By Tyrone Williams
I love comedians and I love parody songs. I love them because with biting sarcasm and cunning insight they are capable of exposing the ugly truth of things even the most stubborn person can’t ignore nor deny. And they're just plain funny!
Take for example one of my all-time favorite comedic instigators, Ray Stevens. Long before Weird Al Yankovic came along, Ray Stevens pioneered the field of comedy songs with such classics as “The Streak”, “Ahab, the Arab”, “It’s Me Again, Margaret” and “Would Jesus Wear a Rolex™?” It’s the latter song to which I call your attention. It begins like this:
“Woke up this morning, turned on my TV set
There in living color, was something I can’t forget
This man was preaching at me, laying on the charm
Asking me for twenty, with ten thousand on his arm
“He wore designer clothing, and a big smile on his face
Selling me salvation, while they sang Amazing Grace
Asking me for money, when he had all the signs of wealth
Almost wrote a check out, but then I asked myself…
“Would He wear a pinky ring? Would He drive a fancy car?
Would his wife wear furs and diamonds? Would His dressing room have a star?
If He came back tomorrow, there’s something I’d like to know…
Would Jesus wear a Rolex™ on His Television Show?”
Now, setting aside for the moment whether or not you believe there ever was a “Jesus”, (I don’t.) I believe that Ray Stevens poses a damn good question that the Christian church MUST answer.
Instead of “What would Jesus do?” let’s ask them, “Would Jesus Wear A Rolex™?”
Considering all the injunctions in the bible to be POOR -- how the love of money is the root of all evil, and how difficult it is for a RICH man to enter the kingdom of heaven, and blessed are the poor (in spirit?) for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven –- one must question the sincerity of today’s filthy rich church.
“Jesus” was so poor that he had no place to lay his head. He lived off the land and the charity of his followers. He owned no lands, no home, and no donkey. Yet today’s Christian in contrast owns MUCH. Diamond mines, TV and Radio stations, huge tracts of land, airplanes and Mega Church facilities are but the tip of the wealthy iceberg of the church. The wealth of the Roman Catholic Church exceeds that of many countries. AND they own and utilize this wealth TAX FREE!
Didn’t “Jesus” say something about paying taxes? Something like “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”? I seem to recall reading that somewhere when the Pharisees were testing Jesus. Maybe MY bible has a misprint, or I’m using the “wrong” translation. That could happen. (Rofl)
Yet, it appears to MY untrained, and unbiblical eye, that the church is in DIRECT violation of the Word of God. Why is this?
Would “Jesus” wear a Rolex™, or a diamond pinky ring? Would he own a tax sheltered diamond mine in Africa, TV and radio stations, and vast tracts of land for his private use while simultaneously begging for money from his duped TV audience?
And, before anyone chimes in about all the OTHER “poor” churches around the nation/world, let’s not overlook the fact that these churches SEEK wealth and success and power, even though they haven’t yet attained them. They are desperately trying to clamor aboard the Health and Wealth/Name-it-Claim-it Gospel Train as they seek to be “blessed of the Lord” like everyone else. This LUST for money makes them just as guilty in the eyes of “Jesus”. It is a carnal desire. It is a “sin”.
So, what say you “Christians”? Care to defend your money grubbing ways? Can you truly defend the money marketing methods of the church? If this money being collected is “for the poor”, (snicker!) then why don’t “the poor” have it? Why do I see the churches and church leaders decked out in purple raiment and gold, living like royalty? Why are even the simple pew sitters, dissatisfied with being poverty-stricken servants of the Most High God, striving to obtain riches and job promotions and Olympic-size swimming pools? If this "carnal" world belongs to the devil and his children, then why are Christians so hungry for the devil’s playthings?
The early church (first 200 years of Christianity) believed that poverty was a virtue. Any presbyter who was living too well was censured and believed to be a criminal. The shepherd of the flock lived off of alms, just as did the widows and orphans. None of this “big house” and “big easy” living nonsense. They followed in the footsteps of their Lord and savior.
What happened? Why is the church so money-hungry now? Why do Christians DESPISE poverty? Why is being “poor” perceived as weakness and a lack of Great Faith? Why is being “rich” perceived as a mark of success and being blessed of God? Why are the words of “Jesus” concerning poverty considered optional, or “dispensational”? Is he no longer “Lord”?
Or maybe…this “Jesus” never existed after all? Could “Jesus” simply be a “pious fraud”, the mythical figurehead of a flakey religion? Is THIS why no one obeys his instructions?
Silly me. Of course THAT is the answer! A money-hungry Christian is PROOF that this “Jesus” is pure MYTH! If he were real, sitting up in “heaven”, watching over his flock, would anyone DARE disregard his teachings, or change his words? Not hardly. I know if I believed in “God”, I wouldn’t do anything to anger him. Yet, these “Christians” do so with impunity. They act as if “Jesus”/God and His Words don’t even matter. To be cast aside on a whim whenever it suits the Christian’s greed/appetites.
Humph! There is no “Jesus” and there is no “God”. Of course, "Jesus" wouldn't wear a Rolex™, because he isn't real. Well that explains it. I’m certainly glad we got that settled. Thanks for clearing that up for us, “Christians.”
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)