I have had a number of people ask me whether Jesus would have been (or would have voted for) a Republican or a Democrat. As I wrote in chapter 4 of my book Clear Vision, I believe the best mix of politicians in America’s democracy is a basic 50/50 split between the two parties. The Bible clearly teaches us that no one is perfect and, therefore, no group of people can be perfect. If either party were given unrestricted power for even a limited period of time, given what the Bible says about human nature, society will end up far less than optimal. Even a brief look at the history of America and her state and local governments show that when a single party dominates in a certain area for an extended period of time, those places end up being far less than they should. But what about Jesus specifically? Which party would He affiliate with? I believe the answer is basically the same as that above. Jesus would see things in both parties that He would agree and disagree with. For example, today the Democrat’s party platform includes assurances that the poorest among us have a social welfare safety net. In both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible encourages us over and over again to give to and look out for individuals who are in need through no fault of their own. The Bible usually phrases this admonition as “take care of the orphans and widows”. Jesus would certainly seem to align with Democratic values on this point, or, at least, mostly so. But do you know that the Bible also says if someone is able to work but not willing that they should not receive handouts but should be allowed to go hungry [II Thessalonians 3: 10]. The Bible also puts other qualifications on welfare type support [I Timothy 5: 3 – 16]. More than anyone, Jesus lived a life showing that we must be willing to give to those in need. But He also understood that, given human nature, incentives can have perverse and negative consequences on people. The platform of the modern Democrat party also stresses value in diversity. Of course, this would be close to Jesus’ heart as the Bible was the first document to ever teach diversity and the early Christian churches were, by far, the most diverse institutions in the history of mankind [Leviticus 19: 33 – 34, Galatians 3: 28, Colossians 3: 11, Revelation 5: 9 – 10 & Revelation 7: 9 – 10). There are, however, elements of the Republican platform that Jesus would hold to just as strongly. Republicans believe there is a benefit in being conservative, meaning holding on to certain morals and values through time, rather than adapting what is right and wrong based on cultural trends and societal pressure. For example, Jesus would have always been against slavery and abortion. There was a time when the Democratic party was in favor of slavery and against abortion and now, based on a changing relativistic set of morals, they have switched and are against slavery and for abortion. Given what the Bible calls “the Law of Christ”, Jesus is not in favor of changing what is considered right and wrong. He knows that there is a standard – set by God Himself – against which our morals are to be formed. Humans should endeavor to live up to God’s standards, not remake them. There are elements of each party with which Jesus could identify but there are also elements common to both parties with which Jesus would disagree. For example, both parties tend to see one group of people as being inherently more trustworthy and valuable to society than another. Republicans tend to have faith in the free market to hold business people accountable but have little trust in politicians and other social leaders. Democrats on the other hand tend to reverse those indictments, believing more in benevolent leaders and far less in the nature of business leaders. Jesus understands, though, that the heart of all people can be wicked and deceitful (Jeremiah 17: 9) and that, despite our best intentions, we will all fall short of God’s marks of perfection (Romans 3: 23 & Romans 7: 14 – 25]. There is the possibility that no one who reads this blog post will be happy with it. If you are strongly political, then you have probably worked to convince yourself that your party is almost absolutely correct in all things and the opposition party is so incorrect it can only be labeled as evil or hopelessly naïve. The Bible teaches us in the book of Proverbs that humans have a tendency to find the side of the argument we most naturally agree with and ignore reasoning from the other side. We are also taught, especially in arenas such as religion and politics, that humans will look for what the Bible calls “smooth talkers” who will tell us just what we wanted to believe about ourselves and our enemies to begin with. Jesus would both identify with and challenge today’s two major political parties in America. Perhaps more importantly, though, He would teach us that dividing into camps, constantly looking for ways to pat ourselves on the back and disparage the group with which we do not identify, is a trap, an unhealthy road to destruction. If you are a follower of Christ, you must be (or become) one of the ones leading the charge to reunite America in spite of our political differences. Andy’s book, Clear Vision: How The Bible Teaches Us To View The World, can be purchased here.
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