Monday, November 03, 2008

Who Would Jesus Vote For?


Who would Jesus vote for tomorrow (if he was a US citizen, of course)? Would he vote for McCain or Obama? After much consideration, I would have to say that the biblical Jesus would almost certainly not vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin for president and vice president, respectively. He would vote for Barack Obama.

First of all, Jesus Christ was a dark-skinned radical Jew, who was a poor under-educated tradesman. He was so radical that he actually believed that the divine resided within himself, and that he was God and God was he, as opposed to the more traditional Jewish view of a God that was separate from humanity and the world. This radical view basically got him killed by the Romans, who were the occupying military force of Jerusalem at the time. An unrepentant dark-skinned radical preaching that holiness resided within each individual is not the type of person that John McCain and Sarah Palin really seem to include in their myopic fundamentalist vision of America. While they seem to enjoy referencing the common man by occupation, i.e. Joe the Plumber, I'm not sure that they understand the trials and sufferings that the real common man is going through these days in "Real America", i.e. next door. Jesus the Carpenter was not one to be bought by big money and swayed by vitriolic slogans. In fact, he died defending his right as a divine human being to speak his mind and to say the truth that he felt deep inside of his immortal soul.

Jesus Christ was reported to have said that it was "easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle then a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." In a nutshell, Barack Obama wants to tax the rich to feed the poor and support the middle class. Right now, we are taxing the poor and middle class to make the super rich richer. In fact, George W Bush and the US Congress just handed over $700 billion of our taxpayer dollars to the rich so that they can continue creating more wealth for themselves, while allowing us real common folk to suffer job loss, loss of our homes, tight food budgets, huge medical costs, and high gas prices.. Does this make any sense? Not to Jesus it wouldn't. Jesus Christ, dirty with desert dust and sore in the sandals, hung out with thieves and prostitutes, and fed the poor even when low on funds. Jesus did not consider it man's sacred call to pull himself up by his bootstraps and hoard as much wealth as he can. This is the antithesis of his message, which was the theo-socialist concept that God will provide what is needed to those in need, and that the meek shall inherit the earth. Some human beings, through no fault of their own, will always find it challenging to provide for themselves and their families, and others will be able to, through no inherent superior abilities, provide for them. Because of this truth we can practice grace, charity, and compassion in a Godly fashion.

Forget for a moment the name-calling that the McCain campaign is engaging in, with "Socialist", "Muslim", "Anti-American", "Terrorist" as some of the the labels casually thrown about, and focus on what Obama really stands for. He stands for Peace, Hope, and Values.

These are some of the key values in Barack Obama's public statements on faith and politics

• God is constantly present in our lives, and this presence is a source of hope.

"Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope: In the end, that is
God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation, a belief in things not seen, a belief that there are better
days ahead." – Democratic National Convention Keynote Address.

• As Joshua built on the work of Moses, leaders of today – the 'Joshua Generation' – must
build of the foundation of previous generations to move our nation forward.

"The final thing that I think the Moses generation teaches us is to remind ourselves that we do what we do
because God is with us. You know, when Moses was first called to lead people out to the Promised
Land…the Lord said I will be with you. Throw down that rod. Pick it back up. I'll show you what to do.
The same thing happened with the Joshua generation.
Joshua said, you know, I'm scared. I'm not sure that I am up to the challenge. The Lord said to him,
every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon, I have given you. Be strong and have courage, for I
am with you wherever you go. Be strong and have courage. It's a prayer for a journey. A prayer that kept
a woman in her seat when the bus driver told her to get up, a prayer that led nine children through the
doors of that Little Rock school, a prayer that carried our brothers and sisters over a bridge right here in
Selma, Alabama. Be strong and have courage." -Address to Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, Selma,
Alabama, on the Anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

• Faith should not be used as a wedge to divide.

"We think of faith as a source of comfort and understanding but find our expressions of faith sowing
division; we believe ourselves to be a tolerant people even as racial, religious, and cultural tensions roil
the landscape. And instead of resolving these tensions or mediating these conflicts, our politics fans
them, exploits them, and drives us further apart." – The Audacity of Hope.

"Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America – there's the
United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian
America – there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red

States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for
them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking
around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in
the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one
people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of
America." – Democratic National Convention Keynote Address.

• The separation of church and state is critical and has caused our democracy and religious
practices to thrive.

"[Conservative leaders] need to understand the critical role that the separation of church and state has
played in preserving not only our democracy, but the robustness of our religious practice. Folks tend to
forget that during our founding, it wasn't the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective
champions of the First Amendment. It was the persecuted minorities, it was Baptists like John Leland…It
was the forbearers of the evangelicals who were the most adamant about not mingling government with
religion, because they did not want state-sponsored religion hindering their ability to practice their
faith…" – Call to Renewal Keynote Address

• Faith is a source of action for justice.

"Imagine Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address without reference to "the judgments of the Lord." Or
King's I Have a Dream speech without references to "all of God's children." Their summoning of a higher
truth helped inspire what had seemed impossible, and move the nation to embrace a common destiny." –
Call to Renewal Keynote Address

"We should never forget that God granted us the power to reason so that we would do His work here on
Earth - so that we would use science to cure disease, and heal the sick, and save lives." – World AIDS
Day Speech: Race Against Time

"Pastors, friends of mine like Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes, are wielding their enormous influences to
confront AIDS, Third World debt relief, and the genocide in Darfur. Religious thinkers and activists like
our good friend Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo are lifting up the Biblical injunction to help the poor as a
means of mobilizing Christians against budget cuts to social programs and growing inequality…Across
the country, individual churches like my own and your own are sponsoring day care programs, building
senior centers, helping ex-offenders reclaim their lives, and rebuilding our gulf coast in the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina." – Call to Renewal Keynote Address

• Government alone cannot solve all of our problems – we have an individual responsibility to
be our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper.

"And although government will play a crucial role in bringing about the changes we need, more money
and programs alone will not get us where we need to go. Each of us, in our own lives, will have to accept
responsibility - for instilling an ethic of achievement in our children, for adapting to a more competitive
economy, for strengthening our communities, and sharing some measure of sacrifice. So let us begin. Let
us begin this hard work together. Let us transform this nation." - Presidential Announcement

John McCain would like America to participate in an endless war against terrorism forever, regardless of how much life and money it costs. Jesus would not agree that this would be the right thing, the moral thing to do. In fact, it is downright sinful. Jesus said that "You have heard it said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I say if a man plucks your eye from your head, you should pluck out your other eye and give it to him as well." This is a guy who is not screwing around with nonviolence. Jesus is a radical peacenik who would have happily marched alongside Gandhi down to the sea to gather salt. John McCain and the Neoconservatives are pushing this endless war to create an endless source of wealth and power for themselves and their allies. Shall we bring up the book of Revelations and the Beast or should we just let that one lie, and realize that the Bush/McCain agenda is not for God or Love or Peace?

I believe that as a good and honest Christian, it is your duty to vote for a man of peace, hope, and justice that will lead America into a better place; a place where we can care for our disadvantaged citizens as well as pursue our own happiness. I feel that it is a huge mistake to vote Republican just because you are a Christian. Barack Obama is a Christian who worked very hard over the years to become the man he is today, and he has learned an essential truth. Faith is about love, and love is about caring for your fellow human as you would care for yourself. In my obviously strong opinion, voting for McCain is voting for hatred: hatred for those who cannot provide for themselves, hatred for those who have different spiritual beliefs or sexual orientations, and most of all hatred for peace on this earth and good will toward man. Please, vote with your heart and mind, not your faith and dogma.


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