Pat Robertson: absolute master of the market of creepy corporate Christianity. A real demonic agent, typifying Christ's warning about knowing people through their deeds and not merely their claims about being Christians.
I say "alleged" because after all who really knows what a Christian is anyway, and especially a true Christian? Yes, Christ bothered to tell everyone, even though the Bible tells us the word "Christian" wasn't used until some time after the Crucifixion.
But then that is really the point of this article, to remind you again of how very little of what Jesus Christ said, or is reported to have said in the Bible, has anything to do with what so many right-wing Christians today either believe, or do. In fact, it is absolutely bizarre to listen to these devout non-Jesus-quoting Christians passionately quoting scriptures from all over the Bible that sound absolutely nutty compared to what Jesus actually said.
For example, Jesus was often depicted in the NT challenging convention, and authorities, not defending it or them. While later on, Paul (who recall never met Jesus) argued that Christians needed to obey state authority—because he said God was responsible for placing worldly masters in the leadership positions—Jesus said nothing like that. While Jesus did say it was appropriate to give the state its due, meaning to return to the state what the state has given to you (like money in taxes), he also plainly went out of his way to upset any authorities that were due for a Christian critique.
One of the main targets for Jesus' criticisms were rich people. In fact, the eternal inequality of rich versus poor was just as apparent in Jesus' time as in our own. Jewish culture in fact, mirroring a basic human attitude throughout history, viewed material wealth as a sign of blessing from God, and an indication the rich or blessed person was "good" in the eyes of the Lord. The poor person, on the other hand, clearly had come up short in God's estimation, and was getting shorted in the material rewards he received.
Jesus confronted this view, and said it was expressive of an Earth-centric attitude that viewed material well-being as the chief benefit of a faithful life. The Christian, on the other hand, Jesus said was looking for his reward in service and sacrifice for others—not in self-aggrandizement and personal fortunes. Even the publicly pious figure, who made a big show of his faith so all would see it, was in Jesus' view a vain figure who had already obtained all the reward he was going to get.
As for the rich, Jesus plainly said they were going to Hell—at least they would have to be headed there if it was decided on the virtues of their merits alone. The famous comparison Jesus used was that the rich had less chance of getting into heaven than a camel has of passing through the eye of a needle. The rich, Jesus said, needed Grace and only that divine intervention might give them a pass from falling into perdition forever.
Why did Jesus think the rich were so hopeless? Mainly, it was because their faith and devotion could only ever be Earth-centered, and more specifically, self-centered. The rich were narcissists, completely in love with themselves and their wealth, and incapable of caring about others or for God. They were, in other words, a lot like Satan. This notion, of the rich being something like a parasitical infestation on the human body, or the Body of Christ, has gained support as studies have shown the rich lack basic empathy that is required for the poor to survive. Scientists have concluded that the rich are selfish and lack empathy for others mainly because they can be—they have the wealth and power to ignore the needs and suffering of other people.
And that leads us then to a consideration of what is going on in the United States Congress these days. So un-Christian is the attitude amongst the leading old men of the Congress, that the satirical magazine The Onion did a piece a while back making fun of the notion that the leadership in Congress was acting like a bunch of terrorists, who had taken America's children hostage and were threatening to kill them unless the nation forked over a huge bunch of cash—$14 trillion!
Many of the members of Congress seeking to gut programs for the unemployed and the poor and other needy Americans, wear little crosses around their necks. They imagine they are following the teachings of Jesus, by denying government benefits to the poor. How is it they can get things so backwards and so wrong? In part, it is the American tradition of Christianity, which has always viewed religion, and particularly Christianity, as a commercial venture and opportunity.
[Note: this article was written some months ago, and not published, but I thought it was timely again, and went ahead and published it today. I hope to expand on the last point a bit more in the future, but I would just advise anybody looking into American Christianity to note that branding Christianity as American had a number of interesting consequences. For example, a lot of weirdos had the freedom here to forge all kinds of variations on the Christian themes. And of course a lot of allegedly good and pious people have made a fortune peddling Christianity to American rubes (which on spiritual questions would seem to describe the vast majority of the population). I would just say this: Mitt Romney is an outstanding example of a pious Mormon—not a good Christian really, nor even a good Mormon in theory—but a truly great Mormon in practice. And yes, his silly butt is well-stuck in the eye of the needle. So is the LDS's butt, and the Catholics, and the butts of all the giant religious corporations.]