How Would Jesus Vote?

OK. I’m an atheist. I do not even truly believe that Jesus as a flesh and blood human ever walked the planet. However, this fictional character plays a large part in many people’s lives and, unfortunately, their voting decisions. Perhaps, if people really think about Jesus when voting though they just might come up with different answers. So, I address this post to the believers.

So, contrary to my usual rants where I take a radical and non-standard stance in order to point out the violence in the Bible. In this post, I am going to hypothetically take the more mainstream view of Jesus. First, I’m going to pretend that I believe he actually existed. Then, I’m going to cherry pick the Bible, not in the way I did in my Thou Shalt Kill post, but instead, in the way that most religious people do when they respond to my usual assertions about the mythical character.

So, in short, I’m going to point to the nice things Jesus is supposed to have said. And then, given the mainstream view of Jesus, I’m going to discuss his political views and see how well they align with today’s religious right. Then, I’m going to attempt to address the issue of how Jesus might vote in an election if he were alive today. Finally, I will point out that if Christianity is about people attempting to be Jesus-like to the best of their ability, then religious Christians should vote that way. Let’s see how this goes.

I would like to give a large part of the credit for this post to Brian Dykstra. I recently saw his one person play, The Jesus Factor, in the Village in NYC and it really made me think. Please, by all means, if you are in or near the city or plan to visit New York City in the near future, see this play. It is simultaneously hilarious and thought provoking.

Of course, it did not change any of my opinions. However, it added quite a bit of knowledge and expanded my feelings to new topics. This post will definitely echo many of his views. Though, I intend to blend them with my own for this post. I also do NOT intend to wax poetic, something at which he excels and I don’t even attempt.

Background

Do Unto Others:
When attempting to gauge how Jesus might vote, were he ever to have existed and were he to live in the United States today, this is probably the most important point. Keep Matthew 7:12 in your heart as you honestly evaluate how Jesus might vote. The full quote is, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.

On this point, I disagree slightly with Brian Dykstra. I feel that Jesus probably did intend this to include your mothers, brothers, fathers, sisters, and all people just like you. However, certainly Jesus did not intend to end there. Jesus meant to include people very different from yourself. If you are unsure of this, consider the versus of Matthew 5:44-48. In these verses, it is clear that Jesus included even those you consider your enemies. It is verses such as these that strengthen not my view, but the mainstream view of Jesus.

Heal The Sick:
Jesus healed many sick people in the New Testament. As you read chapters in which Jesus heals people, read very carefully for the parts where he asks for their health insurance cards and there immigration status. Here are a number of chapters and verses in which he is purported to have healed sick people: Mark 5:25-43, Luke 4:38-40, Luke 5:12-13,18-25, John 4:47-53, John 9:1-38.

Turn the Other Cheek:
In Matthew 5:39-43, Jesus gives his famous statement usually shorted to “turn the other cheek.” The full quote is, “But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.” Think about this long and hard as you ask yourself, “who would Jesus bomb?”

Treatment of Whores:
This is sort of an interesting point here. Many in the religious right love to take a holier than thou attitude as well as a very strong moral stance against such crimes as drugs and prostitution. These are crimes with no victims and therefore, in my opinion, with no sin. In fact, I personally do not believe drug use and prostitution should be crimes at all. Drug lords create victims, as do pimps. However, these are the results of the acts being illegal, not results of the acts themselves.

But, today’s question is Jesus’ opinion on the subject. Jesus is said to have turned water to wine, John 2:1-11. Alcohol is a drug. Perhaps if Jesus were alive today, he would turn sugar to cocaine. Who knows? On prostitution, we have a very clear statement of decriminalization of the act. The Old Testament was clear that prostitutes should be stoned to death, Deuteronomy 22:20-24. Jesus rewrote that law explicitly when he saved an adulteress from exactly that fate with his famous quote in John 8:7, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.

I had expected to be able to use Mary Magdalene as an even better example. However, I have learned in researching this post that she was not, as many believe, ever referred to as a prostitute in any scripture and likely was not. So, John 8:7 will have to stand as my sole reference to Jesus being less than the self-righteous strict enforcer of the law that many of the religious right believe that they must be to make Jesus happy.

