would awaken the masses
to our moral bankruptcy and to the foolish
self-destructiveness of supporting us.
I cannot let that happen. My wealthy base has spent years
selling Americans on the virtues of war, greed, free trade,
free markets, tax cuts for the rich, cutting social
programs, surrendering their rights for security, and mixing
religion and government.
Millions of Americans need to remain
indifferent to our wealth obtained by exploiting billions of
people, the prison system we have used to replace slavery
and Jim Crow, the millions we slaughter to feed the military
industrial complex, and the torture of enemy combatants like
Many of my people believe that I have a personal
relationship with you and that your Father guides me on a
divine mission. They must continue believing these atrocious
We learned from the mistake of the Roman and
the Jewish leaders. You will not get a second chance at
martyrdom. I have decided to rendition you. You will simply
disappear and die anonymously in a torture dungeon in
Wearing a confident smirk, the self-satisfied little man
fires a question at Jesus,
“Well, Jesus? What do you have to say?”
Shedding tears born of profound melancholy, Jesus responds,
“In the words of the inimitable Russian
novelist, if God does not exist, then everything is
Jesus then sighs heavily, looks heavenward, and makes a
“Father, forgive them. Despite the fact that
they know what they do. And Father. I beg you to have mercy
on the souls of their many wretched victims.”
Jason Miller is a 39 year old sociopolitical essayist
with a degree in liberal arts and an extensive
self-education (derived from an insatiable appetite for
reading). He is a member of Amnesty International and an
avid supporter of Oxfam International and Human Rights
Watch. He welcomes responses at
or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at