This Easter, forgo the eggs and, like Jesus, rise up for social justice


A close-up of a statue of Jesus in despair.

Credit: CreativeCommons / Lisa.

This weekend, Christians will remember the last week of Jesus’ life. If you ask Christians what the significance of Jesus is, they will tell you that Jesus “died for our sins,” paving the way for our souls to go to heaven after we shed this mortal coil. This common view is really a rather odd answer.
Some Christians tell the story as if God, the spiritual source of the material world, is really angry with us human beings. We are a rebellious sort who eat apples off the wrong trees and have sex with the wrong people. God the spirit is so angry with us that when our mortal coil is shed, our own spiritual essence will descend into an eternal torture chamber for an afterlife marked by weeping and gnashing of teeth. But thankfully, Jesus takes one for the team, becoming the scapegoat that represents all of us filthy sinners, and in doing so, appeases the God who otherwise would roast and toast us like an eternal marshmallow at a campfire. If you don’t believe Christians talk this way, just ask one: “Why did Jesus die on the cross?”
Jesus died on the cross for the same reason an innocent Afghani wedding party is blown to pieces by one of Obama’s drones. Jesus died for the same reasons that lead black people to organize Black Lives Matter. And when black people and their allies discover that the courts, the police, the media and the government are predicated on the notion that black lives have little value – and even worse, that these institutions feel that black people should be disproportionally locked up and economically exploited – this discovery leads them to pursue the only act of dignity left: civil disobedience.
This discovery mirrors why Jesus was arrested and tortured to death. Indeed, Jesus was mutilated because his teachings and lifestyle threatened the Roman Empire’s control over occupied Israel. He was strung up not because he talked about loving God and neighbor. He was slaughtered for the same reason that the forces of empire always slaughter: He dared to stand up with an unbent back. Empires simply cannot tolerate the courage of the poor. Rather, empires, including our own, drink the blood and eat the flesh of the poor to fuel an insatiable desire for rape and pillage. Empires are inherently demonic, or for the non-religious, sadistic. They always kill for self-righteous pleasure.
But you won’t hear too many preachers talk about the historical Jesus and his death at the hands of an empire.
Instead, you’ll hear nonsense about dying for sins, and three days later, like a Jack-in-the-box, the Easter-Bunny Jesus springs back to life. Meanwhile, drones still hit the innocents, and Christians still refuse to be Jesus, who is supposedly their lord and savior.

Crossposted from Real Change.
Rev. Rich Lang is a pastor at University Temple United Methodist Church. He can be emailed at

4 thoughts on “This Easter, forgo the eggs and, like Jesus, rise up for social justice

  1. Rev. Lang is generally correct but there are many of us who agree totally with him and applaud his message and teaching of the obvious truth of those momentous events two thousand years ago.

  2. Amen brother Lang, I say Amen!
    Wherefore at thou?
    Today I attended a “Family Service” at a very big “Mainline” church in Houston, TX.
    You are right on about what I heard them say, sing and cheer to! The children were exciited and involved in the service, the parents and grandparents where involved and excited–all because “being saved” is so much fun. Having our sins forgiven(past and future) without haveing to do aniything or make any change with the way we treat others or to seek and pratice justice is so—-ooo great! Oh yes, we have a KING and his name is Jesus! All in accord with the Patriartical –Top Down embrace created by the likes of Emperor Constatine and the other “Kings” for whom we were subjects. All in discord with the “way” Jesus wanted us to take to that would lead us to the “Companionship of Empowrment” that would be our reward. To a system of justice when each would have “enough”.,
    Yes, I have been reading some of Fr. Dairimuid O’Murchu’s books, and the books of like minded comapions of empowerment.
    What a load we have to bear, a load created by the patricartical mind set of the past, and a load we have to overcome as we strive to become diciiples of Jesus and barriers of the “Good News”!

  3. Dear Rev. Lang,
    I fully agree with your words. Just let me say, that “Empire”, or the Estabilishment,or, technically speaking, the Devil completed ( and still completes) the job by putting The Church, or The Churches to blurr, the Christian ( and Judaical) original message with nonsenses. How long will it takes for all the Christians to arrive at the core of the message and drop the Easter-Bunny Jesus ?

  4. This begs the question: Did God create man? Or, did man create god? ‘Tis quite strange that so much is described about the birth and death of a man with no knowledge of what happened inbetween… men who lived four generations after this man allegedly walked the earth. And, back in those days most people on earth worshipped the Sun. Kinda like what i think a god would like like. Could it be that this “jesus” fellow never existed?

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