Using Jesus to Get Votes

Using Jesus to Get Votes October 8, 2014

I spotted some conservative organization’s voters’ guides in the room where a very conservative member of my church leads a small Sunday school class. I was struck by the way the pamphlet tries to hijack conservative religious concerns to garner votes. A couple of points seem worth noting.

jesusvotesrepublican1First, there is a consistent record of Republican and other conservative candidates featuring in scandals that show they do not actually practice what they claim to stand for. And so that ought to have made unambiguously clear to everyone that they do not actually stand for those things. And yet still the voters guides are made which show favored candidates as “pro-life” or “pro-marriage.”

Since there is such a significant chance that the pro-life candidate has gotten (someone) pregnant and an abortion was sought, and that the pro-marriage candidate’s marriage is falling apart while he or she is involved in a clandestine relationship with a member of the same sex, why on earth are conservative Christians still falling for this patent attempt to manipulate them into voting for candidates who do not actually share their morals?

Second, the attempt to turn voting into a question of only one issue (abortion) or a very small number is likewise an attempt to manipulate voters. David Brin put it well in a recent post:

What conservatives needed was a single issue that would make the crucial difference, like an on-off switch. Something so pure and absolute that Jesus would have to switch sides, holding his nose and saying: “I disagree with you right-wingers on every social and economic and general moral point, and yet… I must still side with you against the goll-durn lib’ruls. Bcause I can’t abide baby-killers.”
If you had to come up with such an all-or-nothing test, “baby-killing” would pretty much be it. Just by defining humanity at conception, you eliminate any need to consider Jesus’s wishes on other matters, like economic fairness, or pacifism, or inheritance by the meek, or… You get it; nothing else need be considered!

The rest of his post is focused on showing how this is manipulative – on the one hand, the Bible’s treatment of the subject of abortion (or rather, its relative silence on the subject) does not line up with the modern “pro-life” stance, while on the other hand, “pro-life” legislation does not consistently reduce the number of abortions people actually have. And at any rate, Christians should be concerned with more than one issue.

It is shameful that politicians use the name of Jesus to try to gain votes for themselves.

But it is even more shameful that Christians so often fall for it.

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  • Stephen Savage

    This has been going on for a long time. When I was in seminary, some forty years ago, I was told by several professors that I couldn’t be a Christian if I voted Democratic.

  • texcee

    I am nearly driven to homicide when this happens. It’s one of the reasons I quit going to church and won’t vote Republican for ANYTHING.

  • lollardheretic

    I agree to a point, but if a person is religious, then I think it would be very hard not to vote, at least to some degree, with those beliefs in mind. And that goes for all areas of the political spectrum. (For example, by beliefs as a Christian do affect how I vote: I vote for things like welfare programs, better pay for teachers, etc. because I think we’re supposed to take care of the poor, take care of children, etc.) My religious beliefs entwine with my political ones. (Though I do agree that one-issue voting is a problem most of the time.)

    • John A. C. Kelley

      The thing is that’s Jesus’ main message was about taking care of the poor, sick, immigrant, and prisoner.

      What do Democrats want? More money for the poor, universal health care for the sick, open borders for the immigrant, and no death penalty along with more social justice for the prisoner.

      What are Republicans for? The poor just don’t work hard enough, the sick need to find their own insurance, immigrants need to stay out, and prisoners should die or live like animals.

      Are these universal truths? No. Is there more than these four things? Yes, but these four things are found as a message from God in nearly every book, if not every book, of the Bible.

  • Anne T

    This tactic was used in prohibition. The country is split more or less equally. The “Drys” determined that they only needed about 10% of the voters to be what they call single-issue voters to get their candidates elected. This does not necessarily mean that the candidate actually represented the majority viewpoint of the citizens, but the single-issue voters plus those that would have normally voted for the candidate anyway (and may not necessarily agree with the single-issue stance) were enough to win the election.

    • Andrew Dowling

      Good point . . hadn’t thought about the Prohibition analogy.