Would you vote for Jesus?

By Alan Bean

Richard Cohen asks why the GOP is beating up on Mitt Romney.  Sure, the Republican candidate “espouses extreme positions he does not for a moment believe.”  But what are his options?  Republicans who hope to survive the Iowa caucuses are forced so far to the right that they surrender mainstream appeal.  If they win Iowa, their feet are nailed to the floor.

Cohen thinks this explains why GOP politicians with talent and intelligence refused to enter the 2012 presidential follies–they saw the train wreck coming.  Romney won, in Cohen’s view, because he was the most competent navigator on a ship of fools.

I suspect the Washington Post columnist is right, but how do we account for an electorate that forces Republican candidates to deny climate change, suggest that the US Constitution is a Christian document and kiss off the scientific community while systematically alienating Latinos, African Americans and women?  How do we explain the strength of the Tea Party?  Yeah, I know the Koch brothers have backed these insurgents with their megabucks, but it takes more than money to make a movement.  There is some genuine outrage simmering in the heartland.

And why, despite Mitt Romney’s lackluster campaigning and embarrassing gaffes, is this race still close?  Why is Barack Obama, a reputed radical socialist Muslim extremist, afraid to reference mass incarceration, mass deportation, pardons and commutations, Guantanamo, global warming, NAFTA, single payer health care, the rapid disappearance of American manufacturing, labor’s right to organize, a crumbling infrastructure, the tragedy of Iraq or the utter futility of Afghanistan?

And why does the Democratic platform, to the extent there is one, read like a watered down version of conservative orthodoxy?  Democrats are tough on crime, just not as tough as some Republicans appear to be.  Democrats embrace the DREAM act, but work hard to show how tough they can be on undocumented immigrants.  Democrats support a health care compromise cobbled together by a Republican Governor who must now disavow his own ideas.

If Barack Obama is elected, he will, apart from a few social issues like gay rights, continue to govern like an old school Republican.  The president only sounds like a champion of women and ethnic minorities because his opponent has abandoned these constituencies.

America has become a decidedly conservative nation.  Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama flourish because they have come to terms with the stark realities of American political life.  We have grown tough, spiteful, proud, paranoid, ignorant, unmerciful and intolerant.  Woe to the presidential candidate who thinks otherwise.

The scandal of American religion is but one consequence.  The Bible is a book written by the vanquished for the vanquished.  We try our best to identify with God’s people as they toil in the glare of Pharaoh’s frown, hang their harps by the waters of Babylon, and confront the strutting spirituality of Imperial Rome.   But let’s face it, we have more in common with Pharaoh than with Moses; we resemble Nebuchadnezzar more than Jeremiah; and we share the fears and enthusiasms of Caesar Augustus, not Jesus of Nazareth.

We confine ourselves to less than 10% of the biblical narrative because the other 90% is foreign to our experience and we want to keep it that way.

Dwight McKissic, a conservative black Baptist pastor in Arlington, Texas, can’t see himself voting for either candidate in October.  He thinks Barack Obama is dead wrong on gay rights and he can’t understand why Mitt Romney won’t back away from his religion’s traditional racism.  McKissic says he might cast a write-in vote for Jesus Christ.

But the Prince of Peace isn’t on the ballot.  We have exactly the candidates we have demanded and we’re stuck with them.  Who would Mitt Romney and Barack Obama be if they could think and speak freely?  The question is meaningless; they have no choice but to speak and think like the rest of us.  Circumstances have forced Mr. Romney to identify with the hard right while Mr. Obama occupies the mushy middle.    One man speaks for the makers (the wealthy), the other speaks for “ordinary Americans” (the vaunted middle class). No one in higher office speaks for the poor and the marginalized–it would be political suicide.  You can get elected by bashing the 47%; otherwise, they must be ignored.

But what if Jesus Christ did insinuate himself into American politics?  Would you vote for him?

Unless he backed away from every singe one of his established positions, the Nazarene would be ridiculed as a peace-loving friend of welfare moochers and illegal aliens.  Those who take a bold stand for the Son of God would be the first to cast a stone at him and the last to cast a ballot for him.

Two thousand years on, little has changed.

So, we’re stuck with Mitt and Barack, two men who will reflect our imperial preferences because that’s what American politicians must do.  You may prefer one man to the other (I certainly do), but we can do no better.

But here’s the question: do you want to do better?  Would you support a candidate who exposed our imperial posturing and our hardness of heart?   You may want Jesus in your heart, but do you want him in the White House or, even worse, in the pulpit?

19 thoughts on “Would you vote for Jesus?

