Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, a self-described “moderate conservative,” displayed her Biblical ignorance and journalistic sloppiness on CNN when she criticized Sen. Ted Cruz for a comment he never made.
“I don’t think there’s any chance Ted Cruz can win a general, and here’s why. One observation, I don’t know — this seems to have slipped through the cracks a little bit, but Ted Cruz said, something that I found rather astonishing. He said, ‘you know, it’s time for the body of Christ to rise up and support me,'” Parker claimed. (emphasis added)
“I don’t know anyone who takes their religion seriously who would think that Jesus should rise from the grave and resurrect himself to serve Ted Cruz,” Parker continued.
“I know so many people who were offended by that comment. And you know, if you want to talk about grandiosity and messianic self-imagery, I think he makes — Ted Cruz makes Donald Trump look rather sort of like a gentle little lamb,” she added.
On Tuesday, an unverified Twitter account purportedly belonging to Parker (based on who this account follows and retweets, it most likely belongs to Parker) acknowledged the controversy caused by “the body of Christ” comments, but did not walk back the criticisms of Cruz or offer an apology:
Hello my xian friends. Promise I know all about body of Christ, wh/also Eucharist, metaphor, etc. The LSD just took me too far. More anon.
Any Christian who has sat through more than a dozen sermons in church has likely heard the term “the body of Christ” used in its accurate theological context. While Parker may “know all about [the] body of Christ” she has, so far, been unable to articulate that understanding.
Parker has also yet to acknowledge that she falsely attributed a quote to Cruz. To be precise, she made up a quote, and claimed Ted Cruz said it.
Breitbart News has confirmed with a spokesman for the Cruz campaign that Sen. Cruz never said “you know, it’s time for the body of Christ to rise up and support me,” as Parker claimed on CNN’s AC360 Monday night.
“If we awaken and energize the body of Christ– if Christians and people of faith come out and vote our values– we will win and we will turn the country around,” Cruz told volunteers on a conference call Tuesday.
Also, as blogger Shane Vander Hart notes:
Cruz said in a recent conference call with supporters, “If we awaken and energize the body of Christ– if Christians and people of faith come out and vote our values– we will win and we will turn the country around.” I’ve heard him say this numerous times.
Even the New York Times accurately reported on January 10 Cruz’s exact reference to “the body of Christ” in a recent campaign speech, delivered to an audience in Winterset, Iowa: “We have to awaken and energize the body of Christ.”
When he [Cruz] took the stage after Mr. Vander Plaats’s introduction, at a theater in Winterset, he said the key to Republicans’ taking the White House was simple, and would not require a compromise with moderates. “We have to awaken and energize the body of Christ,” he said, referring to faith-driven voters.
Cruz’s comments on awakening the body of Christ to participate in the political process in America are remarkably similar to those of Franklin Graham, CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Graham launched a 50 state tour last week to encourage Christians to vote in 2016 and consider running for public office. As Breitbart News reported last week about his first tour stop in Des Moines, Iowa:
“No political party,” Graham said, offers a solution to the nation’s troubles. “I have no hope in the Democratic Party. I have zero hope in the Republican Party. . .My only hope is in the body of Christ.”
Graham quit the Republican Party very publicly in December when it refused to end the funding of Planned Parenthood, the nationwide non-profit organization where “family planning” is simply a code word for abortions.
Besides the sloppy journalism associated with falsely attributing a comment to a public figure, Parker–who wrote in September 2008 that Sarah Palin was “out of her league” and should step down as the GOP’s Vice-Presidential nominee–displayed a remarkable ignorance of Christian theology and the political views of evangelical Christians in America.
Mollie Hemingway at the Federalist, as well as and a number of other conservative writers who are familiar with evangelical Christianity and the Bible, quickly pointed out several errors in Parker’s assertions.
“I was stunned that she said something so religiously illiterate, on so many different levels,” Hemingway wrote of Parker’s comments.
Hemingway first noted that Christians believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead and has not been in the grave for more than 2,000 years:
Contrary to recent reports in the New York Times, Jesus is not buried in a grave. Not in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, as the Times had reported, or anywhere else … I am stunned that this needs to be conveyed to someone who graduated from high school, much less received a college education, or lives in a majority-Christian country, but Christians confess that Jesus rose from the dead, triumphing over sin, death and Satan. Or, as St. Paul put it, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
Our entire church is built around Jesus’ death and resurrection. We mark it constantly, from our morning prayer to evening prayer, and we even tend to worship on Sundays precisely because Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday. Our liturgical calendar is ordered with a focus on Jesus, culminating in his death and resurrection.
So if Ted Cruz is talking about the “body of Christ” rising up, he certainly isn’t talking about Jesus rising from the dead. And Jesus having already risen from the dead is astonishing, yes, but it is not a teaching that Ted Cruz introduced to society. Ignorance of it 2,000 years later is indefensible.
Hemingway also pointed out that when Christians refer to the “body of Christ,” they are referring to the community of believers around the world:
When Christians refer to being members of the body of Christ, we’re saying that we all have different spiritual gifts, but we work together as one. We are one with Christ, but also one with each other. Some of us might be preachers, some of us might be Sunday School teachers, some of us might only be able to show up every few weeks and sit silently in a pew, but we’re all doing our part as members in the body.
It’s a metaphor. And, just to be extra diligent here given the state of education in this country, I’ll add that a metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect, thus highlighting the similarities between the two.
Breitbart News emailed Parker on Tuesday, explaining that we could find no evidence to support her claim that Sen. Cruz said “it’s time for the body of Christ to rise up and support me.” We asked if she intended to apologize to Senator Cruz and revise her comments and included a copy of the “LSD just took me too far” tweet.
“Sorry I’ve been working. Will take a look tomorrow,” Parker responded late Tuesday evening. In that brief response, Parker neither confirmed nor denied the tweet.
As of the time of this story’s publication we have received no further comment from Parker.