Would you vote for Jesus?

Would you vote for Jesus? 

Jesus for President of the United States…

But first this: 
“Evangelicals for Trump! (From the website by the same name.) “Evangelicals for Trump Are Ready To Help Re-Elect President Donald J. Trump in 2020. Join The Movement Today and Ensure Religious Freedoms Are Kept As A Top Priority. Protect Religious Freedom. Vote Trump 2020. Keep America Great. Stand With Trump. Paid for by DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT, INC. Evangelicals.DonaldJTrump.com

This reelection coalition that was recently introduced by the President at El Rey Jesus Church in Miami – got me thinking. 

First, a disclaimer. I struggle with the idea of Evangelicals, Catholics, Protestants or any broadly identified institutions of faith being for (or against) any political candidate. First, I don’t think there is such a thing as everyone in a denomination or faith tradition of any size being for one candidate. So, the private and public position of institutions of faith being for or against a particular candidate inherently divides that community – or mutes those who might disagree with the position. And, this type of campaigning also divides us on religious/faith grounds from one another, diminishing (I think) the role of faith in our lives together. This co-opting of faith for institutional political gain does not appeal to me; it feels as though it cheapens something very sacred. 

I do believe that my voice/our voice, rooted in faith, has an authority to speak about policy and candidates who might move those policies forward. As a person of faith, my authority for speaking out against or for certain legislation is incumbent upon me. Likewise for congregations that take a position on gun control, human trafficking, abhorrent immigration practices, poverty, exclusion of people who are Queer as full participants in church and society and more. We are supposed to speak out, take positions…I believe.

For me, the motives get more blurry when support for a candidate turns to proselytization, saying things like:  “God called this person; God often calls imperfect people to implement God’s will. This candidate is divinely chosen by God.”  That last part is probably true, but only as true as it is that God has chosen me for the highest secular office in this USA. (Jk)

God always uses us to move God’s will forward. And, by nature, humans are imperfect, if only because we are incomplete until reunited again in God’s Eternal Love. It’s just that it gets icky for me when unacceptable behavior that might be considered uncharitable, illegal or worse – gets lumped in to a benign categorization of the theological imperfection of human nature as an excuse.  (Spoiler Alert: And if it get us what we want – it’s ok.)

So, it brings me back to my question. If God nominated Jesus to be President do you think folks would vote for Jesus? Do you think all these folks seeing a particular candidate as appointed by their Savior would vote for Jesus and all his teachings? Would they really work to turn Matthew 25 into a way of life for a nation and the world?  Do you think folks who had them – would give up the second tunic, the second house, the second car? Would they lend money without interest? Would they allow everyone to sit at their table – as a equally loved by God? Would gated communities be “ungated”? Would they really vote for someone who would call them to practice and live into The Great Commandment, by someone who had with the ultimate authority to do so?

Would they really vote for Jesus as a way of moving beyond our own inherent imperfection, or is it all just a campaign line of an organized few that really doesn’t reflect their true faith authority at all, rather just a parsing of faith to the degree it produces a particular outcome? If so, that is truly very sad.

Would we really vote for Jesus. I don’t know… but it would be something, wouldn’t it?!

Ray Bagnuolo, Chaplain
That All May Freely Serve
1/15/2020; ray@nulltamfs.org
631-827-8611; www.facebook.com/TAMFS