John Edwards (D-Noxema) has played his religion card. And like most Ds, he appears, to the chagrin of all who pray for a Democratic revival, to have played the card poorly.
We haven't read the whole transcript at Beliefnet, so our remarks are qualified by that caution. But news services report that Edwards said that Jesus would be appalled at America's selfishness and going to war preemptively.
We're not going to dispute what Edwards attributes to Jesus. We draw attention to the mood of his verb.
About 30 years ago, The Wittenburg Door satirized the controversy over inerrancy at Fuller Theological Seminary in the classic comic strip "Brother Biddle." Biddle visits Fuller and hears theology professor Jack Rodgers utter the line, "If Jesus could hear you say that, he'd roll over in his grave."
Politicians and others who want to be taken seriously by believers in Jesus should avoid using the subjunctive mood for his activities in the present. Those who affirm that Jesus rose, ascended and is now enthroned don't think that his current activity should be verbalized with would, as if he weren't currently alive and active.
Note to Edwards' handlers:
State it this way: I think that Jesus is appalled.
Even if we disagree on the content of Jesus reaction, we can at least share a conviction that he is active at present.