On Tuesday night, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) compared the backlash he faced from Congress after his “white supremacy” comments to the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the first Good Friday and Easter.
“When I had to step down to the floor of the House of Representatives and look up at those four hundred and some accusers, you know we just passed through Easter and Christ’s passion and I have a better insight into what he went through for us partly because of that experience,” King said at an Iowa town hall.
The congressman was referring to the censure he received after The New York Times published an interview quoting him as asking, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King claims the Times had misquoted him.
“The House of Representatives once again rejects White nationalism and White supremacy as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States,” the resolution read. Every member of the House voted for it — including King himself — with the exception of one member who demanded a formal censure of King directly.
King compared his ordeal to Jesus’ suffering and death. According to the New Testament, Jesus was falsely accused of sedition. While the political leaders could find no fault in Him, an angry mob demanded He be crucified. Jesus suffered the indignity of dying like a condemned criminal, despite being entirely innocent.
Christians believe Jesus’s death for sins He did not commit paid the penalty for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). His passion and death are cosmically significant.
Even if The New York Times twisted King’s words (a contention for which there is no evidence), the congressman is nothing like Jesus Christ. While King faced a public outcry after the Times story, and that opprobrium might have given him a minuscule taste of the general kind of outrage Jesus experienced, his comments here are still offensive.
King rightly received harsh criticism after he seemed to defend white supremacy. After this backlash, the congressman should have apologized. He did vote for the resolution condemning white supremacy, but his remarks on Tuesday suggested that he knew that resolution was effectively a condemnation of him.
Comparing that to Jesus’ sufferings is an outrage.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.