Quick disclaimer: I’m not going to really mock religion this time. This isn’t about whether Jesus actually existed or not. This isn’t about whether Conservatives are stupid or not. This is about whether Christian ideology matches Conservative ideology. Would Jesus actually be a Conservative? Do Conservatives actually like Jesus’ supposed message? That’s what this article is about. No judgement from me. Just a simple analysis about two ideologies that have lay together, as with a woman, so to speak.
Let’s start by clarifying terms. While I’m on the topic, let me clearly state that “Christian” applies to a broad range of people with various political ideas. So if I say something that doesn’t apply to you and your brand of Christianity, then move on. I’m not trying to lump all Christians together or all Conservatives together. I’m talking about a specific type of person who is both Christian and Conservative.
I define “Christian” as “one who believes that Jesus was the son of God/is God”. Some variations include accepting Jesus as your personal savior, or whatever. I don’t really care about which path to heaven you claim. What matters is that I’m talking about people who purport to follow the teachings of Jesus as written in the Bible.
I define “Conservative” as “one who advocates for more traditional values and smaller role of government”. I’m further going to limit my article to social conservatives, instead of including fiscal conservatives, because this isn’t about money. It’s about ideas.
Now that that’s out of the way, for the last 40 years, or so, the Conservatives (primarily, if not exclusively, Republicans) have become so intertwined with Christians that the titles could be almost interchangeable. If someone says they are Christian, you assume they are Republican. If they are Republican, you assume they are Christian. But why? My position is that Jesus’ message, actually resonates more with Liberal ideology, not Conservative ideology.
Let’s try to isolate Jesus’ core message. Matthew 23:12 states, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” My interpretation of this, would be that ego is bad, and we should be unpretentious. Mark 8:36 says “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”, a clear message that we should not be concerned with worldly goods, and should instead focus on more noble matters. Matthew 5:44 famously says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 7:12 paraphrases the Golden Rule, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”
When taken in the context of the time, Jesus is trying to comfort the lower classes of society. Fishermen, prostitutes, poor people. Those who do not live advantageous lives. Jesus isn’t preaching to the rich. He’s not holding fancy feasts asking for campaign donations. He’s holding impromptu speeches on mountain tops, and feeding the people with magic. His message is about hope. It’s about love. It’s about improving society. It’s about helping those who need it most.
Now let’s look at some conservative quotes. A few days ago, Mo Brooks a Republican Congressperson from Alabama said, “My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all of these costs thereby reducing the costs to those people who lead good lives. They’re healthy. They’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy, and right now, those are the people who have done things the right way.” This implies that bad people get sick and good people don’t. Does this correspond to Jesus’ message from Mark 2:17, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” or Jesus’ multiple occasions where he healed lepers and the possessed? Jesus didn’t even ask for a copay. He didn’t ask if they had insurance. He saw it as the right thing to do, so he did it.
Rush Limbaugh (who I struggle to take seriously) said, “The only way to reduce the number of nuclear weapons is to use them.” Sure, maybe he was on a fuckton of opiates at the time, but he’s still a voice Christian Conservatives cling to. Clearly, Jesus and Limbaugh have different ideas of how to love one’s neighbors and those who wrong them.
Andre Bauer, Lieutenant Governor from South Carolina was against food assistance programs, stating, “You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.” This must be why Jesus didn’t feed the multitudes with those loaves and fish (Matthew 14:13-21:13. Oh. By the way, that story also includes this line, “… he [Jesus] saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.”
Now, I could really go on for years, cherry picking quotes from Conservatives that don’t match what Jesus said. And that’s the problem. These are two concepts that do not mesh. They are opposing world views. So how did they get together? Abortion. I mean, that’s pretty much it.
It’s not really about gay marriage, because most religious Americans support same sex rights. It’s not really about race, because most (but sadly, not all) religious Americans are fine with interracial relationships. It’s not about foreign policy. It’s not about crime. It’s about abortion. Back in the 1970s, the Republicans lost the war for the youth. The summer of love, and free speech, and the dirty anti war hippies won. The Republicans faced annihilation.
They needed more voters. As pointed out by Samantha Bee, at the time, religious people were politically inactive, because they viewed politics as too dirty and immoral. The Republicans convinced them that voting was a moral issue to stop blacks from attending white schools, and then, after they lost that, abortion, and here we are.
Yet in today’s modern times, the Christians aren’t voting for their moral views. They largely supported Donald Trump, who is a giant ball of orange sin. Christians seem to have lost their way. But fear not. For I am the light.
What do Liberals and Progressives stand for? Sure, most of us do support a woman’s right to have an abortion. None of us WANT women to have abortions. But we do want them to have that OPTION. We would much rather people have access to birth control. Yet the Christians are against that, too. Or is it the Conservatives? I don’t remember. In any case, just like I don’t expect a Conservative to agree with all Conservatives on all topics, I don’t expect the same from Liberals. I’m sure there are Liberals who are against abortion.
Liberals want equality, first and foremost. We don’t want one group of people valued more than the rest. We don’t think straight people are better than gays. We don’t think men are better than women. We don’t think that white people are better than blacks. I think this is exactly in tune with Jesus’ message. Galatians 3:28 says clearly, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. I mean, sure Jesus said that if Peter joined him, they would be “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19), but I don’t think that it was meant sexually, so let’s say that Jesus was neutral on the gays. The only thing you can point to is the Old Testament, and most modern Christians reject most of the Old Testament, so let’s do the same.
Healing the sick, the poor, the refugees? That’s a Liberal agenda. And also Jesus’.
This is getting a little long, so I’ll end it here. I could give more examples, but I think I’ve made my points. Christians, take a moment, and ignore what Fox News says. Ignore whatever pundits have said about a War on Christmas, or a War on Christianity, or whatever Liberal Conspiracy you’ve heard. Think strictly about the words of your savior, in your holy book. Who do they sound more like?
“We will carpet-bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out!” – Ted Cruz, Conservative Presidential Candidate
“The United States must end the international embarrassment of being the only major country on earth which does not guarantee workers paid medical and family leave, paid sick time and paid vacation time.” – Bernie Sanders, Progressive Presidential Candidate
If you’re a Christian, then it’s time you started acting like Christ, and doing the right thing. That includes helping those less fortunate than you, loving your enemies, and showing that love and compassion can bring about world peace. That means joining the Liberals, where we are trying to do the same thing.