Sunday, October 18, 2009

Would you vote for Jesus?

I had a really good chat with someone yesterday regarding one of my favourite topics – Jesus in politics.  In fact the chat was so good I just had to explore the idea a little further.  I have no idea how things work where you live but here, everyone looooves Jesus come election time.  From the most hardcore right wing white supremacists to the socialists and communists on the other end of the spectrum all seem to think that Jesus is on their side and by extension, that if He was still hanging around, He would totally vote their way.  No, I take that back.  Listening to politicians invoke Jesus you get the idea that they don’t just think that He would have supported them, no He would have joined their party, high five'd everyone and signed up as their presidential candidate.  Yes, politicians are nothing if not a constant source of amusement to me*.

I think the idea of Jesus for President is hilarious because Jesus would be the most unpopular president of all time and no one would hate Him more than the very people who currently claim they would vote for Him.  Don’t get me wrong, its not that I necessarily think Jesus would be a bad president.  Some of His policies may make some of the people happy but on the whole it should take all of 5 minutes before they try to impeach and/or assassinate Him.

Disagree?  Think all would be joy and joyness under President Jesus?  Then tell me, have you really thought about what His policies would mean in practical terms?

President Jesus would most likely disband all the armed forces, close down the Department of Defense and institute a national policy of “Loving your enemy” and “Turning the other cheek”.  Under the “Do good to those that hate you” and “If your enemy is hungry, feed him” clauses of the “Loving your enemy” policy, foreign policy would look very different.  It would mean that if another state is hell bent on destroying you, the response would be increased aid packages.

Not quite sure what would happen to the Department of Justice under President Jesus.  On the one hand He is certainly pro-Law and pro-justice but you have to wonder how His “Turn the other cheek” policy would impact the prosecution of assault and battery.  I’m also unclear if robbery would still be a crime under the “give to all who demand of you” policy – kinda seems like the only people breaking the law would be those who try to defend their property!  Then there is the thorny matter of prostitution.  President Jesus’ policy seems to be that prostitution is wrong but prostitutes shouldn’t be punished.  That almost seems like a non-policy…

Education seems like a bit of a gray area since President Jesus never mentioned it much during His campaign.  If I had to hazard a guess based on His personal and cultural background, He would probably favour home based Bible education as well as trade schools.  No indication at this time if there will be special tax breaks for carpenters.

 Speaking of taxes I think the good news is that Jesus probably will not be raising taxes.  The bad news is that He probably won’t be lowering it either since He has a policy that all taxes must be paid in full regardless of whether they are fair or unfair.

The banking sector would be waiting with dread to find out whether President Jesus plans on applying His “lend without asking back” policy to them or if He is instead planning on falling back to the more traditional “interest free loans to citizens” policy.  Either way I’m sure they are as worried about that as the agriculture sector is regarding His proposed gleaning laws**.

Now if all of that sounds great to you then bully for you (you unwashed, hemp wearing, commune living, vegan hippy you), but even a person as insanely optimistic and idealistic as yourself must recognize that President Jesus would have very little support under the general population of any country.  And by “very little” I mean “virtually nothing”.

On second thought, now that I think about it I really would like to see Jesus as president - if only so I can watch the faces of everyone who ever bought a "Jesus for President" bumper sticker as they realise how few of the “Bible based” ideals they hold most dear are actually based on the Bible!  Worth it!

It’s almost as amusing as listening to guys like James Dobson claim that our democratic rights are from God/The Bible***.  Honestly the only way to claim that with a straight face is to never have read the Bible.  Go find the passage detailing our rights and privileges in the Bible, I dare you.  I double dare you!  If our rights were based on the Bible then for one thing we would still have slaves (and they wouldn’t have any rights worth mentioning) and for another women wouldn’t have any rights – they would be property.  There definitely would be no biblical base for freedom of religion.  Now no doubt that would be good news to some ears, but the people attached to those ears tend to believe that they and their group would be the advantaged ones.  No one ever seems to wonder if Matt 7:22-23 may apply to them for some reason…  Furthermore there would be no freedom of expression, not with death penalties for blasphemy, cursing your parents, etc.  Would we even have an art community if we put the “no graven images on pain of death” thing in the law books?  Let’s face it, you will have a far easier time calling a monarchy/dictatorship “Bible based” than democracy.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I think Jesus set a bad example.  On the contrary, I think the world would be a far less scary place if more people acted more like Jesus.  If you call yourself a disciple of Jesus then you are supposed to follow His example and live by His teachings.  Now despite what we get told at election time, Jesus never told anyone who to vote for so concerning politics, if you follow Rabbi Jesus then consider what He stood for and vote for whoever you can with a clean conscience.  Other than that, please stop trying to squeeze him into your favourite political ideology, its never going to be a good fit.  No matter what you do, while you may get some bits of Him into the box, other bits are going to stick out.  So stop trying.  Jesus had plenty of opportunities to go into politics during His brief stay on Earth, don’t you think if He had any interest in being a political leader He would have gone that way instead?  Does the fact that He steered clear of politics mean nothing to you?  He didn’t want to be crowned king, I’m pretty sure He is not that keen on being elected president either.

*Laughter is my preferred option because it keeps me from a politically induced weeping depression.  
** Nicknamed the “Pacman Policy” because it lets everyone who pass by your property eat as much as they want from your crops.  For free.
*** The best part is when they say something along the lines of “but if your rights are from the state then the state can take it away!”  Seriously, are these people living on a different planet than the rest of us?  Governments take rights away all the time!  Think Apartheid, think internment camps, think Patriot Act – the list is gut wrenchingly long.