The Crucifixion of
Christ, American Style
By Jerry Ghinelli
"For God so loved
the world..." he returned his only begotten son to the land
where he shed his grace on thee.
Vindication for the faithful,
rejoicing for the true believers, it was the second coming
of Christ—and he was coming to America. Not to bring
Armageddon, but to save mankind from Armageddon.
Jesus will make his first
appearance at the intersection of the streets appropriately
named "Liberty" and "Church" in New York City, located at
what has come to be known as "Ground Zero."
Lower Manhattan was virtually
shut down as millions of the faithful and curious flooded
the streets to get a glimpse of the second coming of their
lord and savior.
Even the New York Stock
Exchange suspended trading as the crowds swelled from the
Battery to midtown Manhattan. The joy and hope that Christ
was bringing was palpable—breathtaking, you might say—in the
near carnival-like atmosphere that was created in lower
Songs like "Jesus Is Just All Right With Me,"
"Amazing Grace" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" played from
loudspeakers where the Twin Towers had once stood. American
flags and crosses were everywhere.
Martin Luther King’s "dream"
was now a reality, as black men and white men, Jews and
Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, young and old, "red
staters" and "blue staters," even atheists and agnostics,
all joined hands in love and friendship at this celebration
of the second coming of the Prince of Peace.
The media frenzy was
It was "all Jesus all the
time": round-the-clock coverage as priests, rabbis, and even
an ayatollah appeared as expert commentators to explain what
this all meant and what we should think.
Mel Gibson, who produced the
film "The Passion of the Christ," was interviewed on so many
television stations the joke was he must have a double. A
female CNN reporter facetiously asked if the handsome
Gibson’s identical twin was married.
The night before, the new Pope,
Benedict XVI, gave a rare interview with Mike Wallace from
the CBS News show, "60 Minutes." And for good reason: This
was to be "the greatest story ever told."
On vacation at his ranch in
Crawford, Texas, President Bush read a brief statement,
calling the second coming of Christ a "miracle of faith,"
and formally welcoming him to America. Bush ended his
remarks by declaring, "Let freedom reign and God bless
Christ had chosen to begin
speaking at 8:46 a.m., the precise time when, on September
11, 2001, the first plane smashed into the North Tower of
the World Trade Center.
The clock in the corner of the
TV screen read "Countdown to Jesus" as the minutes and
seconds ticked away. It looked a little like we were about
to launch the Space Shuttle, one reporter noted.
At exactly 8:46 a.m., there was
a sudden, immediate, "deafening" silence, almost as if the
world had ended. Then Jesus Christ appeared alone before a
massive bank of microphones, placed just two blocks north of
Ground Zero on a little street appropriately named "Trinity
Looking much as he did two
thousand years ago, the longhaired, bearded Jesus Christ,
shabbily dressed in a robe and sandals, began to speak in a
"Shalom, salaam and may peace
be with you," he offered.
"I, Jesus of Nazareth, use this
sacred ground to symbolize where over four years ago, at
this exact moment, man’s inhumanity to man was broadcast
live for the entire world to bear witness to.
"Those who committed these
barbaric acts thought of themselves as ‘believers,’ but only
a believer in Satan could commit such a heinous act," said
The applause rang out like
booming thunder, echoing off the skyscrapers along the
narrow streets of lower Manhattan, and down the section of
Broadway known as the Canyon of Heroes. Shouts of
"hallelujah, hallelujah" sent goose bumps up people’s arms.
The faithful were not crying; they were sobbing. Some people
For the viewers at home, in the
corner of TV screens a small woman provided sign language
for the hearing impaired.
Christ continued. "But I come
before America today, for she is the greatest danger to
world peace since Genesis.
"To suggest that God, our
father, would ever be on the side of an America—or any
country, for that matter—which attacks poor, defenseless,
impoverished people out of revenge, fear, ignorance or
greed, contradicts everything I stand for today and, more
importantly, died for two thousand years ago."
On the streets and watching at
home and at work, the American people were in "shock and
awe" at this blunt criticism from their lord and savior.
A few cheered, but Christ’s
condemnation of America’s response to the evils of 9/11 and
of their President, Bush—the born-again man of faith, leader
of the greatest country on earth—drew immediate and harsh
Christian conservatives went on
the attack, charging that Christ was wrong to criticize Bush
while he was fighting the evil forces of Satan in his
divinely inspired worldwide crusade on the war on terror.
Christ, as one remarked, seemed to speak with a French
accent, and sounded a lot like a bleeding-heart liberal.
Fearing that Christ’s message
might undermine troop morale in Iraq and Afghanistan
conservative Republicans launched an urgent campaign to—as
they term it—"swift-boat" Christ.
