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The Virgin Mary: Left-Wing Liberationist? By: Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, January 11, 2008

Like most Protestants, Methodists honor but do not typically pray to the Virgin Mary. But an official with the United Methodist lobby office in Washington, D.C., apparently makes an exception for the "sassy sister savior" when she is redefined to embody the Religious Left's political ideals: a Mary socialist. 

Neal Christie, who is the Assistant General Secretary of the United Methodist Board of Church & Society, offered up his Marian liberationist prayer as part of his agency's special holiday message. Merry Christmas from a Virgin Mary who more resembles Winnie Mandela than the Jewish mother of Jesus! Christie began: 

Sassy sister-savior,
You bare in your body our cathedral,
dust of the earth, promise of new birth,
One who will choose to live water borne and water boarded.

The Virgin Mary of the Gospels left no recorded remarks about the Roman Empire's less than sterling human rights record. But she evidently has very strong views about the Bush Administration's "torture" policies, among many other issues dear to the Religious Left. Christie's prayer continued: 

Pacing the perimeter of Manger Square,
and lock-down, ramshackle refugee camps everywhere,
you sigh as the global North grows dim with its seasonal addiction to desire,
you laugh at our myth of self-isolation,
the lie that where your life ends mine begins.

What are all those "refugee camps" around Manger Square? Probably they belong to persecuted Palestinians, who after 60 years still supposedly have no place to go. Why are these victims still homeless? Is it because the Arab world never wanted to resettle them, preferring instead to showcase them as a living argument against Israel's existence? No, the liberationist Virgin Mary is instead setting herself against the "Empire" and its "client states," who are the real authors of global suffering. No doubt on bended knee on Capitol Hill, Christie kept praying: 

So when today's bloated Herods run wild like malaria,
hunkered down behind a poverty of overabundance,
offering backdoor escape for predatory lenders and backroom invaders,
financing Empire's client-state dictators;

Famously, another more prominent Religious Left spokesman Jesse Jackson compared King Herod to then-Vice President Dan Quayle at the 1992 Democratic Convention. But Christie seemed to liken the infanticidal puppet of Rome more broadly to America as global hegemon: corrupt, predatory, and militaristic. The litany of his prayer went on: 

When Herod makes the White House and Congress a backroom playhouse;
when a prosperity gospel gives up nothing and ordinary folk give up their lives to war,
and domestic lynching passes as state sanctioned torture;
when the growing poor are siphoned through waste management systems,
and a generation of children is withheld access to health care, when backstabbing of immigrants becomes national sport,
and today's Herods retreat in glee,
You come again to sandpaper our hearts to sensitivity,
and bare the first fruit of the Spirit.

Who knew that the Virgin Mary was so very politically outspoken?! Her recorded words in Scripture are largely confined to thanking God for her role in the Incarnation. Millions of Christians frequently recite her words of praise towards the Almighty:

My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

But in the Religious Left version of Mary's concerns, the mother of Jesus is more concerned about President Bush's veto of proposed enlargements in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The congressionally approved increases would have extended federal subsidies of medical coverage to children of families making $80,000 a year. But everyone knows that the Virgin Mary favors socialized medicine and views increases in SCHIP as an important incremental step. After all, Mary did exclaim in her sacred exhalation:

He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

Traditional believers of course understand the "He" of this Scripture as God. But the Religious Left often instead prefers to think of Big Government, and not the Lord, as the ultimate dispenser of justice and mercy. Perhaps Christie should have saved himself the trouble of addressing Mary and instead prayed directly to a divine personificaton of The Welfare State. 

The Virgin Mary of Scripture and history, who witnessed her son's unjust execution by the state, could indeed have issued a seering political critique of the rulers of her day. Instead, she was more concerned about the transcendent and the eternal, joining with her son's disciples to perpetuate a Gospel of salvation and holiness, not intense political activism.

In vivid contrast, the Religious Left always strains to reduce Christianity down to a lobby campaign for the domestic statist causes du jour. And its "prophetic" international stances routinely condemn America and its allies but almost never cite genuine perpetrators of torture and oppression. Maybe the Religious Left should ponder Mary's authentic words: 

He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.

Mark D. Tooley is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. He is the author of Taking Back the United Methodist Church.

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