Shuck and Jive

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Meaning of Life, Part 34

Well, you know, this is the first I’ve ever really talked about this in any of my films, because I’m kind of loath to talk about religion. I think it’s a private matter, and I’m sick of hearing everybody discuss it or shove it down our throats. I’m not a proselytizer. I was raised Catholic. I am a Catholic. I have a lot of problems with the institution known as the Catholic Church, all the obvious ones that we don’t need to go into right now.

But the lessons that I was taught as a child, I’ve always felt were very good lessons, that we would be judged by how we treat the least among us; that the first shall be last, the last shall be first; that the rich man is going to have a very hard time getting into heaven. And one day, when someone asked Jesus, like, what’s the password to get in through the pearly gates, and JC said, “Well, actually, I’ll give it to you,” and he said, “This is what you’ve got to do. We’re going to ask you a series of questions when you get up there, and these are the questions. When I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was homeless, did you give me shelter? When I was sick, did you provide aid and comfort? When I was in prison, did you come visit me? If you did any of these things for the people who are the least among us, who have the least, then that means you did it for me, and you can now enter. But if you are thinking that you’re going to—if you’re going to live your life making as much money as you can and then using that money for your own purposes, for your own pleasure and enjoyment, and not share it with others, not help others, then, I’m sorry, that’s not going to—that’s not going to work.”

Now, I’m being a little facetious here, because, you know, the whole issue of the afterlife, I think, has always been used by those in power to get us just thinking about the reward that’s some place off in the distant future, like when we’re dead, so for right now just go ahead and, you know, suffer through whatever it is you’re suffering through.

But I believe—I’m just, you know, so tired of hearing this term, this idea that Christianity is somehow—or this is a Christian nation or whatever, and it’s like—well, first of all, there shouldn’t be any kind of a religious nation. But it’s also a lie, too, because what part of what Jesus said relates to what we’re doing now? I mean, I can’t see this guy, if he was here, you know, being part of a hedge fund. I can’t see, you know, Jesus trying to claw his way into the one percent so he can punk on the rest of the people. You know, I just—these people say they believe in him; I wish they actually would, frankly, because we’d be living in a kinder and gentler society.

So, in the film, I appropriate a piece of film from Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth, and I imagine if they actually think that Jesus would approve of what they’re doing, what would Jesus sound like if he were a capitalist? And so, I—you know, our editor, actually, dubbed in his voice into Jesus’ mouth, and he goes around preaching the capitalist bible. Yes, it gets a lot of laughs, and it’s also—I’m waiting for the onslaught of believers who are not going to appreciate what I’m doing here.

But, you know, I go to see the priest who married my wife and I, and I go to see the priest who married my sister and her husband. And every priest I go to—and those are just the first two I start with, people I know. I didn’t go looking for, you know, socialist priests. And they both just rail against capitalism as a sin. It’s evil, it’s destructive, it’s contrary to what’s in the Bible. It’s contrary to all the major religions, not just Christianity, but Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, the church of Bill Maher. Whatever you believe in or don’t believe in, it’s just contrary to what—to what we know right and wrong is.

Michael Moore, Interview on Democracy Now! regarding his film, Capitalism: A Love Story

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