What Would Jesus Really Deer Hunt?
Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over, and having indulged in an orgy of spending and consumption to commemorate the birth of a long ago moral philosopher, most folks who don’t have WWJD bumperstickers on their cars will feel free to forget about that philosopher and the morality he preached for another year or at least until Easter rolls around, and focus on important things like the Presidential election campaign. So I decided today to feature a couple of books that might otherwise fall through the crack between faith and politics.
When I first came across Andrew Fiala’s What Would Jesus Really Do? I thought it was a great idea. The question of how Jesus’ moral teachings Really apply in our modern world is an important one and I doubt that I am the only one who suspects that many of those who call themselves Christians these days act and advocate in ways that JC would have condemned faster than your can say Pharisee. I’m sorry to say that the book did not, for me at least live up to this promise. Fiala is a professor of moral philosophy and applied ethics and his book reads like a text for an upper division college course rather than anything accesible to a general audience. I really believe that a readable book discussing the practical application of Christian morality in everyday modern life would be of great use. Sadly this volume does not fit that bill. Not Recommended, unless you are a philosophy major.
Joe Bageant’s Deer Hunting With Jesus–Dispatches From American’s Class War is considerably more accessible for a general audience. Bageant, a native of rural Virginia, takes a thoughtful look at why "red" Americans quite consistently vote against their own economic interests. A blend of raucous story telling and political commentary, Deer Hunting is a close up look at a portion of America that has been outsourced and downsized, is sick and getting sicker, poor and getting poorer and Jesus is their drug of choice. Bageant shows how these Americans are culturally alienated from the urban progressives who should be their natural political allies and skillfully manipulated by the Right into voting for tax breaks for billionaires when they can’t themselves afford life’s basic necessities.
The book’s intention is to help progressives understand and learn to connect with this portion of the electorate and indeed I think it did help me to better understand people I have seen primarily as political enemies. Recommended, particularly to fellow progressives who wonder why Democrats can’t win the red states.