"Swift-boat" is a new verb in
the American lexicon, meaning "to smear in the name of
truth, justice and freedom."
A Conservative evangelical
group from the Bible Belt was quickly formed, named "The
Twelve Veteran Disciples for Truth."
Using only their first names,
Peter, Paul, James, John, Andy, Phil, Bart, Matthew, Simon,
Thad, Tom, along with their spokesman, Judas, appeared
together on Fox News to, as they stated, "set the record
They all claimed to have
ancestors who served with Jesus back in the Middle East, and
stated that his message of "love your enemies" was outdated
and dangerous in these troubled times, when terrorists and
evildoers lurk around every corner and can strike at any
"George W. Bush is a strong and
sincere proponent of Christianity, a strong advocate of
using military force to attack—even pre-emptively attack—our
enemies. Notice that I say ‘attack,’ not ‘love’," said
Vice President Dick Cheney,
appearing with former Georgia Senator Zell Miller before a
uniformed military audience in Texas, suggested that Jesus’
"love your enemy" message was a thinly veiled liberal
euphemism that meant Christ wants to cut the defense budget
and reduce the federal funding for the body armor badly
needed by our brave young men and women in harm’s way.
"Let he without sin cast the
first spitball," Cheney mocked, to a standing ovation from
The American media, which loves
simple soundbites to always entertain and sometimes inform,
played Cheney's clever spitball line over and over ad
One enterprising young
Republican trademarked the term "Let he without sin cast the
first spitball," embroidered it on t-shirts and is selling
them on eBay, along with a scowling "have you hugged a
terrorist today" teddy bear wearing a little turban.
On his daily radio program,
Rush Limbaugh—the lord of the airwaves, the voice of the
people, his excellency in broadcasting, revered by millions
of "ditto heads" —asked whether the wounds Jesus suffered
during his crucifixion had possibly been exaggerated.
According to Limbaugh: "Thorns
can only cause flesh wounds, and nails in your hands and
feet are not lethal."
Nails, Limbaugh went on with a
chuckle, "should be an occupational hazard for Jesus Christ,
the carpenter from Nazareth . "What’s next, Christ building
houses for the poor, along with the second most annoying
liberal, that other bleeding heart carpenter, Jimmy Carter?"
Limbaugh mocked .
Immediately after the show, on
were steel-toed workboots adorned with the American flag, a
pair of "thorn-resistant" "holy" garden gloves, and a box of
Band Aids with tiny red crosses should the gloves
On his program, radical
preacher and firebrand television evangelist Pat Robertson
referred to Christ’s "meek shall inherit the earth" remark
as "communist infiltration and extremism."
He suggests, like Limbaugh,
that the liberal Christ is soft on the freedom-hating
Islamic evildoers who detest our values.
Robertson went so far as to say
that Christ was dangerous, and posed the question "perhaps
someone needs to take him out before he brings on
President Bush, speaking to new
Marine recruits at Paris Island, praised the Lord Jesus and
thanked him for his sacrifices. The President, who speaks to
God regularly, insisted, however, that God also put him on
this earth during these dangerous times to do his will.
"Christ is my brother," Bush
emphasized, "and brothers often have differences of opinion,
that’s all. Christ believes in turning the other cheek; I
prefer an eye for and eye. Or, as we say in Texas—dead or
alive," he said to applause from his troops.
"Semper fi," shouted Bush.
Bush declared, "Jesus has never
been elected to any public office. I come to work every day
as your Commander–in-Chief with war on my mind. Christ
speaks of peace this and love that… all kinds of dangerous
messages in the post 9/11 world, when we have been attacked
by the evildoers who can’t stand our freedoms," Bush said,
to a standing ovation.
Bush ended his speech by
reciting his own version of "The Lord’s Prayer":
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as
it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And never forgive the
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into
and deliver the U.S. from evil.
The Democrats, eager to dispel
rumors that they will forever be irrelevant, have got into
the act." .
Fearing that the compassionate
Christ might be pro-life, they have set out to—as they term
Like "swift-boat," "Bork,"
taken from the name of the rejected Supreme Court nominee
Robert Bork, has also become a verb meaning "to publicly
destroy the character of those opposed to the Democrats’
single issue of abortion."
Teams of lawyers paid for by
the Democrats, many of whom, opponents allege, have never
read a Bible, sworn on a Bible or seen a Bible except in a
motel room, are now scouring the Bible to determine whether
Jesus, two thousand years ago, may have had an inappropriate
relationship with Mary Magdalene and engaged in a sexual
relationship with a subordinate.
