Poll: WWJV – “What would Jesus vote” (or would he vote at all)? 7

I was reading this story from the Seattle Times (HT to Andy Crouch who is quoted in the story; and Eugene Cho) and it ends with this quote:

Braun, the seminary student, said he’s not totally committed to any candidate yet.

“I just keep thinking, if Jesus were alive now, he wouldn’t necessarily be voting Republican,” he said.

Which made me wonder, would Jesus be a part of the electoral process? I am not sure. I do think that it is a civic responsibility and duty for Americans to participate in the civil governance, although I know that not all bibliobloggers agree with me on that. But I cannot say that I am certain that Jesus would take part in it. Rather than presenting an argument either way, I will simply offer up this new poll.



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7 thoughts on “Poll: WWJV – “What would Jesus vote” (or would he vote at all)?

  • Looney

    Another seminary student asking the question “if Jesus were alive now … ?”. Obama’s new pastor didn’t mention the resurrection during his Easter sermon. I will avoid making the obvious deductions from the data.

    My theology states that Jesus cast his vote before time began.

  • James Endres Howell

    If you subscribe to the John Dominic Crossan construction of the historical Yeshua bin Miryam (certainly subject to debate, but my favorite), then I think you have to imagine Jesus delivering provocative parables intended to SUBVERT elections (or at least American style presidential elections).

    It’s hard to imagine any conception of Jesus in which he would approve of our contemporary status quo. That idea is one of a very few statements that might uncontroversially apply to all of the competing images of “Jesus.” I think it’s also rather uncontoversial that our elections are heavily stacked in favor of protecting the status quo.

    Moreover, it seems Jesus (especially the Jesus Seminar’s version) would regard attention to even a less flawed political process than ours as an irrelevant distraction from the more important practice of the “Kingdom of Heaven”—especially the immanent, Gnostic version. Otherwise, what did Jesus mean by the “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” remark?

  • Chris Brady Post author

    Thank you for your comments everyone. I am glad to see this generating some discussion. Looney, I will grant the student the leeway to consider the proposition, “if Jesus were here in bodily form to cast a ballot…” 😉

    James, I agree in large measure with your comments, but I don’t think one has to accept Crossan’s (re)creation of Jesus in order to view Jesus as subverting the current (in any time) power structure. There is little doubt that he was doing that with the religious establishment. Even while, I hasten to point out, maintaining many elements of traditional Israelite religion of the time. He was very Pharisaical in his theology, for example.

    I would quibble in that the notion of the Kingdom of God being immanent is not a Gnostic notion, or at least not initially. It is throughout the Gospels. That is the fun task I set for my students in my classes that deal with nascent Christianity: take all of the occurrences of the phrase “the kingdom of God” or “the kingdom of heaven” and determine whether these concepts are near or far. The answer, of course, is “yes.” Jesus and the Gospel writers use it in both ways.

    But you are getting to where my thinking is on this. Jesus would not be concerned about the current political structure, but I think he WOULD be concerned with people. That is to say, I believe Jesus is concerned to address the needs of people both in the hear and now and for the world to come. Thus the condition of humanity, which is often impacted mightily by the actions and behaviors of governments, would be of concern to Jesus. The time for the son of man on earth was short, however, so I think that politicking for a candidate would not have been on his agenda.

  • Steve

    Hmmm… Sounds like some long standing discussions that remind me (most directly in US history) of the Amish, and other similar groups. Groups set apart, and thus subject to the whims of whatever our government decides.

    In college (ages ago-even by your young standards Chris) I had a room-mate who challenged me with this. “Why do we keep asking what Jesus would do? He’s God. We cannot do what GOD would do. Perhaps a better question is ‘What would Paul (Peter, etc) do?'”

    I like that. How would Godly Men, who served at the feet of Jesus (and had him minister to their’s) respond. In this case, given that Paul exerts his rights as a Citizen for the Kingdom I suspect he would also have asserted his right to VOTE–but perhaps pushed for Kingdom Changing candidates.

    But then again, the long lens of history does in so many ways distort.