How would Jesus vote?


In this combo made from file photos, President Barack Obama, speaks at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, on April 25, 2012, left, and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop in Wilmington, Del. on April 10, 2012. (AP)

Mitt Romney’s visit to London this week – a visit he handled so disastrously that both the prime minister and the mayor of London (Conservatives both) were piqued into mocking him publicly – has brought many Brits face-to-face with this year’s U.S. presidential election for the first time.

Britain and America have been described as two countries divided by a common language, but the bewilderment extends well beyond the linguistic: it spills over into religion and politics as well. Indeed, in the U.S., the First Amendment notwithstanding, religion and politics seem largely intertwined: right-wing politics especially.

And here our puzzlement only deepens. For in the United Kingdom “Christian” tends to be seen as a shorthand for “trying to be kind; trying to care about others; trying not to be selfish; trying not to be judgmental.” In short, it amounts to “trying to be a good person,” which , of course, those of us who don’t think of ourselves as Christian are trying to do too.

Concern for others and a sense of obligation towards them have long been a part of the British national character, or so we like to think. Our National Health Service, for instance, is one of the few things for which we notoriously reserved Brits can be depended on to show passionate support: our provision of healthcare, free at the point of delivery, for all who need it, regardless of ability to pay, is a source of real national pride to us.

The fierce, often vicious, opposition to “Obamacare” in the U.S. therefore left us completely baffled. All the more so because the most passionate resistance seemed to be coming from the very people most likely to claim their lives are based on Christian values.

Written By: Paula Kirby
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  1. The hardest part of being left leaning forward thinking in this Country, is the simple fact that the opposition are just so damn stupid and proud of being so damn stupid.  We dont have policy debates anymore just who can scream the loudest matches and its sad really.  As to the topic Jesus would probably vote for the Santa claus/toothfairy ticket, immaginary creatures got to stick together.

  2. Like one of the commenters on the site pointed out, many americans feel that the “poor” are that way for a reason, i.e. their bad decisions, poor self-control, etc. While it used to be true that you could pull yourself up by your bootstraps and if you had it in you, you could become wealthy and even president if you put your mind to it — Bill Clinton comes to mind.

    I have to admit, I see quite a few of these people come through the ED at my hospital. And, we have free health care in the US, too. I provide it everyday to people who don’t pay, they’re lonely, mentally ill, or drug seekers and our hospital administration doesn’t have the balls to do ONLY what we’re legally required to do — assess them for an emergent condition and if none exists, discharge them. We treat them and they don’t pay. A lot of them are in the ED because of their poor decision making and some because they lack the education to know what is happening to them…for example the 12 year old brought in by her father for “vaginal bleeding.” She had started her period.

    Anyway, I like Paula’s article and I like the spirit it is intended, and I hope her point gets through to a few that need to hear it, because I think it has become harder and harder in the US to get yourself out of poverty if you’re born into it. You get a substandard education. You get discouraged. You have to have a lot of self discipline and be pretty extraordinary to get out of poverty nowadays.  

    Now Paula, please take on Chic-fil-A. 🙂

  3. I posted at WP: 
    Excellent article, Paula. It reminds me of when Thomas Jefferson took a razor to the Bible and cut out all the supernatural parts and left the good parts of Jesus as a moral example. I think he got a better moral example out of that exercise than Mitt Romney could follow, all without the magic underwear.

  4. Excellent article.
      On the subject of poverty and its causes, I recommend the book, “A Framework for Understanding Poverty”  by Ruby K Payne.  Just a quote from the back cover, “People in poverty face challenges virtually unknown to those in middle-class or wealth – challenges from both obvious and hidden sources.  The reality of being poor brings out a survival mentality, and turns attention away from opportunites taken for granted by everyone else.”

  5. Long time since we heard from Paula!

    It’s striking to me how “Jesus” is cited as an example of some sort of ethical code absent the science to confirm this has anything to do with resurrection or any mind beyond that we all share the gene pool of.

    This fundamental foundational set of assertions: that this human displayed superior ethical behaviour to humans per se, is tainted with the notion this was sanctioned by some none human mind – in effect due being delusional – for the cause of some greater good absent that which can be secured in the here and now – in effect some postponed and probably none existent future reality.

    “Self sacrificing” then seems to be something that serves some other code absent that which can be called love per se and usually , as far as I can tell, devolves into a recipe to create tribal loyalties to family or/and associates, who eek out of life mutual benefits or else enforce them in behalf of an oppressor; bullying in some ways or other an often serf like community.

    Love seems to be that emotion that can be “shored up” between the lines of this greater code for oppression – similar in dynamic to that we see religion demanding it be permitted “bullying rights”.   

