FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Jesus the Litigator

by ANDREW J. SCHATKIN

I’ve been a New York-area lawyer for more than 30 years, but I also received a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1973. My theological studies intensified my desire to help make the world a more just and equal place. The practice of law gave me the means to do so. Today, I see a strangely distorted and mean-spirited view of Christianity dominating the media.

Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus Christ, continues to intrigue all sectors of society, all peoples, all races, both rich, not so rich and, most particularly, the underclass and poor. In an age that emphasizes money, materialism, outright greed, and admiration for the rich and powerful, he offers an alternative.

Yet Jesus is an enigmatic and troubling figure. For many people in the world, he is seen as a kind of general love figure, the ultimate nice guy. After all, that’s what the world wants to see in other people – niceness, tolerance, humanity, and kindness. Far from being solely concerned with being loving and nice to people, however, he is the ultimate litigator. One might see Jesus as an advocate of the underclass. Perhaps one could see Jesus as a socialist or communist, since in the Gospels he seems to make a point of associating with and advocating for the poor and working class.

Jesus is the beginning point of advocating a new world system without class, economic, race, or sex divisions. Jesus is the ultimate litigator. But his litigation is for the poverty stricken and the underclass. Jesus was himself a working man, a carpenter, and he spent his entire life with working people or even less. He himself walked about with a group of working men, one a tax collector, and some fishermen, working miracles and making observations to the working class, for the most part. Jesus is criticized as consorting with undesirable people, or better put, tax collectors and sinners. Perhaps today, Jesus might be seen as a labor organizer, or a community organizer, opposing the forces of government and wealth.

Jesus did not respect or admire wealth or power. Quite to the contrary, he says the poor or humble – poor in spirit – are blessed, and that in future years, they will be the ruling class, replacing the present oligarchs and plutocrats. Jesus approached Jerusalem as a king, but rode on a donkey, with a somewhat disheveled appearance before the crowds. He was tried and executed as a criminal, and died beside criminals. He forgave a criminal beside him on the cross, and told him on that day he would be with him in paradise. When a woman was caught in adultery, and stood condemned, he forgave her, and told her to sin no more. He tells us not to merely love people that are attractive, friendly and nice to us, but even to love our enemies.

Jesus stands before all the world as the advocate and litigator for the poverty stricken of society and its fringe members. He tells the world that its values and attachment to the rich, famous and successful are wrong. Jesus advocates and litigates for what the world sees as the bottom of society and tells the world that he will raise them up from their poverty to the greatness that he says they deserve. Jesus litigates for a world without division, without dominance, without distinctions of class, wealth, or economic status. Jesus is the ultimate advocate for those whom the world concedes no value and no importance, for those the country clubs and mansions of the world exclude. He is the litigator for the 98% who are presently powerless before the forces of the world.

ANDREW J. SCHATKIN has been a New York-area attorney for more than 30 years. His articles on the law and society have been published frequently in journals such as the Nassau Lawyer and New York Criminal Law News. He is the author of “Select Legal Topics: Criminal, Federal, Evidentiary, Procedural, and Labor” (University Press of America ISBN 0-7618-4644-1) and “Essays on the Christian Worldview and Others Political, Literary, and Philosophical” (ISBN 978-0-7618-5343-5).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail