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.