I heard a rumor that – just in time for Christmas – a noted Christian publisher will be releasing its new Antifa Study Bible. Informed by current social themes, the gift Bible includes a flammable, tear-out section containing passages offensive to modern readers. The remaining eight pages of scriptural quotations, handsomely bound in Corinthian leather, include several words from Jesus, the lyrics to “Imagine”, and a tribute to Moloch’s visionary nexus of fire and birth control.
The editor I reached for comment apparently misunderstood my concern. “I know, I know,” he said, “Jesus had his racial blind spots regarding ‘Gentiles’, and bought into the misogyny of the whole Judaic tradition, but he did knock over some tables and threaten to tear down the temple. In the end, I’d say he’s one of us.”
“B-but,” I stammered, “that’s not right! Jesus didn’t come to ‘abolish the law and prophets, but to fulfill them’.”
“Oh, I know,” he chuckled, “and we put that passage in the flammable section, of course, but one must make allowances. I can’t very well sell a Bible with no Jesus in it, can I?”
“But why sell a Bible at all, if the historic Jesus is offensive to your audience?”
“Ah, well,” he said soothingly. “I can see you don’t understand marketing, my boy. The churches are full of people who are offended by the historic Jesus – or would be if they knew who he was. But Jesus is bigger than history. Nicer, you know. More symbolic. His ideals transcend those dodgy old Bible stories and hard-nosed moral platitudes. It’s like he said, there’s ‘nothing to kill or die for’. We’re ‘a brotherhood of man’ and all that.”
“Uh, no, that was John Lennon,” I said.
“Same difference,” he said, brightly. “Look, people really like Jesus, so let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. We can get rid of religion but keep Jesus. Better still, Jesus will get rid of religion for us, once we cut him loose from all that dogma, which nobody cares about anyway.”
“But he cared about it. He said none of it should be changed.”
“Ah, well, don’t be too hard on him. And I admit, his statues may have to come down, too, but let’s give it a year. Long enough, at least, to get us through this election.”
“What’s the election have to do with it?”
“Those churches full of people I mentioned? Well, lots of ‘em will be on our side if we do this right, and after that, it won’t matter. Just remember: Jesus Is Nice. And that can mean just about anything.”
“Even the opposite of what Jesus taught, you mean…”
“It doesn’t matter what he taught. They’re not looking for instruction, they’re looking for comfort.”
I hung up, shaking my head and wondering if he was right or if this was all just a bad dream.
* * *
(Note: This story is fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons, businesses, or products is purely coincidental.)