CNN tried to tie Jesus to a liberal movement on Wednesday as correspondent Carol Costello labeled various religious authorities as supporters of the "Occupy Wall Street" protests – even as she reported that protests became violent at "Occupy Oakland."
"'Occupy Oakland' protesters hurled paint at riot police, and riot police hurled tear gas. Jesus, here?" Costello asked during the 11 a.m. hour. "Yes. And the Vatican seems to be backing them up," she added.
What was Costello's evidence for this strong religious support? A Vatican cardinal who justified "the basic sentiment" behind the Wall Street protests, and Pope Benedict's call for reforming global financial rules – hardly a blessing of violent protesters throwing objects at riot police.
Costello also touted Muslims praying in a Manhattan park and a Jewish man who connected the protests with Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. She did give brief credence to the opposing view of the protests at the end of the segment, but only after citing three different religions supporting the protests, and hastily giving it the blessing of the Pope and the Vatican.
"Would Jesus walk alongside these protesters then?" she rounded out the segment.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on October 26 at 11:03 a.m. EDT, is as follows:
T.J. HOLMES: And today's question: Would Jesus occupy Wall Street? Carol Costello, we probably knew this was coming. People always asking what would Jesus do? Here you go.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN correspondent: Here you go. Would Jesus occupy Wall Street? An interesting question, especially today, in light of what happened in Oakland, California. "Occupy Oakland" protesters hurled paint at riot police, and riot police hurled tear gas. Jesus, here?
Yes. And the Vatican seems to be backing them up. The Sydney Morning Herald reports a senior Vatican official says the Wall Street protests are justified. Pope Benedict himself has called for overhauling global financial rules, because the gap between rich and poor is so wide.
In New York, those of other faiths are joining forces with "Occupy Wall Street." On Friday, a group of Muslims prayed in Zuccotti Park. Some Jews celebrated Yom Kippur.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Part of the themes of Yom Kippur are doing teshuva, returning to a best self. I think our country has really gone off the track, I think we've forgotten about the poor, we've forgotten about the workers. And one of the major themes of Yom Kippur is to remember the poor, remember the workers, and to do what we can to make a better world. And I think this is a beautiful, holy expression of God's desire.
(End Video Clip)
COSTELLO: But not all religious people support "Occupy Wall Street." Jesus did repudiate the desire for personal wealth. He did advocate care for the poor and the powerless, but they say, Jesus also believed in community. People helping others, not government. Would Jesus walk alongside these protesters then?
The TalkBack question today, would Jesus occupy Wall Street?