Love of Money is the Root of All Evil:
1 Timothy 6:10 states, ‘For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.” This is probably a great statement to keep in mind as any religious Christian voter takes to the polls and considers the many ways in which all of today’s politicians ensure that the wealthy have greater and greater access to the political process and, consequently greater and greater access to public money in the form of corporate welfare and deregulation allowing short term profits that often leave companies in huge trouble.

Effects on His Politics

War:
I feel that it is quite clear that given the above background, Jesus would have voted against any and all war. I am not quite so pacific as Jesus is reported to have been. However, it is very clear that Jesus would not have voted to attack a nation in retaliation for an act not only not committed by said nation, but not even committed by citizens of that nation.

There were zero Iraqis involved in the World Trade Center attack on 9/11/2001. There were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. There was no connection established between Iraq and the events of 9/11.

What we had instead was a man claiming that Jesus speaks directly to him bombing the fuck out of a country for two reasons: 1) Oil. 2) To give huge quantities of money to his cronies.

Love of money is the root of all evil.

I should be clear on this, however. I had no love at all for SoDamn Insane. The man was an awful human being who committed atrocities. That much is true. However, the one thing we are guaranteed now is that whatever government takes his place will be worse than what was there before. At least that government was relatively secular, by the standards of the region. Women were treated relatively equally, or at least more so than in other countries, for example, Saudi Arabia, a place from which 16 of the 19 terrorists on 9/11 actually were from, as is Osama bin Forgotten.

Lastly, Iraqis are others. We should do to others as we would have them do to us. So, unless you want bombs dropped on your head, get off your ass and oppose the dropping of bombs on the heads of others.

Gay Marriage
Well, it’s hard to get an opinion from Jesus on the point of homosexuality. Here are a few links from people that try to make the case that Jesus would not be against homosexuality. The last even examines the question of whether Jesus may have been gay. I don’t personally have an opinion one way or the other on this. Nor do I care, being an atheist.

Homosexual passages from the Christian Scriptures
Homosexuality and the New Testament
Was / Is Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) Gay?

Again though, the important thing here is that homosexuals are others. So, if you want to be allowed to marry your loved one and get all of the associated benefits, hospital visitation, a chosen person as your next of kin in life and death situations, etc., you probably should support gay marriage. Jesus would.

And, remember, let him who is without sin cast the first bottle from a moving car at the patrons of a gay bar. (Hint: It’s a metaphor. Anti-gay violence would be very much against the teachings of Jesus on many levels, turn the other cheek, do to others, love thy enemy, ….)

Prostitution Laws
I had, as mentioned above, hoped to use Mary Magdalene in this section, but clearly can’t given my newfound knowledge that she was never even alleged to be a prostitute. However, given John 8:7, as mentioned above, I believe it is still clear that Jesus rewrote the sex laws. Unmarried non-virgins are not to be killed according to the new testament. There is nothing in the new testament that claims that prostitution should be punished by law in any way. I think it’s time to legalize all victimless crimes, such as this one.

National Health Care:
I hope everyone read carefully the sections about Jesus healing the sick. Did anyone find anything anywhere indicating that Jesus checked health insurance and immigration status prior to healing the sick?

I’m just guessing not.

So, it is clear that Jesus would advocate a national health care plan. This flows easily from “do to others” and from his own actions. Do you like having health insurance?

(Yes, I am making an assumption that the people of the religious right voting republican have health insurance. How could anyone who did not already have insurance vote for a anyone who is still trying to keep it from them?)

So, you like getting good health care. Don’t you think others want good health care too? Don’t you think Jesus would vote to give it to them?

Yes, others does include people who come from countries where times are so difficult that it begins to look like a good idea to illegally cross a border into another country in an effort to make a little money to send back home. Others include the truly desperate that have indeed made exactly that decision.

Do you condemn these others for that decision? What would you do in such a desperate situation? A little empathy is the first step if you are to [d]o to others whatever you would have them do to you.

Death Penalty:

This has been sufficiently addressed above. I’ll let John 8:7, suffice once again to show that clearly Jesus would never support the death penalty. “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.

