Is Jesus Your “Political Hero”?

Is Jesus Your “Political Hero”? July 22, 2011

Echoing W, who famously called Jesus his favorite philosopher, Tim Pawlenty yesterday called Jesus his favorite political hero.  Jon Ward of HuffPo was there:

On Thursday, the former Minnesota governor listed Jesus Christ as one of his “political heroes” in response to a question from an Iowa voter about influential figures in his life.

There can be no doubt that Jesus was a political figure.  But his politics was one of usurpation and insurrection, hardly characteristics that one associates with the former governor of Minnesota.

There are so many things wrong with an American politician, especially one of Pawlenty’s disposition, calling our apocalyptic-Messiah-martyr-deity his political hero, that I don’t even know where to begin.

UPDATE: T-Paw is also in trouble today with ABC/ESPN for using the Miracle on Ice footage to promote his candidacy.

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  • Jesus is definitely my political hero. That’s why I’m a progressive.

  • File this one under “speaks for itself”

  • Go ahead and laugh. They laughed at Bush for claiming Jesus as the most influential philosopher in his life. Dallas Willard points out in The Divine Conspiracy and repeatedly in various videos that we rarely if ever regard Jesus as an intellectual figure. He points this out as a major defect in modern Christianity.

    If Jesus is the most intellectual person ever to have lived, and a king who has created the most stunning kingdom in the history of the world, why then would a politician not look to him for sound political theory? Not saying Pawlenty is doing this, but I find it strange that anyone calling himself a Christian would mock someone for consulting the King of Kings for political theory.

    • Silas

      I am not sure that Tony is either laughing at T-Paw or mocking him, but perhaps only wondering what precisely it is about Jesus’ politics that T-Paw finds inspiring or even heroic. Also, Tony’s concern has nothing to do with underestimating Jesus’ intellectualism, though I am not quite sure where you get the idea that “Jesus is the most intellectual person ever to have lived”. (The gospels certainly don’t argue this point). Also, I am not sure that Jesus would have thought of the kingdom of God as a solely political reality. The appellation “king of kings” is certainly more complicated (and much more problematic) than you seem to suggest here. In other words, I think you miss the point: both about Tony’s reasons for not understanding T-Paw citing Jesus as a political hero considering how incommensurable messianic politics is with T-Paw’s own political imagination, but also about what it means to understand Jesus as a political figure.

  • Dan Hauge

    What makes it crazy is the contrast, at least to many of us, between the kind of politics Jesus lived out and the kind of politics espoused by conservatives. What I would love is to follow up withe question, ‘So how do Jesus’s politics influence your current positions in your candidacy?

    I have heard it done–Mike Huckabee once gave an explanation on how Jesus’s parable about the workers in the vineyard (where the boss gives those who worked one hour the same wage as those who worked all day) was actually an argument against having a minimum wage (I guess because the boss was not restricted in how little he could pay the first workers?)

    Just goes to show you can even look at Jesus and see quite different things, depending on what you hope to see

  • Curtis

    I agree that it is this kind of campaign statement that begs for a follow-up question, but our current sound-bite-driven media landscape does not lend itself to follow-up questions or deeper analysis.

    How can social media play a role in requiring politicians to be held accountable for sound-bites that are crafted to appeal to a specific constituency, with no regard for how vague, inconsistent, or inaccurate the statements are in fact?

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