Here is part 1 of a three-part series on Jesus, voting, and American politics.
Darrell L. Bock
How Would Jesus Vote? Do Your Political Positions Really Align with the Bible?
New York: Howard Books, 2016.
Available at Amazon
Darrell Bock’s book, originally written for the 2016 US election is not less readable and applicable for the 2020 election.
Bock canvasses some of the most contentious political topics of our day in light of the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. The purpose of the book is not to promote any one particular party or perspective but to objectively portray what the Bible does say about several hot-button political topics. Sensible, readable, and irenic.
Bock does not arrogate himself to the point of saying that he knows how Jesus would vote or for whom. Instead, he tries to think wisely and biblically about several contentious political topics.
In the various subjects that Bock covers, he makes many good points. The government needs to be big enough to do the things we need it to do for its citizens (this should be evident during the COVID crisis). America is neither a theocracy nor is it a state-church alliance, separation of church and state is good, and a type of secularism is also good, but it does not preclude Church and state occasionally working together for the common good.
There is an excellent discussion on healthcare too. Bock points out that Americans spend a higher percentage of GDP on healthcare than any other country in the world and yet have one of the lowest amounts of coverage and qualities of healthcare in the developed world, even lower than Cuba. A market-driven mechanism is not a good way to determine who gets healthcare and how to manage it. Bock gives a personal example of how his wife struggled to get a hysterectomy from their HMO. For more on that, see my posts on universal healthcare here. It should be the case that a doctor recommends a procedure, and you get it, without your insurer saying, “Hang on, do you really need that?” Or else, you can get cases like the one I read about where insurers will refuse to pay for chemo, but will offer to pay for euthanasia. Bock has a very good section on immigration too. Bock bids readers to consider who is their neighbor and how to love their neighbor, especially the foreigner and orphan. Immigration debates are not new, they’ve been around since the earliest days of the republic. Bock is definitely not open borders advocate, but offers a plea that we “evaluate where we are, take a fresh look at our policy, and create a solution that is compassionate and penalizes violators in ways that are responsive to our laws.” On Gun control, Bock thinks there is a legitimate argument as to whether certain weapons are really needed for either self-defense or recreation, but he concedes that we may be passed the point of no return given the circulation of certain weapons in the USA (FYI, the Aussie and NZ experience shows that you are never beyond the point of no return).
Bock covers so many other topics ranging from war and peace, foreign policy, education, and abortion, but you can read those ourself.
A lot of this book is not so much picking up teachings of Jesus and applying them to US political debates, it is more like reasoning from Jesus as to how we are followers of Jesus today.
On the whole, a great book about Jesus and US politics, well worth a read, and will hopefully challenge and stimulate Christians in how their faith applies to the ballot box.