The Hijacking of Evangelicalism
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
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Jesus was indeed advising poor people ways to deal with oppression, but he advocated no revolt, as it was clear that revolt movements were all the service of even more rogue elements within the establishment (like the road-cutting sicarii who were first of all a mafia taxing everyone who badly needed the roads to go to work or to have foodstuffs at an affordable price), nor social transformation of a too definite kind, as it would be tantamount to changes in names rather than in reality, like replacing slavery with the laws of market or of a more authoritarian state. First of all his opinion was to oppression in Palestine not at all Roman in essence, but far more Jewish Pharisee : the oppression was not so much from without that from noxious mental constructs within themselves implanted by intellectuals everyone thought to be their best representatives. If it had been for the Romans alone the poor were better off under pure Roman rule than under the Law as the scribes had put it, witness that the Romans at least built public baths, latrines and other minimal facilities the official representatives of the religious law denied to the poor. The Roman state, though gross and slavery-based, had a potential for incremental betterment the Jewish law of that time just hadn’t, as it called itself perfect.