Being a “Christian” means “being a little Christ.” Put even more succinctly, it means “following Jesus.”
Can you actually do things on this list and call yourself a Christian? Well, of course. Sadly, people do it all the time.
Are you following Jesus when you vote for these things. Nope.
1) Anti-LGBT laws
Ask yourself: “Who would Jesus discriminate against?”
As you think about the answer, keep in mind that while the Pharisees encouraged discrimination against women, tax collectors, the poor, and even Samaritans, Jesus went out of his way to radically include them all.
Now, “go and do likewise.”
2) Turning away immigrants.
Christian heritage runs through Judaism. We are an immigrant people.
Even our religion began in other lands.
Our spiritual ancestors, Abraham and Sarah were told by God to pick up what they had and start traveling. Moses, Miriam and Aaron led a nation out of Egypt, into the desert and ultimately to new lands. Even Jesus spent part of his childhood as a foreigner in a foreign land.
As Exodus says, we know how it feels to be foreigners in a foreign land. If you don’t think being foreigners in a foreign land is still our story, ask the Native Americans. At best, turning away immigrants makes us hypocrites; at worst, it makes us betrayers of our ancestors and our God.
3) Letting people go hungry.
Gandhi said, “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
Politically, hunger causes problems with education, production and civil behavior which are all necessary for a successful nation. More importantly for Christians, Jesus said when we feed the hungry, we are feeding him.
4) Favoring the rich over the poor.
Favoring the rich over the poor is a slap in the face of Jesus, his life, and his teachings.
In terms of the teachings of Jesus, it is bad enough when we allow the rich to take advantage of the poor, but when we create laws which not only encourage the behavior but also protect it? Well, let’s just say it becomes crystal clear how ironic it is that we print, “In God We Trust,” on our money.
5) Advocating for War.
There’s a reason why Jesus was called the Prince of Peace.
Sure, you can quote, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword,” and even two or three other verses but they don’t hold a candle to the more than fifty-some verses where Jesus speaks about peace and peacemaking.
Most of Jesus’ teachings come back to one thing, “love.”
It is way far away from loving a person to kill them.
I guess there’s a reason why we say, “God is love.”
In the end, love wins.
6) Limiting access to healthcare.
Did you ever play the game “Follow the Leader”?
If you don’t do what the leader does, you are out.
Following means you should imitate as closely as possible.
When people who were sick needed care, Jesus gave it to them.
If we are following Jesus, we will imitate him as closely as possible. No, the government can’t repeat the miracles he did but I’ve seen modern medicine do things that are about as close to a miracle as I expect to get. While the government can’t do miracles, it can supply modern medicine.
We Christians like to talk about “saving” people. Well, I know of about 20,0000 to 45,000 people who’d love for us to do it and we should – because that’s how love works.
7) Devaluing education.
We learn in Proverbs that wisdom is something in which God delights daily.
As a matter of fact, according to Proverbs, wisdom is better than gold.
When you look at the percentage of our budget which goes to education and at what little help Congress is giving around student loans, it’s pretty clear that delighting in wisdom is something our government no longer does.
To follow Jesus, we need to make education a priority. After all, he was a rabbi – a teacher.
8) Supporting capital punishment — execution.
Jesus died by execution.
He was an innocent man.
Every year, innocent people die by execution in our nation.
It’s time to be a shining city on a hill. It’s time to express the fullness of love, to express the value of life. It’s time to stop the government-sanctioned killing.
9) Forcing your religion on others.
One of the strengths of the faith Jesus taught about was its meekness.
The faith he taught valued free will over compulsion – because that’s how love works.
Compelling people to follow any religion, more or less your personal religion, stands over and against the way Jesus practiced his faith. If you are using the government to compel people to practice your spiritual beliefs, you might be the reason baby Jesus is crying.
This does get tricky. There is a difference in letting your beliefs inform your political choices and letting your politics enforce your religion. This article is about the first part.
10) Donald Trump.
Get your “Progressive Christian Voter’s Guide” here. It’s FREE!!
Consider supporting Mark’s blogging. Help create a market for Progressive Christianity. Not through big publishers or big denominations, but through the grassroots. We need to encourage the growth of progressive Christian voices in the marketplace. Even a dollar will help.
Mark is a co-founder of The Christian Left. Come and join the conversation!