Do the Gospels Portray Jesus as a Woke Socialist Groomer?
“I have said this before, and I’ll say it again: If Jesus Christ was alive today, He would be called a groomer, He would be called woke, and He would be called a socialist if He was alive today and speaking the message he spoke in the gospels today about treating everybody with dignity.” Matthew Dowd, MSNBC (https://www.theblaze.com/news/matthew-dowd-msnbc-jesus-groomer-woke)
To respond to this claim, I will firstly give definitions:
- Woke: aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice) (Miriam Webster online dictionary)
- Socialist: one who advocates or practices socialism which is defined as:1. any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done (Miriam Webster online dictionary)
- Grooming: When a sexual or other kind of predator sets the stage for abusing another, such as a child or other person (as in the case of sex and theory human trafficking). (Urban Dictionary online)
I am not aware of the definitions used by Mr. Dowd. I have reached out to MSNBC and Mr Dowd for a response, but as of today, I have not gotten a response. Absent a response, I will resort to using the above well-recognized definitions.
In a careful reading of the four gospels, Jesus is presented as a man who cared about and loved individual people who came across his path. He encouraged individual people to love and care for one another. As a man faithfully submitted to following God’s law, He would have certainly been aware of the command in Deut. 27:19 which states: Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow – although there is no record of Him commenting on it. Did he, however encourage people to be aware of and attentive to issues of racial and social justice? I see no textual support for such a claim. I do not see a single text of Him encouraging others along those lines. As a matter of fact, there are no texts that record Him saying anything about race. He did see a distinction between Jews, Gentiles and Samaritans (Matt. 10:1-14) but He did not specifically instruct concerning racism. Again, as a matter of fact, Jesus never once talked about the general societal problems at all. He was not seeking to change the society. He was seeking to change individual lives to righteousness and faithful submission to the Father.
Nothing in the gospels indicate that Jesus taught racial equity or social justice nor indicated a social movement towards such.
No matter which of the several definitions of socialism you pick above, Jesus did not teach nor advance socialism in any way as recorded in the gospels. He spoke twice generally about how to treat money (don’t lay up treasures on earth, rather lay them up in heaven Mt 6.19-21 and don’t serve both God and money Mt 6.24) and told His disciples to render unto Caesar what was Caesar’s by paying taxes (Matt. 12:13-17). Concerning goods and property, He said, “if someone sues and takes your tunic, give also your coat; if forced to go a mile, go two; to him who asks or borrows; love you enemies, bless those cursing you, do good to those hating you, pray for those who are persecuting you (Mt 5.40-44 ; Lk 6.27-26) He never told people to turn over their goods and property to the government and allow them to distribute it fairly. He never advocated collective ownership of anything. He did say that on the judgment day to. ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matt. 23:35) wherein He was declaring that his true followers would be compassionate and caring to those in physical need.
Nothing in the gospels indicate Jesus taught or encouraged collectivization of people nor a change in the society’s economic system.
The gospels say very little about Jesus and children, but what is does say, indicates He cared for them and wanted them to be received; “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, (Matt. 18:5) He wanted His disciples to allow them to come to Him: allow the little children to come to me” (Mk 10.13-16; Mt 19.13-15; Lk 18.15-17). Finally, He warned that anyone who caused believing children to stumble (in their faith) would suffer: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matt. 18:6)
Nothing in the gospels indicate that Jesus was a sexual predator with children. He was a child protector.
In conclusion, nothing in the gospels show Jesus teaching or acting in such a way that warrants portraying Him as a socialist, nor as a woke person, nor as a groomer of children. To see Him as such would require bringing those ideas into the text, not reading it out of them. As to Mr. Dowd’s final claim that Jesus taught about treating everyone with dignity, that may be inferred from His teaching to treat everyone lovingly, but those are not equal concepts. I wonder if Mr. Dowd considered that Jesus was treating the self-righteous religious leaders with dignity when He said, ““Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” (Matt. 23:27)
Someone could claim that they see Jesus as a one legged midget atheist. They are free to think what they wish. They are even free to say that the texts teach that. Demonstrating that such is reasonable is a far far different thing. People are free to create the Son of God in their own image… but it doesn’t make it true.
PS. I would encourage caution to Mr. Dowd. Jesus indicated that someday we all will answer to Jesus about what we said about Him. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)
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