Former President Bill Clinton
advising the Democrats, as an expert in this area, stated
emphatically, "Jesus did not have sexual relations with that
With Clinton's declaration,
Democrats ended the investigation and went back to their
The editorial page of the Wall
Street Journal stepped in and was sharply critical of
Christ’s message that "the love of money is the root of all
evil and that it would be easier for a camel to fit through
the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom
Greed, according to the Wall
Street Journal is good; greed works; greed is what made
They added that "to render unto
Caesar what is Caesar’s" suggests that Christ is in favor of
raising taxes to fund liberal social programs and increase
handouts to welfare mothers.
Jewish groups, fearing that
Christ—who was, after all, born in Bethlehem,
Palestine—would be sympathetic to Palestinian suffering and
thus would oppose increased military aid for Israel, labeled
When reminded Christ was born
Jewish they amended the label to "self-hating Jew."
Catholics, fearing that this
time around not only would Christ clear the temples, but the
churches too, were quietly distancing themselves from their
lord and savior. With sky-rocketing insurance premiums
caused by the lawsuits stemming from the church’s sex
scandal, Saturday Night Bingo is needed now more than ever
and must not be interrupted.
President Bush’s press
secretary has denied reports suggesting he was the
source of the leak that begs the question "when did Christ
stop beating his gay wife."
Sensing blood in the water, the
Republican spin machine revved up to full throttle.
Ann Coulter, the
"angelic"-looking "Republican Party Doll," appeared on The
O'Reilly Factor in a pure white dress with a Victorian
collar, her Rapunzel-like blond hair gleaming; under the set
lighting. O'Reilly, complimented Coulter saying she reminded
him tonight of "Glinda, the good witch of the north in the
Wizard of Oz." However, some critics suggested she sounded
more like the "wicked witch of the west" when she said:
"...with his sandals, long hair and beard, Christ bore an
eerie resemblance to Osama bin Laden." O'Reilly said nothing
but nodded his approval.
But the coup de grace for Jesus
was when Judas, the spokesman for "The Twelve Veteran
Disciples for Truth," approached the Justice Department with
evidence that the Middle Eastern–born, bearded Christ, who
speaks Arabic and is in the US illegally, is a card-carrying
member of Al Qaeda.
Judas charged that Christ was
not the son of God, but rather the son of Allah.
With silver selling today
at about $16.81
an ounce, thirty pieces of silver—about $504—just
doesn’t buy what it did two thousand years ago. So Judas
opted for his "fifteen
minutes of fame" instead.
He is scheduled to appear on
"Oprah" tomorrow, "Larry King Live" at night and "Good
Morning America" the next day.
President Bush has invited him
to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, for some spiritual
guidance. Judas, it is expected, will assist the President
in "clearing brush" at his
sprawling Texas compound this Easter
All suggestions regarding book deals and movie rights are
referred to Judas’s agent at the William Morris Agency in
With Christ-approval numbers
now in the single digits, and with compelling evidence from
the "disciples for truth" that Christ is a member of Al
Qaeda, he was arrested under the provisions of the US
Patriot Act and whisked off to an undisclosed location.
The indigent, penniless Christ
was represented in court by a public defender who appealed
Christ’s incarceration all the way up to the US Supreme
Justice Antonin Scalia, who is
of Italian ancestry tracing back to ancient Rome, when
speaking for the court refused to hear the appeal. In a
tersely worded opinion for a unanimous court, he stated: "We
wash our hands of this case."
The High Court, however, then
overturned the twenty-five-year sentence of
(MCI) C.E.O. Bernard "Bernie" Ebbers, declaring that
his rights under the 8th Amendment, prohibiting cruel and
unusual punishment, were violated.
Ebbers was immediately released
back into society and received a hero’s welcome in his
hometown. Signs of "Give us Bernard" appeared everywhere.
Outside the court at Christ’s
hearing, one lone supporter of Christ held up a sign that
read "crucify the sinless, and set the guilty free." He was
Accompanied by his legal aid
lawyer, Christ was returned to the courtroom from his
undisclosed location, along with two other prisoners.
Dressed in an orange jumpsuit
and shackled at the wrists and ankles, he looked gaunt and
sad at his circumstances.
His public defender angrily
referred to this proceeding as a "high-tech crucifixion."
The public defender was immediately cited for contempt of
Christ never spoke during the
brief hearing, except when the judge asked him if he had any
final words before sentencing.
"Yes, your honor. Father, forgive them, once again,
for they know not what they do."
Jerry Ghinelli writes
essays exclusively for Information Clearing House (
) and contributes his time and efforts as a private citizen,
with the hope of encouraging readers to think more broadly
about the important issues that threaten the peace and
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