Jesus and politics: Which party?
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Should political platforms matter to Christians?

During a recent Sunday's after-service coffee hour, a friend said to me,
"You know, Jesus would be a Democrat."

My friend, not a Republican, knows I am a Republican, so it was obvious he was itchin' for a fight. "Not when abortion is on the platform," I replied. When that didn't seem to phase him, I took the bait: "Why do you think Jesus would be a Democrat?" His answer:
"He'd be against Big Business."

I admit, I didn't see that one coming. Usually, the rationale is the Democratic party's allegedly superior social values and compassion for the less fortunate. Would Jesus really consider the offense of Big Business to be worse than the promotion of mothers killing their unborn children for the sake of convenience? Just to make sure I wasn't missing something, I checked the scriptures to see if there were clues as to where Jesus would stand on these issues. It's a no-brainer when it comes to murder/abortion, but I had to dig pretty deep for examples of His opinion of the evils of Big Business. I found two possible examples, but even these are questionable.

1. The local bankers lost revenue when Jesus expelled them from the Temple during Passover--high season for currency-exchange. There was a real need for exchanging foreign coins engraved with idols, and for travelers to conveniently purchase their sacrifical animals on-site. However, since He called them robbers and thieves, there must have been a pervasive climate of extortion and fraud within God's holy Temple.

2. The local pork industry hit bottom, so to speak, when Jesus expelled demons from two men and allowed the demons to possess a nearby herd of swine, causing the pigs to fling themselves over a cliff and into the sea. Interestingly, the whole town expelled Jesus for ruining their hog business, an enterprise which happened to be forbidden under Judaic law.

Yes, the bad apples of Big Business and the above examples have law-breaking and corruption in common. But Jesus didn't make a distinction between incorporated sin and individual sin. He condemned all sin, whereever it is found.

No one knows to what extent a contemporary, U.S.-born Jesus would be involved in the political process. He certainly supports government, for not only did He and His followers pay taxes, but He, as God, established government. If one really wants to put Jesus in a political category, I would press for Social Conservative, as defined by The Center for Media and Democracy's SourceWatch: "One who favors social policies based on a particular reading of Judeo-Christian values, generally in favor of public prayer and the right to own guns [Ed. note: Jesus' disciples owned swords], and opposed to abortion rights, same-sex marriage and the teaching of evolution in public schools." But a Democrat? James Gannon, retired journalist and ex-Democrat, puts it this way:
"I began voting for Republican presidential candidates, and thinking of myself as Republican, only after it became abundantly clear that people with my views on abortion, prayer in school and other moral issues were no longer considered welcome in the Democratic Party... We didn't feel so much that we had abandoned the Democratic Party as it had abandoned us. "
-quote from USA Today "Confessions of a White Christian Republican"

The moral issues this ex-Deomocrat says are not welcome in the Democratic party are the very values Jesus espoused. I don't think I need to say anything more.

posted by K. Geffert | 8:12 PM


Blogger Carmen said...

Look, as long as people like Karl Rove are the major power brokers of the Republican party it will be about nothing more than power and the need to win. It’s not about Jesus, he’s just the mascot. It’s about power and when Rove found Bush he decided he had the chance to make a president. He made it happen by sacrificing a lot of people along the way. It’s about money, and it’s about power – and if talking about God makes it work, then they are happy to use God’s name in vein.

1:22 AM, February 13, 2006  
Blogger Carmen said...

Ok, I really shouldn't add one more but these thoughts are irresistible to me. There are a few main reasons that Christians vote for Republicans and the main reason in the Pro Life platform in relation to the subject of Abortion. I’m sick of hearing that the Republicans are the pro life party. I don’t get it! The war in Iraq is a pro life issue – innocent Iraq people (in obscene numbers) have been and continue to be killed and our own young men and women are being sacrificed by our Republican administration and for reasons that didn’t hold water then, and still doesn’t. The treatment of prisoners is a pro life issue, sexual humiliation and torture, prisoners being at GITMO are being held indefinitely without the possibility of justice – these are pro life issues. The lacking government response to hurricane Katrina and the painful tragedy of New Orleans – this is a pro life issue and one where our Republican leaders have failed miserably and a gigantic wound has opened in our homeland as a result. Running up huge deficits is a pro life issue – at least it will be for our children and grand children. And yes, choosing big business at the expense of the poor and giving tax cuts to the wealthy as the poor continue to cry out and remain unheard – it’s the kind of injustice that God takes notice of, but not the Republicans. Poverty is a pro life issue, so is racism, so is illiteracy… but the only people still talking about these things are Democrats. Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers – and our president prides himself in being a war president. Jesus said love your enemies – and I dare say that verse hasn’t been quoted in the Republican Party for a very long time. It’s time to choose life – for the living and for the unborn!

