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Would Jesus Win an Election?

Less than three months from now, national elections will be held and a plurality of eligible voters will choose leadership for the country.

From the messages now filling the nation’s television screens, it is clear that every candidate is certain that God is on his/her side.

All this has led me to ponder how the world would respond to a member of God’s family seeking a place on the ballot.

Could Jesus win a national election in a nation so many like to identify as “Christian”?

I suspect he would have trouble being elected mayor of our fair city, let alone president of these sovereign United States.

Can you imagine a platform with a point calling us to love our enemies, or for some cheek-turning to insults, let alone slaps across the proud jaw of Uncle Sam?

What would Cal Thomas, the voice of Christian conservatives, who recently defended the humiliation and torture of prisoners, have to say about this “loving,” “blessing” and “turning the cheek” business?

The doctrine that the end justifies any means has been used to justify cruel and inhuman actions by Christians for a thousand years. One would be hard put to find in the New Testament any words or actions of Jesus to justify pre-emptive strikes or barbaric treatment of prisoners of war. Jesus might not be committed enough to a philosophy of “America, right or wrong.”

Maybe we could get Jesus to do what the disciples couldn’t–to rain down fire on Samaritans, Iraqis or whomever. A promise to put the Left Behind guys in charge of the military might overcome the concessionary policies expressed in the Sermon of the Mount. Perhaps they could persuade Jesus to get the Armageddon thing going to get the big war on and over.

“Candidate Jesus, what kind of budget will you present to Congress?”

If his earthly actions and words offer any clues, it would be weighted toward medical research, cures for AIDS and cancer.

Affordable health care for every citizen would surely be a priority. Jesus might be a threat to weaken our defenses by shifting funds from tanks and bombs to child care, poverty, education and the environment.

Even without these impractical policies, Jesus would not make an attractive candidate by today’s standards.

Oh, the baby-kissing thing would go over well, but would his personal life raise questions?

Jesus was not married and was seen hanging out with women of questionable virtue. There might be whisper about how much time he spent with people of the same sex. Then there is that weeping thing, a sure sign of weakness in a potential leader of the free world.

The truth is that those who want to wed church and state prefer Old Testament warrior kings to the Prince of Peace. They want “Christian values” to influence certain policies but not those with regard to the expenditure of public funds for health, education or the relief of poverty.

Those who clamor most about the right to life also are loud in their demands for the death penalty and vengeance against our enemies.

If the rhetoric of the Christian “right” is any evidence, it is unlikely Jesus could count on the Christian bloc should his name appear on a presidential or congressional ballot.

Raymond Bailey is pastor of Seventh and JamesBaptistChurch. This article appeared previously in the Waco Tribune-Herald and is used here with permission.