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.
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
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.
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.
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, ….)
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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?