JESUS CHRIST (6/4 BCE – 30/33 AD)
“We should all give our shirts to the poor,
If you won’t even tithe, you’re a boor.
Give a hand to the weak,
And encourage the meek,
Or miss out on God’s heavenly tour.”
Note: This is my irreverent rendition of what is probably Jesus’s most philosophical work, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). George W. Bush famously said, in response to a question while on the Presidential campaign trail in 2000, that Jesus was his favorite philosopher. Perhaps Bush was thinking of the Sermon on the Mount. If so, then it might have helped if Bush had actually read it. (I believe that the Sermon says something about turning the other cheek and not judging others lest one be judged, which are just those precepts the Bush administration followed when it engaged in pre-emptive war against Iraq in 2003, killing thousands of young conscripts and innocent civilians in the absence of any compelling evidence of weapons of mass destruction under Saddam Hussein’s control.) I have to say that I like the idea of helping, and identifying with, the poor and the weak. This Christian message continues to resonate today. But the tone of this limerick is irreverent, because Jesus does not make clear whether the motive for helping the weak should be a desire for salvation (which, as I see it, would be the wrong sort of motive) or a commitment to the right and the good (which, on my view, would be the right sort of motive).