  1. zbethwalker
    One day I woke up and realized that WE (the Americans) are Rome. This is a great blog. One day our pastor preached the most radical speech I have ever heard, and it was mostly Bible verses.

  2. Alan – another great contribution. I will soon be giving a reflection on the Bible to our Pepperdine students here in Heidelberg and I plan to straight-out steal your paragraph about the vanquished…..with due acknowledgement of course!!

  3. Alan–wow! stunning analysis but you left out my pet peeve–how do we justify legally, morally, or ethically the murder of Americans on foreign soil by our drones?? no one says anything about it–the left because they don’t want to criticize Obama and not the right because they want to use the power if they ever gain the office–not most of the sheep because they are too busy worrying about whether they will get the I-phone 5, or who will wint the football game–sad state of affairs, but your analysis is brillant–thanks for sharing

  4. I agree, Rod. Drones, for those on the receiving end, must be horrific. Even if we could be sure we were getting the right people, which we can’t, we are sewing the wind when we use these weapons. And then we wonder why nobody likes us.

  5. I have heard one or two comments in the middle media about drones. There is a far left who keep talking. And I think Barack has been trying. He is aware, having been a community organizer.

  6. Second reply. I have pondered this blog for days. I am too tired nowadays. I helped stop one war. I am marched out.

  7. Friday morning. I dreamed last night about being involved in a big mass protest against the war in general. This is heavy on my heart

  8. You are missin the obvious. Both parties are controlled by the Trans National BANKSTERS who are h3ll bent on bankruptin and destroying America, especially her middle class and establish us as just another dirt poor nation.

    Their ultimate goal is to create their One World Government. Then the poor will find out about their plans to “balance ” the worlds population to between 500 Million to 2 Billion. It ain’t goin to be pretty.

    The difference between the R and D is like the difference between Studio Wrestlers or the ole Good Cop/Bad cop game. Just check out who are bankrolling BOTH parties? LOL!

    Ole George W. was just John the Baptist to the Messiah, President Obama. You Demos like BANKSTER bailouts, Croney Corporate Fascism, Gitmo, increased Afgan deaths, enhanced Patriot Act, NDAA, gittin on the plane gittin molested by the TSA, killin American citizens by presidential decree? Sounds like Dick Cheney’s wet dream.

    But it’s ALL about your team is beatin your team. LOL!

    PS: No mention of the DEMO delegates votin down G-d 3 times at the convention? Sounds kinda Biblical to me. Nothin to LOL about.

  9. Gosh – I am wondering how my cousin from Indiana found this site. Or maybe Glen Beck is posting anywhere he can using an unrecognizable ID. It would be nice if this was from one of those pseudo-trolls [what are they called again?] but unfortunately it is probably a rant from someone who actually believes this tripe. There is enough in this short rant to keep the folks at Snopes.com busy for a day or two.

  10. Mac-101, you won’t find anything on MSNBC about One World Government conspiracies. You are right that both parties get a lot of their money from the financial community, but there is no motive behind Wall Street’s largess more sinister than personal gain. What does the Democrats attitude to God have to do with the rest of your comment–I don’t get the connection.

  11. You will find an occasional remark made by a global leader and financer stated on MSNBC refering to the need to one world currency and global government. Today had an article about the numerous UN Global Tax plans they are attempting to enact. The other subjects are well documented in the past on MSM including MSNBC, government financed by GE and Tarp money in the past.

    Since this article was about whether you would vote for Jesus, I tought it appropriate that on the first verbal vote the DEMO convention was about 2/3rds against putting back G-d in the party platform, the second vote was well over half, and the third was about 50/50. This doesn’t sound like renouncing G-d to you? It sure sounded like Peter refusing to acknowledge Christ three times before the Cock crows to me. No sweat, the Mayor just said that there was a 2/3rd majority to reinclude G-d. Will that make G-d happy?

    If we do not live in the end times we sure do live in interesting interesting times.

    Peace Out.

  12. I’m sorry, After rereading your question the DEMO G-d vote pretty much sums up the Nation turning it’s back to G-d. Good things do not happen after that. Solomons Temple must be rebuilt. Most likely after the entire ME gets eaten by the magic mushroom. The Anti-Christ will rule all nations for 42 months and the mark of the Beast must be placed on the forehead or the hand to either buy or sell. Christ will return accompanied by ALL those who were beheaded who refused to renounce him and refused to take the mark of the beast.

    Just trying to help you understand were we End of Timmers are comming from. Peace be with you.

