Washington, D.C. — Jesus Christ formally declared himself a contender for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination today, amid growing controversy over his purported “anti-family” views.
Senators Robert Dole and Phil Gramm, Mr. Christ’s principal rivals for the GOP nomination, were quick to point out previous positions taken by Mr. Christ that pro-family Republicans were likely to find objectionable. Sen. Dole cited an occasion reported in Luke 9:60, where Mr. Christ refused to allow one of his campaign volunteers time off to bury his father. Sen. Gramm added that the next two verses of that same chapter show that Mr. Christ does not even permit his volunteers to so much as say goodbye to their families when they join his campaign. “That’s just plumb shameful,” deplored Sen Gramm.
Leaders of the religious right were even more critical of Mr. Christ’s stand on family issues. Pat Robertson of the Christian Coalition quoted Matthew 10:35-36 — verses, he insisted, that revealed Mr. Christ’s “secret plan” to destroy the traditional family: “For I am come to set a man at variance with his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
“What further proof do we need,” demanded Mr. Robertson, “that Mr. Christ is the enemy of all that is good and wholesome in American family life? Even the most extreme elements of the homosexual lobby haven’t proposed anything as subversive as this!”
Mr. Christ’s own sexual orientation has been called into question as well. Responding to rumors that Mr. Christ had sought to address a mass meeting of the Promise Keepers and had been turned away, Bill McCartney, the organization’s founder, said that Mr. Christ’s appearance at a Promise Keepers rally would be “inappropriate”, given the organization’s avowed purpose of helping men become better husbands and fathers.
Mr. McCartney said it is common knowledge that Mr. Christ is over 30 years of age, still unmarried, and leads a rootless, itinerant lifestyle. Furthermore, he noted, Mr. Christ encourages his married followers to leave their families behind when they come to work for him. Most unsettling of all, said Mr. McCartney, are the disturbing references in the gospels to Mr. Christ “loving” members of his male entourage — specifically John, Lazarus, and the scion of a wealthy family identified only as “the rich young ruler.”
Mr. Christ’s partiality for anonymous young men has also been commented on by Gary Bauer, head of the Family Research Council. Mr. Bauer reports that his organization is currently investigating Mr. Christ’s widely-publicized arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane on charges of disturbing the peace. In particular, said Mr. Bauer, his organization is attempting to discover the identity of the young man who, according to the account given in Mark 14:51-52, was observed fleeing the scene stark naked.
A press release just issued by Mr. Christ’s campaign promised that the candidate would convene a press conference early next week to answer these and other charges that have been leveled against him. At that same press conference, the release continued, Mr. Christ would make what were termed “some damning accusations” of his own.