What Would Jesus Do... With Tom DeLay?

Talk about surreal. Was that really Tom DeLay stepping up to the mike at the National Day of Prayer service last week and making a call for humility?

"Think of what we could accomplish if we checked our pride at the door, if collectively we all spent less time taking credit and more time deserving it… If we spent less time on our soapboxes and more time on our knees."

So sayeth "the Hammer".

Transcripts of the event do not note whether any of the attendees broke out in laughter or choked on their bread rolls.

Apparently, the cynical appropriation of religion by the increasingly overheated GOP leadership knows no bounds. First Bill Frist participated in an event titled "Justice Sunday: Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith". Now comes this monumental display of hubris disguised as humility.

Any sincere religious expression on DeLay’s part would have started with basic contrition and ended with taking his misbegotten donations and distributing them to the poor. Instead he offered a blanket general prayer about the need for operating with "a humble heart". Amen, and pass me them plane tickets to Russia!

To put Delay’s humble comments in perspective, let’s use that oft-quoted litmus test: What Would Jesus Do?

Would Jesus strong-arm lobbyists to pay for his golfing trip to St. Andrew’s in Scotland? Would Jesus let a lobbyist pay for him to stay at the Bethlehem -- I mean, London -- Four Seasons?

Would Jesus, were he to smoke, and were he to be smoking on federal property, and were he asked politely not to, then reply: "I am the federal government."

Would Jesus say, "Judges need to be intimidated. They need to uphold the Constitution… We're going to go after them in a big way."

If DeLay and his pious pals had been around for the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps the most famous line about humility ever spoken would have been given a rewrite:

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth… unless the pushy hire Jack Abramoff at 750 shekels an hour; then the meek (and the Indians) are screwed."

Luckily, Jesus was able to stick to the original script.

"Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them," the Sermon on the Mount admonishes. Unless I'm missing something, Jesus didn't leave a lot of wiggle room. I guess Frist, DeLay and all the other politicians publicly parading their religious bone fides didn’t get the memo. Well, they can still find it in that Good Book they are so proudly waving around.

Remember when patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel? Now it's religion. Or, I should say, the cynical and hollow use of it for the sake of political expediency.