  13. Many of the Democrats who didn’t want God put back into the party platform were Christians who don’t like the idea of using the Almighty as a party mascot. Mentioning God for the sole purpose of winning votes is blasphemous. Here’s the curious thing. You are opposed to the financial industry’s control over American politics yet I suspect you will vote for the party most closely aligned with the financial sector. Wall Street was cool with Barack Obama until he started making the occasional reference to “Fat-cat bankers”; now they hate him. Do you intend to vote, Mac-101? If you say “A pox on both their houses” will you be voting for a third-party candidate?

  14. Sometimes I think that end-timers like to be stuck in Revelation and other passages thought to be about Christ’s return because they can then ignore or othewise downplay the Sermon on the Mount and more importantly Matthew 25:31 and following.

    “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “

  15. I will probably hold my nose and vote for Romney. Only because I know ALL you Libs will once again fight aginst the BANKSTER bailouts, QE 4 but supposedly QE 3 doesn’t have an end date, fight once again against the war and the NEW Enhancesed Patriot Act and generally slow down the rapidly escalating erosion of our civil liberties granted by our Constitution when you are not in power..

    One can not import the majority of products and energy from overseaas and give to the poor indefinately. The Chi-Coms and the Oil Ticks will demand their due soon. Gonna be ugly. The top TEN % in America are only worth less than 5 Trillion according to MSNBC. The 1200 Billionairs in the entire WORLD are only worth a little over 5 Trillion. Can’t support the give aways by taking ALL their assets. Somethin gonna give.

    I am a Constitutional Libertarian. Nedless to say I don’t belong to either party. We are so broke real Scientific Socialism and cost benifit analysis as a basis for Gov expenditures would be an improvement over the Crony Corporate Fascism we now have.

    PS: WWII was won in less than 4 years. We flooded the world with military arms, food and building supplies, we can not fix our economy in 4? The top .001% have increased trheir wealth significantly while the Congress has increased their wealth 25% over the last 4 years. The middle class has lost 40% of their assets.

  16. Okay, this is what I suspected. You think the financial industry is a big part of the problem but the bottom line is that you resent the poor even more. Are you an Ayn Rand style libertarian who believes in God?

  17. Negative, I beleive in common sence solutions to real problems. Just as health care is broken, Oboma care creates even bigger problems. LAUYERS still git to sue, ole people will get less care, your medical records will be maintained by the Fed Gov, Pharma companies continue to make BIG prophits, look up the donations to BOTH parties. And we can’t forget the IRS will be able to sieze any money you owe right out of your bank account. Can you say bounced checks and hungry babies? As a side note, isn’t it interesting that a certain president who writes about being stoned and snorting coke is now busting medical pot growers? Even George W didn’t do that. LOL!

    Energy costs are about 40 to 60 % of the cost of every product we consume. What have we done? Continue to restrict oil production, “bankrupt” the coal industry, and invest in “green companies” which result in major kickbacks to contributers. CNG is a viable energy souce today. A CNG car produces little polution and cost half the cost of gas to run. Don’t see much investment there, the technology is here NOW.

    You beleive unemployment is 8.2 or is it 8.3%? We just have an executive order allowing 800,000 to a million MORE people to legally enter the job market. While Romney also favors allowing ALL foreigners to remain and work in the US with a college degree. That paper is really becoming worth something to a US citizen. LOL! The borders needed secured 25 years ago. Ya, we need a billion people in the US just like China.

    We need the Fair Tax, not the rip off tax where wage earners, not the wealthy, pay the majority of taxes. The Elites and Trust fund babies need to pay their fair share.

    We need Fair trade, not supposedly Free Trade. Do I need to tell you ALL the restrictions that the Chi-Coms place upon US goods? If there is a 30 Billion dollar monthly trade deficiet with China, make it a 300% tarrif for Chinese goods for the next month. Let them buy our goods or pay or taxes. Without a manufacturing base, we will ALL become poor. I was a US Steel Worker for 11 years till 1985. Do I need to tell you how that worked out?

    I can go on and on. I have lived in a condeemed house in the Ghetto and in a delapidated trailer that was scrapped for metal by meth heads in the country. I’ve seen life across this country and around the world. Never have I lived or seen the “Beautifull people” that is poisining this country.

    So let me add, the financial institutions are merely the water boys for the ELITES who have run the world for the last 200 years plus. Don’t you think it’s kinda funny that the richest man in the world is supposedly Carlos Slim, a Mexican with a telephone company in a supposedly “Socialist” country. The Rothchilds, Schiffs, Rockerfellers and the rest barely show up in the Forbes lists?

    Just continue to cheer for your team to win. And remember, conspiracy people are ALL kooks. JFK was really killed by a single bullet by a lone gunman. LOL!

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