Jessie “The Body” Ventura Takes a Dive

By Wayne Jackson

One scarcely wants to overreact and condemn virtually a whole segment of people, but what in the world were the folks of Minnesota thinking when they elected as governor that character who calls himself Jesse “The Body” Ventura (his birth name was James Janos)? One has to believe that many people are so sick of politicians, that up there in “The Gopher State” they decided to pull a joke—and elect a joke! One thing is for certain, no one, who is thinking straight, is going to confuse Jesse “the body,” with Jesse “the brain.”

While Mr. Ventura has enjoyed some initial popularity, his polls have taken a sharp dip since his recent interview with Playboy magazine was published. In that session, as detailed in various news reports, the governor made a number of statements which reveal what a “loose screw” he really is.

He minimized the conduct of those military personnel who were found guilty of sexual harassment in the Navy “Tailhook” scandal (claiming they were merely “misunderstood”). He made insensitive remarks about people who are larger in size than they might like to be. And he crudely quipped that he’d like to be reincarnated as a certain item of ladies’ underwear.

But Jesse “the mouth” saved his most caustic remarks for religious people.

Ventura charged that “organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people.”

His statement sounds like a page taken from a work by Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin: “Religion is the opium of the people. Religion is a kind of spiritual intoxicant, in which the slaves of capital drown their humanity and their desires for some sort of decent human existence…” (Religion, New York: International Publishers, 1933, p. 48).

Let me make two brief points in response.

First, there is nothing wrong with a “crutch” if one is handicapped, and who would be so insensitive as to criticize such? And “crippled” surely is the state of the human family. We are woefully crippled by rebellion against our Creator. We murder, rape, steal, and lie. And there is not a secular humanist upon this planet who can provide a reasonable explanation as to why such acts should be deemed “immoral.”

Second, some of the most brilliant intellects of human history have praised the value of the Christian religion. Are the names Kepler, Newton, and Pasteur strangers to the “governor”? Does he know nothing of the religious ideology of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln? Is he also ignorant of the inclinations of Shakespeare, Longfellow, and Milton. How doth “the body” compare with these luminaries of human history?

And what of Jesus Christ Himself? He not only believed in “religion” (being devoted to the Hebrew system under which He grew up), He established (by the giving of His life) and organized the most benevolent, influential religious system the world has ever known.

What, then, possesses a man to utter such stupidity?

But this latest debacle seems to have pulled some of the rug from beneath this “flash-in-the-pan” politician. His popularity has dipped significantly. For example, Ventura’s standing among women has plummeted 26% since July.

But, in typical political (hypocritical) fashion, when public criticism began to mount, the “gopher governor” started to squirm, suggesting he was taken out of context, misunderstood, etc. How can you take a statement like – “organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people” – out of context?

Then again, as Ventura began to sense that he might weather the storm, last Wednesday, while on the campus of Harvard University, he conceded that he had “no regrets” about his interview with Playboy. He signed copies of the porno magazine for students, and boasted that he is not concerned about being “politically correct.”

He’s not concerned about being “correct” period!

It has become paintfully evident that “the body” was bounced on his head a few times too many in those wrestling fiascos!

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.