What if Christ came to Chicago? That question was posed in 1893 by editor and firebrand William T. Stead. He wrote and published a 500 page book on the topic in 1894. In short, the book dealt with the vice, corruption, poverty, drinking, and gambling that defined our fair city. He asked the question of politicians, civic boosters, saloon keepers, harlots, drunks, criminals, and gamblers.
What would happen if Christ came to Chicago today?
If Christ went to a wedding and turned water into wine he would be arrested for making hootch without a license.
If Christ wandered the city with twelve young men, asking other young men to follow him, he would be labeled as the leader of a street gang.
If Christ demanded the poor be cared for, visited the imprisoned, tended the sick, demanded housing for the homeless, or tried to lead people away from a life of debauchery, he would be chased out of town by Reverend Shakedown Takedown and Father Blow Dried. This is their city. There’s not enough money or power to spread around.
If he went to Lincoln Park to speak to and feed the multitude with thousands of fish and loaves, he would be cited for having an event without a permit, having no food license, and violations of the city health code. His gang would be arrested for disorderly conduct. The multitude would be dispersed with billy clubs and pepper spray.
If Christ raised Lazarus from the dead he would be arrested for exhuming a body without a court order.
If Christ chased and scourged the money lenders he would be indicted and convicted of aggravated battery.
If Christ went fishing with the disciples in lake Michigan and filled their nets he would be cited for fishing without a license and taking fish beyond the legal limit. The boat and all the fishing nets would be confiscated.
If Christ made the blind see, cured the sick, cleansed lepers, and made the cripple walk he would be arrested for practicing medicine without a license.
If Christ calmed a storm on the lake he would be accused of environmental crimes.
If Christ rode down state street on an ass with people throwing palms, there would be citations for a parade without a permit, littering, and failure to clean up after the ass.
If Christ hung out with prostitutes, gamblers, and criminals. The cops and feds would call him a member of Organized Crime. A Judas would be found and paid to rat him out.
If Christ tried to stop someone from casting the first brick he would be chased out of town, under a hail of bricks, by our own professional brick throwers.
If Christ went to the Temple of City Hall to preach to the elders, he would be ejected and jeered. Only those with hard cash dare preach to the elders.
If Christ walked on water during a Lake Michigan storm without getting his sandals wet he would be elected mayor.