Corporate Regulations:
Deregulation of corporations is based on the love of money by the wealthy. Corporations are not humans. They do not deserve the same rights as humans. And, the greed that leads corporations to make stupid decisions like the S&L scandal, the subprime mortgage crisis, and even the conscious decision of ExxonMobil to avoid their contractual obligations regarding spill prevention and containment as well as their decision to continue 19 years later to avoid paying their court awarded fines, are all based on love of money.

I believe Jesus would vote to regulate such behavior.

This is NOT communism. I am not suggesting that corporations be dissolved and taken over by the government. I am merely stating that there must be laws that corporations must abide for their own good and for ours.

Taxes:
Again, love of money is the root of all evil. Wealthy people should pay their fair share of taxes. I do not mind that I pay higher taxes than people who make less than I do. What I mind is that the very small percentage of this country, perhaps the top 0.01 percent or so, pays next to nothing in taxes. This is because they can pay a small amount to politicians to keep their own tax loopholes open and their tax percentages low. Jesus, were he a flesh and blood human alive today and were he the way he is usually portrayed, would vote for a fair tax plan where the wealthy pay their fair share.

Welfare:
This is clearly a “do to others” issue. I do not advocate a system where those who are capable of work and refuse to do any year after year be given money to do nothing. However, some form of a safety net is an obvious requirement if one is to [d]o to others whatever you would have them do to you. Perhaps an appropriate system would give jobs to those who could perform some level of work. Perhaps as a person began to get back on their feet, the benefits would slowly trail off as the person earned more rather than ending all benefits to anyone with a job and thus penalizing anyone who attempts to get real work. I don’t have the details for this. However, I am sure that if Jesus were actually to exist and be the way he is portrayed in the mainstream view, he would advocate some level of help for the poor.

Illegal Immigrants:
I touched on this above under health care. Illegal immigrants are clearly others. Illegal immigrants are people from such desperate circumstances that they are willing to risk imprisonment and possibly their lives to come to this country. They’ve been through horrible situations we can hardly imagine. Try though.

Try to imagine what living in real squalor without sufficient food and water is like. Try to imagine disease and dirt and lack of education. Try to imagine your children starving. Then imagine that you see a way to attempt to get some amount of food to your family. It’s dangerous and illegal. You try it anyway because you must.

Now, keep that image in your head. Would Jesus lock them up? Build a wall to keep them out? Force CAFTA on their nations to make things even worse for people internally?

(Example since the last statement is not obvious. Under CAFTA, Costa Rica would no longer be able to provide hundreds of drugs for its citizens as it does today. Instead, it would have to buy U.S. approved drugs at many times the price. Due to the increased cost of drugs manufactured in the U.S., they would only be able to provide a very small number of life sustaining drugs to its citizens.)

Abortion:

Humorously, despite the fact that abortions were performed in biblical times, there is no mention of abortion in the bible. The Bible certainly isn’t squeamish about discussing other sexual matters. There’s even a nice lengthy section in the old testament describing exactly which of your relations you may and may not have sex with. Further, there are references stating that a fetus is not fully a human life.

Myth: The Bible forbids abortion. — This article has numerous references and specific chapters and verses of the bible.

Exodus 21:22-23 is the best reference for this particular argument. In short, if men fight and a woman is knocked to the ground causing miscarriage and no other harm comes to the woman, all that is necessary is that the man pay a fine. If any more serious harm comes to the woman then the law is an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth a life for a life. Clearly, the fetus is not a life in this scenario.

In fact, one might take further note that even in the extremely sexist times of the bible when it was progressive for a Jewish man to give his wife a ketubah, or marriage contract stating that he would treat her decently, thus elevating her from the status of property to valued property, the woman was considered a life. However, even a male fetus was still not fully considered a life according to Exodus 21:22-23.

Conclusion

On all of these many issues, even though the Democrats are only slightly better for things like corporate regulations and taxes on the wealthy, it seems obvious to me how Jesus would vote.

Jesus would definitely NOT vote Republican.

Bonus

As an interesting and enlightening exercise, please use your own image of Jesus and take The Political Compass test either as if you were Jesus or as yourself doing your best to be like him, whichever you find less religiously offensive. Don’t be lazy. Sloth is a sin. And be honest about how you believe Jesus would really want you to answer each question.