1:52 AM, February 13, 2006  
Blogger Pam said...

I can't think of Jesus as being a Democrat, and definely not a Republican. I think he would be an Independent, and a politcally active one at that.

The Republicans, for having so many Christians who make a great noise within the party, certainly don't seem very Christlike.

Carmen, I'm with you - I'm sick of the Repubs being called the pro-life party. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Love the blog! First time I've been here since it was the Virtual Church. I'm at Bovina Sancta (Blogspot) myself. Stop by as say hello to Brigid, the holy brown cow. She likes attention!


6:45 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see Jesus as totally apolitical. Our arguments over government are not the issue. I'm not sure what Carmen's rant had to with Jesus, but I hope it made her feel better.

Even during Jesus' earthly ministry, others tried to get him into politics. The example that is most prominent is his response to the pharisees regarding payment of tribute to Caesar, but even his role as Messiah was not understood. To most Jews of the day, the Messiah was the savior who would kick out the Romans and give earthly strength and power to Israel. This is why his role as conqueror of sin was not fully appreciated even by his disciples until his resurrection.

So would a modern day Jesus preach on the issues of the day? I would imagine so, but using timeless truths. So on issues like taking care of the poor, would he prefer public sector assistance or private sector assistance? I could see either or both. One could make the case that the codification of caring for the poor by legislation is the implementation of the second part of the greatest commandment. One could also make the case that by institutionalizing that care we are avoiding our individual and personal responsibility and basically subcontracting our obligation in an example of guilt avoidance. We can say that if everyone was a practicing Christian everyone would want the government to care for the poor, or that if everyone was a practicing Christian we wouldn't need the government to care for the poor.

As for the issue of war, Jesus preached relatively little about it. Ironically, God had the Israelites go to war to establish their kingdom. He even blessed them and allowed them victories over numerically and technically superior foes. We also know that his reign on Earth will begin with the end of a great war. So would Jesus have been for or against the Iraq war?

As for abortion, I can't imagine a pro-choice Jesus, or teaching in favor of euthanasia.

The point is that Jesus wouldn't be a Democrat or a Republican. He teaches the Truth. He is the light of the world. A political affiliation pales by comparison. If we read John 8:31-32, He says, "If ye continue in my words, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

So get in the Word, pray fervently, and you will know how you should vote. But I don't think Jesus is going to hand out endorsements like a newspaper editorial page.

11:24 PM, March 08, 2006  
Blogger K.Geffert said...

Anonymous--Well said! I absolutely agree that Jesus would be apolitical. He did not come to mix in, or mess with, civil governments, but to deal with the individual.

5:45 PM, March 09, 2006  
Anonymous Ron Smith said...

The 13th chapter of First Corinthians clears the matter. If we subscribe to the Democratic Party approach of giving all we have to help the poor, or the Republican Party approach of angelic morals, AND have not love, our approach is vain (nothing).

God is Love. God is a Spirit. God is Truth, and Christ is the express image of God, not Republican or Democrat.

1:42 PM, March 23, 2006  
Anonymous Christy said...

Amen, Carmen!

Any cooincidence that your posting sounds a lot like what I have read in Jim Wallis's book God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It?

Sojourners and Call to Renewal have been challenging the idea that the Religious Right have a corner on the market on God. God is not a Republican or a Democrat.
(We would do well to remember that God isn't an American either). As Christians we should be asking ourselves if we are on God's side, rather than boasting that God is on our side.

