Turning the Tables on Authority
During my commute home, Dan Yorke was interviewing some of the Hispanic leaders involved in the rally demanding action against Providence store-owner David Richardson, and he asked one of them — a man of the cloth — what Jesus would do. The minister’s response was to cite Jesus’ overturning of the money changers’ tables in the temple.
The absent consideration, when taking Jesus’ act as a model for our own in this case, is that Jesus wasn’t just righting a wrong, He was asserting authority, even ownership: “stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” He was asserting power: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
And that’s why so many Americans react as they do to minority groups’ threats to do such things as close down a store. The groups’ leaders are asserting authority, even ownership, and power. They are saying, whether by implication or by fact, that their power gives them the authority to whip the money changers out of the temple and raise up the country in their own image. Far from emulating the lives that Jesus would have us live, that strikes me as something much closer to treating their own political power as the Father.