Jesus, Politics, and the Essence of Blasphemy

Recently, I read an article which argued Jesus Christ would vote for Bernie Sanders as President of the United States if he was still on earth. I found this claim to be both provocative and deluded. I am sure there have been articles which claim Jesus would support figures like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, etc. I have heard it said Jesus was a socialist. I have heard it said Jesus is a Republican. I have seen people claim Jesus would support abortions. I have even seen people praising God in Jesus’ name for a candidate who has said he does not need forgiveness from said God. Every political season, in an attempt to justify their own political preferences, waves of religious people (and even secularists) bend Christ around the infallible principles they hold dear in order to qualify the candidate of their choosing as if s/he has been specifically anointed with holy oil by God Himself.

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These notions of equating Jesus with a particular political or economic system never seem to cease. Everyone believes if somehow they could justify their candidate by divine authority then perhaps people would feel unholy or misguided to vote for the other heathens running for office. These ideas of providence for politics only seem to increase the egos of people who are presumptuous about their own infallibility. They think God walks in line with their own thought, and how dare anyone forsake the “true faith” of conservatism or liberalism. The reality is these ideas are demonstrably false at their core.

Take economics, for example. Whenever I hear the phrase, “Jesus was a socialist,” or “Jesus shared capitalistic principles,” I realize the speaker has no idea of the core reason economics exists in the first place: scarcity. Economics is the study of how to efficiently give people the goods and services they want and need when resources are scarce. Without scarcity, there exists no need for an economic system, so he who claims Jesus identifies with a particular economic system is actually assuming Jesus Himself has scarce resources. Since Christ is God Himself, there exists no scarcity at all. If there was, He would not be God, so saying God is a socialist, capitalist, etc. is a self-defeating statement. Jesus never supported a particular economic system. Generosity to those in need was the principle by which He lived.

Political parties bring on an even greater amount of strife against the Kingdom of God. Republicans conjure up an idea of Christ that has Him riding a bald eagle whilst drinking a beer with Ronald Reagan and using an AR-15 to secure the Mexican border. They lavish in verses like “…for the laborer deserves his wages” (Luke 10:7) while sweeping under the carpet verses like, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:35-40).

RepublicanJesus

Democrats are no better. Their idea of Christ is social justice warrior who makes repentance optional and is more concerned with fairness in this life preaching, “You do you,” rather than giving up your rights and following Him. They place upon pedestals verses like, “…sell what you possess and give to the poor” (Matthew 19:21) while disregarding verses like, “The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here” (Matthew 12:41).

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Do not misunderstand; I am not downplaying any verses or raising some above others, but rather I am asking you to not lose sight of the common denominator here. In both cases, the guilty party (pun intended) has taken Scripture and cherry-picked whatever their, “…itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3) wish to hear. From where does this blatant abuse stem? It stems from a negligent attitude towards perhaps the most important verse concerning what it means to be a disciple of Christ, “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). In these cases, the politicizing of Christ is more than a simple twist of Scripture. It is downright refusal to let go of political allegiances. It is a rebuffing of the call to deny the self, and thus forcing Jesus to come to our level of righteousness.

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This line of thinking is where we find the essence of blasphemy. When Christians speak of blasphemy, the sin reaches deeper using God’s name in a context not glorifying to Him. While that issue is important, blasphemy has much deeper roots. The essence of blasphemy is, “…attaching the Lord’s name to an agenda that is not His. To tie the Lord’s name to any political candidate is extremely problematic. Indeed, a sense of our own fallibility and of honor to God may mean that we keep the Lord’s name out of endorsements of any candidate – any time, in any culture… He deserves more” – Gary Westra. I am not saying we should avoid voting, but when you bring Christ to our level and assume He thinks exactly like we do, we have muddied God’s name with the dirt of our own ignorance and arrogance. God is not behind a certain candidate. His plans are higher. His purposes are greater. He is orienting the world to further His Kingdom and His glory. May He come again soon.

“…you thought I was just like you. But I will rebuke you and lay out the case before you” – Psalm 50:21

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” – Matthew 28:18

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