Recently I was at work and a coworker approached me talking about a bumper sticker he recently saw. The bumper sticker read, "Jesus is Everything Conservatives Hate." When he told me I gave a nod of agreement (to the bumper sticker, of course), and he remarked, "I mean are you kidding me? We're the only ones who actually like the guy!" I paused for a moment to search his face for sarcasm, but there was none. He was serious.
So it got me to thinking about it, and it seems that all (or pretty much all) conservatives do really feel that way. They are either sorely mistaken on who Jesus really was to have been, or what he was to have said*. In fact, it's almost as if the bumper sticker had it %100 right. Jesus stood pretty much at odds with the vast majority of Conservative views and policies. There seems to be three major areas of difference that immediately jump to mind. I'll limit my self here to three for brevity sake, but this article will be open for comments for further explanation is necessary.
The first discrepancy that jumps to mind is Jesus' devotion to peace. I have yet to meet a conservative that didn't champion our killing Bin Laden. But would Jesus have killed him? Matthew 18:21,22, or perhaps more clearly in Matthew 5:38-48 where is it said:
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[h] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
It's pretty clear here what Jesus is saying and it doesn't sound like a man who would, even on a bad day, advocate war of any kind. I can't imagine Jesus would have been happy with the idea of hunting down and killing a man, much less celebrate it. (It's important to note here I'm not expressing an opinion on the death of Bin Laden, only inferring what the bible says about Jesus' feelings on such matters as killing ones enemies) There are many other instances in the bible were Jesus says much the same things about how to treat one's enemies. Pretty much the entire Sermon on the Mount is explicitly saying that you are to be humble and meek and not fight back. Yet despite all of these explicit teachings you don't see Conservatives staunchly defending peace in this manner, or showing love for their enemies as Jesus instructs.
A second obvious deviation from conservative thought is the way Jesus championed the poor, excessively. Jesus even goes so far as to tell a rich young man to sell all of his belongings and give the proceeds to the poor in Mark chapter 10. Could you imagine any of the Conservative candidates selling all that they have and giving it to the poor? No?
I'm inclined to believe that even if Jesus himself showed up and asked them as he did the rich young man found in Mark, they would all act as the young man in the story does. The story never explicitly says what the young man did, but implies he did not sell his possessions, "But his face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful, for he was one who had great possessions." (verse 22).
Jesus continues in verses 23-25 saying:
Jesus looked around, and said to his disciples, "How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!"
The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, "Children, how hard is it for those who trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."
I, for one, have never seen a camel go through the eye of a needle. Every Conservative nominee is worth over $1 million, and in my book (and pretty much by everyone else's standard as well) that qualifies as rich, and therefore, by implication, unworthy of entry to heaven.
It seems painfully obvious that Jesus and Conservative thought stand at nearly polar opposition here. You don't see Conservatives lining up at homeless shelters helping the meek, feeding the poor, or selling off their possessions to help the needy. Instead they largely proclaim that the poor are lazy and should help themselves, flying in near complete opposition to what Jesus would do.
Finally we come to the issue of homosexuality. Jesus never explicitly condemns (or heck, even mentions) homosexuality. Paul seemed to have a great distaste for it and wrote about it often.
Now the zealots will likely quote Matthew 19:4-6 where, when taken out of context, it would seem Jesus seems to be the most explicit on the matter. Here Jesus says:
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’[b] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?[c] 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Taken just like that, it could be interpreted that Jesus is saying homosexuality is wrong. However, it only takes a trip back to the first verse in the chapter to see that Jesus is answering a question on marriage between a man and woman. Therefore the context of the entire quote does not even take into consideration homosexuality. Specifically the question was,“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” It would be off the wall, if you will, for Jesus to bring homosexuality into this question, it simply wasn't what was being asked of him.
Even still, as I mentioned, this is as close as Jesus ever comes to speaking on this issue. The point is, Jesus wasn't one to beat around the bush when it came to important issues. He speaks out pretty clearly on things that displease him and his father. I see no reason why he would not explicitly address homosexuality if it was a big deal to either.
The irony continues however if you take Jesus for what he actually said and juxtapose that with the personal lives of some of our Conservative nominees. Newt Gingrich jumps immediately to mind, proclaiming that homosexuality is a terrible sin in Jesus' eyes and vowing to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, while simultaneously vowing not to commit infidelity...A third time. Talk about hypocrisy.
In short, it's almost as if the Conservatives really have no clue what Jesus actually stood for. And in all honesty, I'm beginning think that most of them have never even read the bible themselves. I'm sure they go Church and have it read to them, but they have never actually taken the time to honestly consider what Jesus has to say outside of, believe in me and you will have everlasting life.
*As a quick note, I'm going to be speaking on Jesus' purported values. It's important to mention that this is done solely to prove the Conservatives obvious hypocrisy. I am using "their" beliefs to prove them liars in the face of said belief. This is not to say that I share these same beliefs in fact, it's well documented my beliefs to the contrary.