Jesus would be a liberal, right?

On Thursday night I appeared on “The Ed Schultz Show” on MSNBC, answering Newt Gingrich's latest attack on the jobless by suggesting Newt watch “It's a Wonderful Life” and reread the teachings of Jesus, which I offered to send him as my Christmas present.

President Obama is a man of quiet but deep Christian faith. Isn't it odd that every time the president quotes Scripture, he is met by angry rightists who seem to hate (hate is not too strong a word for some of them) that the president quotes the Sermon on the Mount and other teachings of Jesus?

So let me put this question before the house today: Would Jesus be liberal today?

A woman who saw my appearance on MSNBC sent me an e-mail about the lessons Jesus taught in the Parable of the Rich Fool, from Luke. I would commend this parable, and the Sermon on the Mount, and countless teachings from Jesus, to some of our right-wing friends.

In the Parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus warned about the perils of putting greed and wealth ahead of the higher values he taught. This is a recurring lesson that Jesus taught often and passionately.

It was helping the poor that Jesus taught parables about, not endlessly enriching the wealthiest. It was curing the ill that Jesus taught, not praising insurance company profits or promoting lies about death panels in heathcare bills. It was feeding the hungry that Jesus praised, not the attacking the jobless for being jobless or condemning the poor for being poor, with the falsehoods that the jobless want to be jobless, and the poor want to be poor.

I do not recall parables teaching in favor of million-dollar bonuses, fraudulent foreclosures, the use of torture or "survival of the fittest" economics, which does not sound like the Parable of the Rich Fool, does it?

Why is it that when Fox News does its "war against Christmas" segments, it always seems to involve someone on the right attacking someone on the left, and never promotes a passion to help the last that Jesus taught would be first, and never condemns those who learned nothing from the teachings of Jesus in the Parable of the Rich Fool or the Sermon on the Mount?

I applaud liberal and conservative churches and individuals who bring life to the teachings of Jesus every day, but deplore certain right-wing politicians and some of their media allies who talk more about Jesus than they have learned from Jesus.

Would Jesus be a liberal today? I will leave the final verdict to authorities higher than myself, but ask this: When Jesus taught we should sell our possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, would the right call Jesus a socialist, too?