It’s political season, have you noticed? (Seriously, kill me now.)
As part of that political season, pundits like to crack numbers, explore potential paths to victory, and discuss voter blocks. One of those voter blocks is yuge– in fact, it’s hard to win the presidency without it: The Evangelical vote.
I know this block well– I grew up in it. I was one of them. I still hold many of the same theological values they hold, and if it were not for the fact the term has become a political term instead of a theological distinction, I might even still consider myself one.
But if Jesus ran for president? Well, I can nearly assure you: He’d never win the Evangelical vote. Here’s 10 reasons why:
10. Jesus was famous for giving away free healthcare.
One of the core aspects of Jesus’s earthly ministry was healing the sick– it’s actually how he became so popular (Mark 1:45). It is undeniable that healing the sick was high on Jesus’s radar, but sadly, I don’t see that priority shared within the political label of “Evangelical.” This election season, the candidates most popular with Evangelicals are actually running on the promise that they will take healthcare away from people.
You won’t find two more opposing messages than that.
9. Rich Evangelicals would see him as a divisive candidate who waged class warfare.
Let me assure you: Rich people wouldn’t be a fan of Jesus, because when he talked about rich people it wasn’t on positive terms. Instead, Jesus said things like “Woe to you who are rich!” (Luke 6:24) and even used hyperbole to argue that being wealthy makes it basically impossible to enter God’s Kingdom (Matthew 19:24). Contrast this with all Jesus’s talk on how blessed the poor will be in his Kingdom, and I can promise: He’d be accused of being anti-rich and promoting class warfare.
8. He threatened those who exclude immigrants and do not help the poor.
The political term “Evangelical” is not known for including immigrants and being focused on helping the poor– and those are the people Jesus threatened with eternal damnation in Matthew 25. This would be a political death-blow (it actually was), as the rich and powerful would be infuriated with the idea that building walls to shut out immigrants, and failing to be generous to poor people, results in an eternal punishment and exclusion from God’s Kingdom.
7. He told people to pay their taxes.
Jesus ministered in an area that was grossly over-taxed, and people were miserable for it. Yet when he was asked about this, instead of calling taxation “theft” and rebuking the government, he simply looked at the coin and said, “If the money has the president’s face on it, and the president asks for it, give back to him whatever he asks for.” (Matthew 22:21)
This clear disinterest in fighting issues of government taxation would not go over well with American Evangelicals.
6. Jesus was known for staging public protests at church.
Instead of political appearances at churches to try to win their political support, Jesus is the guy who confronted church leaders and said, “Hey you guys! Did you see that the the most notorious sinners have entered the Kingdom ahead of you?” (Matthew 21:31). He is also the guy who went into the only mega-church of his day and completely ransacked the place because they were oppressing the poor and excluding people the church thought were “out.”
That kind of activity not only fails to win votes, it actually gets you killed.