I agree that I would also find it hard to believe that Jesus would be pro-choice and pro-euthanasia. But, I find it equally difficult to believe that Jesus would be pro-rich, pro-tax cuts, pro-war, and against the environment.

I'm looking for a politician that represents most of my moral values in a consistent and meaningful way, not just one or two of them.

1:51 PM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's amazing that the gentlement makes a statement like that. Most of the legislation I've seen has been anti business. Which means that I become dependent upon someone to sustain me. I stead of feeding me fishes and loaves. Teach me how to fish with a net or rod and learn how to bake bread to sell, so that I may eat or sell to obtain finances pay the so called government that takes almost 50% of my funds call in the form of a income tax which is illegal.

11:02 PM, June 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this stuff about politics and all the other issues people hash over, causing so much trouble is plain stupid. Let Almighty God, Make the decisions.I am sure our loving God, dosen't care who you are, so long as we believe that He is God Almighty and that Jesus Christ is His Son and our Savior.

1:55 PM, July 18, 2006  
Anonymous Igor said...

Jesus was definitely apolitical. Matthew was a tax-collector and Simon was a zealot. The two represent the opposite ends of the political spectrum, with Matthew being on the extreme right and Simon on the extreme left. Yet both felt comfortable following Christ, and he let both of them become apostles.

His mission had nothing to do with the politics of the day. His purpose was to teach us how to live our lives and achieve the Kingdom of Heaven, not to take a stance on political issues. As he looks upon our world--dismayed, no doubt--he must agree neither with Republicans who kill, steal, defraud and bear false witness, nor with Democrats who--you guessed it--kill, steal, defraud and bear false witness.

5:20 PM, August 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will people stop thinking in the left-right paradigm? There is no difference! They all say what they have to, to get in office, then do what they want regardless of what they promised. And they are all controlled by the powers in charge. How do you think your voice will matter? When they install the electronic voting machine in your area, there will be no paper trail to check. You will effectively have no vote. But we have to remember that God is in charge (otherwise we are hurtling through space with no-one at the controls). The end times have been foretold. Evil will reign for a little while, then God will put an abrupt stop to it. Vote or not, will it matter in the end? I do think that we can make a difference; by getting the message of the kingdom out to as many as possible, and getting our lives straight with God.

4:28 PM, September 09, 2006  
Blogger Guy said...

To all of the Dem's out there. If you don't think that abortion is big business, take a look at Planned Parenthoods financial statements. It may just suprize you. They should get the "Murder Incorporated Fortune 500 Award".

2:47 AM, April 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've defected from the Republican Party and now vote Libertarian. I think Republicans manipulate Christians with hot button issues like abortion and gay marriage, knowing that Christians will vote. At the end of the day, it's unlikely that Roe V Wade will be overturned. Yes, the next President may have the opportunity to appoint conservative Supreme Court Justices, but will Congress approve anyone other than a moderate? I am against abortion, but I'm not sure we should expect government to legislate morality. I feel like conservative, right wing Christians are much like Pharisees. They look down their noses at everyone, rather than modeling the love of Jesus to the unbelieving world. How do witness to the unbelieving world? By creating division with our polical views? Or by lifestyle evangelism? I'd prefer to enlighten people within a government structure that promotes freedom. I lean towards personal responsibility and allowing God to use me to help change the world (whether it be in a big or small way).

It's interesting how many White Christians are adamantly Republican. It's also interesting how many Black Christians are adamantly Democrat.

8:51 PM, October 21, 2008  
Blogger B Guz said...

I too have left the Republican and Democratic party behind: I am voting for B Guz of the Militant Stuggles Party -

This is a candidate i can believe in.

10:49 AM, October 24, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same Jesus who wrote in stone, "Thou shalt not steal" also gave instructions for personal generosity. Dems seem to be all about taking other people's money to give to those they favour for redistribution. Republicans can learn to be better givers on the personal level, yet I understand that the statistics reveal that they are a long way ahead of Democrats in terms of personal charitable giving. I believe Christ would condemn the high taxes extracted from the producers by force, while encouraging the "cheerful givers" to go further.

7:32 PM, April 25, 2010  

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