Remember: Jesus is watching and will be watching again on election day. HWJV?

19 Responses to How Would Jesus Vote?

  1. Charlotte says:

    When it comes to gay marriage I’m sure Jesus would approve. Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all people if they choose. For the truth about gay marriage check out our trailer. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue: http://www.OUTTAKEonline.com

  2. Misanthropic Scott says:

    Question for any religious Christian readers: Does the baby Jesus cry when his subjects vote republican?

  3. Misanthropic Scott says:

    Here’s a bit more of a succinct take on the matter.

    The Pain Comics

  4. True Believer says:

    Jesus would not have believed in Social Security or Welfare- he would have admonished all current Christians to get out of their seats and into the streets. Government can give a person money, but you can’t pay a government worker to *care*, and Jesus was all about the caring.

    And *that* is why I vote Republican. I believe I am the one that can change the world, not a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington or an overworked gov’t employee.

    And what are _you_ doing to change the world, other than complaining about others?

    FYI: The Fair Tax will work more than the current system, at least when enacted. Keep an open mind when you read about it.

  5. True Believer says:

    By the way, “The love of money is the root of all *kinds of* evil.”

  6. Misanthropic Scott says:

    True Believer,

    Would you mind citing some scripture to back up your statement about social security and welfare?

    Would you mind also stating why you discount all of the other points that I’ve made?

    When you vote republican, you are voting for war, the death penalty, and against nationalized health care. I think when you vote republican, you vote strongly against the beliefs of Jesus at least on these matters. Does this not concern you as a true believer?

  7. BubbaRay says:

    Leave a response? I’m not a biblical scholar. Way far from it. I’ll take most of your references on “good faith” as you’ve never messed up before. I haven’t had the time to parse them all (and at this point, I’m not certain I want to), but good job with the citations.

    That said, I can’t help but wonder what it was like to walk around in those times. There must have been something so charismatic about the man as to inspire all the books, epistles, letters etc. Just how fast did “the word” travel in those days?

  8. Misanthropic Scott says:

    BubbaRay,

    I’m actually not a biblical scholar either. I sometimes quote scripture to point out the bad bits of the bible that many ignore. In this post, I picked out some of the good and mainstream bits in an effort to point out to the believers that when they vote republican, they are definitely not voting the way Jesus would vote. To do so in the name of Jesus is offensive in the extreme.

    The only reason I even care so much about religion, since I don’t have one, is because people keep trying to thrust theirs upon me, in the worst possible way, through legislation. Mostly when they do, it just happens to be the Christians doing so. So, I am merely trying to point out that if their religion says they should do their best to emulate Christ, voting republican is most definitely NOT the way to do it.

    As for Jesus the charismatic man, great orator, and magician par excellence, he certainly would be an interesting person to meet. For starters, I’d just like to know whether the man ever even existed. I keep seeing more and more stuff swaying me to the opinion that he was a fictional character in a type of allegorical writing popular at the time.

    However, all of that is off topic for this thread. The point is that the mainstream view of Jesus whether myth or man, was all about helping one’s fellow human being, not about oppressing them. And, it certainly wasn’t about making the wealthy wealthier, expanding use of the death penalty, and war for fun and profit.

  9. The Editor says:

    Being a Christian is all about helping our fellow man, women, and child. The best way of helping them is to share the Gospel Of Jesus Christ with them.

    That being that Jesus Christ came to this Earth to spread the Gospel Of The Kingdom. He was persecuted by the elite class because they hated his views on changing their out dated way of thinking. He was murdered for rebelling against the system. He shed his blood on the cross. He paid all our debts. All we have to do is repent of our sins and trust on his as our personal savior and king. Then follow his laws and ordinances and share our faith with others.

    Doing this is important because of eternity. All of us will spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell. The way you live your life will determine your eternal place. If you Live For God then you will inherit the Kingdom Of Heaven. If you follow your own ways then you will spend eternity in the Lake Of Fire. No exceptions and no excuses.

