The date was March 4, 1966 just before the long awaited United States tour when John Lennon of the Beatles was giving an interview. When they reached the subject of religion, Lennon said, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. ... We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first-rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."
Good move, John. If the "common folks" over 35 were trying to keep their kids away from your long hair music before, tonight they'll be having a record burning. And that's what happened including protest in all cities that the Beatles played when the came to America. You just don't make comments about being at the same level as Jesus in any context and expect to receive high accolades from the world.
And no international figure did until earlier this month.
The scene was a political dinner with supporters all around. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was enjoying the evening when he announced to his guests: "I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I am a patient victim, I put up with everyone, I sacrifice myself for everyone."
Smooth move, Silvio!
The day before Berlusconi compared himself to another leader when he said that only Napoleon had done more for his country. I guess the Napoleon quote didn't get the airplay he wanted so he chose someone else.
Berlusconi quote did get the attention of some of his allies and some opponents in Italy. An ally of the PM said when asked about the quote: "I live on Earth. I don't want to mix foolish things with serious things."
A communist parliamentarian, called the leaders' remarks a "grotesque comparison". Not bad comment from a communist considering their religious or lack of religious beliefs.
Now I do know that in the heat of a campaign candidates will say things that just don't make any sense. With the elections in Italy coming in early April, this could be their version of an October surprise. Can't you see the political ads for Berlusconi's opponent? Just run the quote about Napoleon and Jesus Christ with the PM's picture in the background. This ad was authorized by the committee to elect Romano Prodi and the committee to find a mental institution for Silvio Belusconi.
Time will only tell how the citizens in Italy will respond to the comparison but some may think voting for the Jesus Christ of politics could sound like the next best thing to God running the country.
I will say that the PM's comment hit me about the way it did a leftist member of parliament. This member said that he was confident that "God the Father and the rest of Jesus' family did not take this very well."