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Commentary Last Updated: Mar 20th, 2007 - 23:46:06

What if Jesus disrupted the New York Stock Exchange?
By Dennis Rahkonen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Mar 21, 2007, 00:41

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If, as the old adage goes, money is the root of all evil, then why aren�t conservative capitalists who routinely abandon all morality to profit by hook or crook -- by vicious exploitation and terrible carnage -- deemed the most wicked beings on earth?

Why, when their sins and crimes are so awful, do we focus instead on the supposed wrongfulness of gays desiring to marry, date-raped teenaged girls seeking abortion, innocent immigrants wanting better lives, etc.?

The reason, of course, is that the sweatshop proprietors, war profiteers, and silk-suited resource thieves who steal Third World natural wealth (such as Iraq�s oil) and comprise the most immoral, reactionary sector of Big Business and High Finance . . . need to divert attention from themselves, the better to laugh all the way to the bank.

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and their smarmy, mercenary ilk are entrusted to keep the masses duped, leading poor, debt-ridden folks who can barely make it from one month to the next to think that their problems -- which clearly stem from systemic injustice that benefits avaricious owners and hierarchs -- are, somehow, actually caused by a series of demonized scapegoats.

As a result, many deceived Americans become completely oblivious to larcenous fingers constantly lifting dollars from their ever-thinning wallets.

They�ll also proudly send their children to fight in rich men�s dirty wars overseas, unaware that any victory that might be achieved would likely result in the establishment of ultra low-wage manufacturing zones, to which possibly the very companies that sign their paychecks could run away, after cruelly closing their domestic plants.

And, when their kids perish in such hideously unethical conflicts, their arrival home in metal caskets doesn�t trigger revelatory rage, as it plainly should, but continued, teary-eyed adherence to the callous myth that their sacrifice was for a noble purpose, and America�s legitimate defense.

Consequently, more �hometown heroes� are lowered beneath cemetery sod, accompanied by overblown, jingoistic ritual that tricks other young men and women to fill the empty combat boots of those already sacrificed.

So the cycle of slaughter is perpetuated, as figures slavishly beholden to Wall Street�s worst, most greedily shameful elements press the White House to �surge� into broader, deeper conflagration.

Painful decades may pass before surviving family members finally realize what all the medals from the president, and that folded flag, were really for. Or perhaps they�ll go to their graves still accepting lies.

If only Jesus would actually return, not as the gentle Nazarene carpenter who presented the other cheek, but as the social revolutionary who angrily strode into the usurious moneychangers� temple, knocking tables and coins to the floor.

What a sight it would be to see the righteous enemy of corrupt principalities and powers unleashed on the New York Stock Exchange!

�To Hell with Halliburton, Bechtel, and Blackwater! Damnation upon Exxon/Mobil!�

Of course, he�d quickly be seized and crucified again, as a �terrorist.� Undoubtedly, countless members of churches founded in his name would applaud the execution, deeming the victim an apostate impostor.

I�m not traditionally religious, and I don�t consider Christ miraculous. That�s because I know him as my friend, and brother.

He�s the down-on-his-luck fellow who panhandles for quarters on the sidewalk, getting rousted by police obeying Chamber of Commerce edicts to keep the business district free of �undesirables.�

He�s the person I went to school with, who suffered major setbacks in life, losing his grip on reality in the process. He sleeps in a cardboard box by the railroad tracks, muttering oddly when he chooses to speak at all.

Jesus also does some gender-shifting and becomes female when a teenager, who got involuntarily pregnant on a date with that �good� Republican family�s son, quakes in fear over telling her strict father about what happened.

No, Christ won�t materialize from Heaven in a flash of fiery glory.

�As you do unto the least of these, so too you do unto me.�

He�s already here, in the form of each downtrodden, abused, oppressed soul whose condition -- when you really think about it -- is caused by human degradation resulting from some people trying to advance their status by holding others back, for selfish gain.

Christ is really Everyman (and woman), beset by the Herods of our time. He�s even the Limbaugh listener, still too hoodwinked to comprehend, or to meaningfully act in his own behalf.

Which means that true salvation will entail a collective rising, not into the sky, but to unequivocal justice in the temporal realm.

We won�t be lifted from our shoes in a magical Rapture. We�ll have to mutually lift ourselves, through hard instruction and struggle, to a societal norm where realizing public welfare and the common good supplants private-profit mammon worship, and all of the pernicious harm it generates.

It won�t be easy, and it won�t happen soon, but faith in fundamental human decency and the expectation that we won�t destroy the planet by never seeing the light and thereby assuring eternal darkness . . . leads us to believe.

And all great triumphs initially begin with belief.

Dennis Rahkonen of Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing for various progressive outlets since the �60s.  He can be reached at

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