    You are right about Jesus Christ and wealth, death penalty, and war profits. Jesus Christ did the following…

    “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,”

    - Matthew 21:12 (King James Version)

    Jesus Christ didn’t spend his life doing violence. However he did show a bit of violence on this occasion. That is because he knows how easy money sways a person in one direction or another. The modern money changers are known as the Federal Reserve. They are a private bank and print the money. Therefore they have control of the economy.

    The death penalty is an extreme issue. However it is an important issue because it is about life and death. The government putting a person to death is horrible but sometimes seen necessary. I personally am opposed to the death penalty because it cuts a persons life short. That person could have been saved later on in their life.

    Jesus Christ would have been opposed to the constant war mongering that goes on these days. He said the following…

    “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

    - Matthew 5:9 (King James Version)

    He also warned others about using violence…

    “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”

    - Matthew 26:52 (King James Version)

    Christians are strong believers in self defense. However these current wars are not about self defense. They are about oil and world power. Using diplomacy and trade are much better ways of doing things than war.

  10. Misanthropic Scott says:

    The Editor,

    May I take it then that you will be voting Democrat in the coming presidential election?

  11. The Editor says:

    I am a Christian Conservative and Economic Populist. So that makes me a Moderate based on most political scales.

    Therefore I agree with Republicans on Social Issues and Democrats on Economic Issues.

    Recently I affiliated myself with the Republican Party because of people like Mike Huckabee, Tom Tancredo, and Ron Paul.

    As for the Presidential Election In 2008.

    Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are way to liberal on social issues for me to support them. So I wont be voting for either of them in the fall.

    John McCain turned his back on border security and favors a war mongering foreign policy. So I wont be voting for him.

    I am currently looking for a Third Party or Independent candidate to support and vote for in 2008.

  12. Misanthropic Scott says:

    The Editor,

    So, after all of that rhetoric in your post, you will vote for war, the death penalty, and against health care? You are quite hypocritical. As for being too liberal, there are no liberals in the election. All are strongly leaning to the right.

    US Primaries 2008

    Good luck in the afterlife. For what you do unto others, you’re going to need all the forgiveness Jesus has.

  13. The Editor says:

    Voting for a third party or independent candidate doesn’t mean supporting war mongering, death penalty, and denying people affordable market based health care. I will support a candidate that holds to the views that I laid out above.

    Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton talk out of both sides of their mouth. They will say anything to sway votes their way. I would much rather see Dennis Kucinich (D) and Tom Tancredo (R) be the candidates. At least they hold a firm position.

  14. Misanthropic Scott says:

    That’s fine. Just remember that John McCain has said that 100 years in Iraq is fine with him. So, if it comes down to only two choices, you really should vote for either Obama or Clinton over McCain. Anyone else you choose, including Ron Paul, is probably better than McCain.

  15. The Editor says:

    Democrats want to get us out of Afghanistan and Iraq but they will do very little to change our foreign policy. In order to change our foreign policy we need to elect a Constitution Party or Libertarian Party candidate. They have the guts to stand up to the Military Industrial Complex and create a foreign policy based on peace, diplomacy, and trade.

  16. Misanthropic Scott says:

    Actually Editor,

    So would a candidate like Kucinich. And, he’d be the real choice for anyone looking to do to others as they would have other do to them.

  17. The Editor says:

    Dennis Kucinich (D) and Ron Paul (R) are the exception to the rule. The majority of their respective parties don’t subscribe to their foreign policy views and thats a shame.

  18. Higghawker says:

    A very intriguing question? Jesus was about His Fathers business while here on earth. That was to save souls, build His Church (Spiritual), but thru His teachings he also was asked about paying taxes. His response was:
    Mt:22:21: They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

    He recognized the need for govt. to keep laws, etc., but there is no mention of Him ever voting.

    We are put into a rather “vote for the person who would best do God’s will” position when as Christians we vote. I myself am voting for Ron Paul.

    That doesn’t mean Jesus would vote for Paul?

  19. bobbo says:

    If there was an everlasting afterlife then the years spent on earth would be quite trivial==meaning there would be near absolute zero interest in what the civil authorities were doing.

    If there was an everlasting afterlife, the only rational action would be to be on your knees 24/7 thanking god for his greatness. No need for education, voting, earning a living or anything else.

    Eternity.

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