Stanford’s Dean for Religious Life, the Reverend Scotty McLennan, has a new book out titled Jesus Was a Liberal. He also recently held a campus talk on the same subject. In both cases he argued the following:
Jesus championed a progressive social vision of the future, rationality, tolerance and freedom from religious authority. In modern terms, Jesus was a liberal. Today, the press frequently talks about a culture war between the religious right and the secular left. In the middle – forgotten or maligned – are liberal Christians. They represent at least 20% of Americans, and perhaps as many as 50%.
Rev. McLennan’s goal, no doubt, is to counter the popular notion that American conservatives are the true followers of Jesus. But in this process, McLennan resorts to the same silly tactics as his conservative rivals.
To project modern political values – a fluid set of principles and policies specific, typically, to a historical context – onto Jesus, an Israelite from over 2000 years ago, is to trivialize his legacy at best and demean it at worst.