I just read a superb essay by Harvey Wasserman at Free Press. It makes the point that the historical Jesus would go absolutely bonkers at the attitudes, behaviors and actions of many of those who today invoke his name to spread the message of hatred, suspicion and intolerance.
Here's a snippet. I invite all to go read the whole tract.
As we enter another Easter Season, it's become all too obvious that if Christ returns, those who hate in his name will slime him, then kill him.
Christ was a long-haired peace activist who would have been sickened to his soul by the war in Iraq. "Blessed are the peacemakers" Jesus said in his defining Sermon on the Mount. "Turn the other cheek...Love thy neighbor."
Such hippie-radical ideals are the "Christian" right wing's worst nightmare. The GOP would never tolerate an upstart like Jesus gathering a following in the face of their corporate-fundamentalist crusade. These are self-proclaimed Christians who love power but would despise the actual Christ, just as they love a Zionist Israel but believe actual Jews are doomed to Hell.
In the wake of Jesus's inspiring life of non-violent rebellion, a perverse liturgy weighted by twenty centuries of intolerant bloodthirsty bigotry has erupted in his name. Attacks on people of color, on nations with oil, on humans of the same gender who love each other, on youth who enjoy sex….all have become staples of a new fundamentalist crusade doing in Christ's name things that would have left him horrified.
In large part through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus came to be viewed as Divine because he spoke eloquently for a gracious, loving God.
Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, George Bush and their corporate-fundamentalist minions speak to and for a very different kind of God, one at war with the Deity described by Christ.