September 26, 2010

"Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

Said Jesus, describing the final judgment. There was a point in Stephen Colbert's testimony to a House subcommittee when he dropped his act and answered a question as himself:
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) asked, “Why of all the things you could testify about did you choose this issue?” Colbert seemed to surprise himself as he fell out of character--he rubbed his head in thought and said:
"I like talking about people who don't have any power, and this seems like, one of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work but don’t have any rights as a result. And yet we still invite them to come here and at the same time ask them to leave. That’s an interesting contradiction to me. And, you know, “Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers”--and this seems like the least of brothers--right now. A lot of people are least brothers right now because the economy is so hard. And I don’t want to take anyone’s hardship away from them or diminish anything like that. But migrant works suffer and have no rights."
It was a powerful moment, all the more so because catching Colbert out of character for more than a few seconds of unguarded laughter is almost as rare as catching snow leopards mating. It was perfectly natural for Colbert, who has taught Sunday school at his Catholic church in Montclair, NJ, to quote Matthew 25:31-45 (“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”). The tender earnestness of that brief moment when Colbert slipped the mask undercut any suggestion that his snottiness was a self-promoting stunt.
I think Stephen Colbert is quite serious about Christianity — as I have written before in some detail.

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