“Jesus unambiguously preached mercy and forgiveness. These are supposed to be cardinal virtues of the Christian faith. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of the death penalty, draconian sentencing, punitive punishment over rehabilitation, and the governmental use of torture. Jesus exhorted humans to be loving, peaceful, and non-violent. And yet Evangelicals are the group of Americans most supportive of easy-access weaponry, little-to-no regulation of handgun and semi-automatic gun ownership, not to mention the violent military invasion of various countries around the world. Jesus was very clear that the pursuit of wealth was inimical to the Kingdom of God, that the rich are to be condemned, and that to be a follower of Him means to give one’s money to the poor. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of corporate greed and capitalistic excess, and they are the most opposed to institutional help for the nation’s poor — especially poor children. They hate anything that smacks of “socialism,” even though that is essentially what their Savior preached. They despise food stamp programs, subsidies for schools, hospitals, job training — anything that might dare to help out those in need. Even though helping out those in need was exactly what Jesus urged humans to do. In short, Evangelicals are that segment of America which is the most pro-militaristic, pro-gun, and pro-corporate, while simultaneously claiming to be most ardent lovers of the Prince of Peace.”
(From “Why evangelicals hate Jesus” by Phil Zuckerman)
I have read the above article which mostly resonates with me as I also have come to see that evangelicals are more in love with Jesus than with their fellow human beings, which is an irony in itself since Jesus and us are one. As pointed out by the article, evangelicals love Jesus for what he had supposedly done for them – his name is their password or ticket to a so-called heaven, and his “blood sacrifice” protects them from “God’s wrath”. That is a problem because they still subscribe to the concept of the Old Testament god that is mean and vengeful, and end up projecting his meanness and vengefulness in their relationships and interactions with others. Believing in a violent god causes them to be psychologically abusive towards themselves by being self-loathing and keeping “short accounts”, which in turn causes them to be abusive towards others.
Also, one reason evangelicals ignore or downplay the social justice message of Jesus of loving and helping and sharing possessions with others could be that they prefer to model themselves after the rich kings in the Old Testament, thinking that is how their god favours and blesses them. Perhaps this idea of being exclusively chosen by god pleases their ego.
Another reason they choose to ignore or neglect social justice could be because they think the earth is stained with “sin” and will be “burnt up” one day, so they would rather close their eyes and ears to the social problems, except maybe donate some cash to offerings and missions occasionally, and wait for their messiah to return to make everything alright one day. This of course is contrary to the good news Jesus came to teach and demonstrate because we all have a part to play in manifesting the kingdom of heaven in the here and now, and Jesus is already here with us and in us to be manifested through our hands and feet.