Would Jesus Really Vote Republican?

The Christian Right is pretty sure of one thing.  Jesus would definitely be siding with them if he was around to vote.

But Ph.D. candidate Ed Simon of Lehigh University disagrees. Simon, who writes about both literature and religion, published an article that was first published on the website History News Network and was also shared by RawStory.

Simon says that even though so many conservative Christians insist that Jesus would be strongly opposed to marriage equality, there is no record of him ever having spoken about homosexuality.  He never spoke at all about abortion (which would hardly have been a common topic at the time.)

Jesus was certainly not a supporter of profit-based capitalism, either.

At the same time, says Simon, the progressive movement needs to stop thinking that Jesus would have been a socialist.

In the first place, neither socialism nor capitalism existed in ancient Palestine. Jesus is believed to have lived as a Jew under Roman Imperial rule.  He would most likely have had some feelings about that, but those feelings can’t really lead us to the conclusion that if he were here today, Jesus would vote either Democrat or Republican.

Religion is a lot more complicated than that, Simon tells us:

“This is merely to point out that religion is bigger, more confusing, contradictory, powerful and in some ways stranger than to be simply reduced to mere partisan categories, much less to be reduced into matters of political affiliation.”


In other words, it would be pretty hard to figure out exactly how a Jewish carpenter would have felt about the Dodd-Frank Act or the TPP. Would he have had any thoughts on climate change while living in the desert?

Simon ends his writing with a particularly powerful story from the Civil War. As the story goes, an advisor to President Lincoln assured him that “God is on the side of the Union.” Lincoln is said to have replied:

“I do not boast that God is on my side. Rather, I humbly pray that I am on God’s side.”

Food for thought on both sides of the aisle!


Featured image by James Shepard via Flickr. Available through a Creative Commons License 2.0.

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Written by Karen Shiebler

Karen is a retired elementary school teacher with many years of progressive activism behind her. She is the proud mother of three young adults who were all arrested with Occupy Wall Street. To see what she writes about in her spare time, check out her blog at "Empty Nest, Full Life"