    So, to my point about what is good and representative of us: how do we ratify natural selection and all our codes for “competition and ambition to succeed” as a natural order amongst ourselves if we delude ourselves simultaneously that equality is the ethical prime mover? How do we pretend to ourselves our code is inclusive when it is motivated by competition? Are we not paying lip service to at least some of the same memes the religious proclaim?

    This last point poses still more questions, than answers the confusion that religion poisons us with: its multilateral assertions that what it wants is somehow morally superior due it pleasing its own version of some superior mind – needing its pseudo-opium replacement program of addicted human minds – satiating the imagination of the imaginary. Synonymity lies here, in more ways than is healthy, to the drug pushing bully pedaling its wares and demanding it be served a bullies bonus et al: yet another % by demand; yet another bonus by deception encrusted with legal sanction; yet another faith in thought crime – with full protections due having cooked up a cake where the unsuspecting pay for their crumbs with complete servitude so that the real devil can go do as he/she pleases.

    It’s a paradox to me that no matter what circles of society one gets under the skin of, it more often than not reduces to this. The charade of course is that we all do it for some ever postponed greater good which most usually involves something we never see or even are sure was worth the devotion to; maybe some imaginary imagination we seek but will never be realised by us, except for those “pushing” the problem – which is beautifully ironic in too many ways to mention.

    We are left yet again in the space where to not be a bully MOST OFTEN gets you bullied and where to be a successful bully MOST OFTEN gets you exactly to where a bully ought never to get!

    Funny how the base level of the “Jesus” mind gets you nailed and that of the “Double dealer” gets you “The good life.”. 

    “Tell me there’s a heaven.” becomes natural selections only answer to the rank and files question about the unavoidable sufferings in the face of “The good life.” successors to injustice.

    Some irony eh, that this is about the best we can offer to those who have to suffer the life they have to live. 

    This is the space under scrutiny , no?

  6. A year ago I asked similar questions of Americans on line and got (to my astonishment) uniformly ferocious replies, one buffoon telling me “poverty is a state of mind”.
    Further discussion over gun ownership v death rates provoked the same brainless hostility and refusal to accept the facts. 
    Religion is not the only source of irrationality and denial; seems to be the template for these sort of responses. Now realising that ‘Republican’ is an alternate for redneck, my understanding has improved dramatically.

  7. ‘Bible belt’ seems to be a euphemism for ‘former slave states’, which goes some way to explaining these attitudes IMO.

  8. In my experience right-wing “Christians” find Jesus a bit too problematic, not suprising since so many of the quotes atrtibuted to him make him sound like a hippy, commie, liberal. You never really see them quoting JC, prefering to choose from the OT. This is why I like to add the quotes to the word “Christians” in reference to them since they cannot really be said to be followers of Christ. Also it really annoys them 🙂

  9. Yes, as a teacher in a lower socio-economic area (albeit in a country with fairly good social welfare).  I am always stunned at how bright kids with this survival mentality can’t get on the rails.  The problem with many of my right wing friends/relatives is they can’t get beyond the personal choice argument to see that that is fine for an adult but their children are stuck with those choices also.  Anything we can do to stack the odds in their favour will help us all.

  10. I think we can be certain that a character who advised a rich man to sell all of his possesions and give them to the poor, wouldn’t be a fan of the party of tax cuts for the rich. And after clearly stating that “It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven”, he’d be confused as to how most of the 1% who own 40% consider themselves Christians.

    My guess is he that he’d consider Obama the lesser of 2 evils. But I don’t think he’d bother to vote. He had his head up in the clouds and was more concerned with the kingdom to come than correcting social injustice here on Earth. That’s understandable as he thought he was living in End-times. And that was 2,000 years back and so we’re even closer now.

    I could be wrong. Maybe his beating up on the money lenders wasn’t the half of it and other examples of his fighting bankers outside of the Temple were lost in the edit. If part of his message was “Screw Caesar–Rise up and take what’s yours” then I don’t suppose rulers such as Constantine would’ve been so keen and so we’d never have heard of him. And the Trolls on this forum would be Animists or Odinians.

  11. How would Jesus vote?

    Hold on a second, first things first: does he have the requisite ID?

  12. There was a homage of the british NHS at the Olympic games openning. Indeed it seems a paradox that the strong christian nation doesn´t care for it´s citizens.
    Should I have a scale to classifie countries as civilised, that demads serious concern, it was told by a Professor of mine, a historian that in his work discovered places where laborers were even punished with a whip, as he told us.

    I think Hillary Clinton has been travelling all over Europe to learn how does the Welfare State works in order to overcome the problem and avoid people from dying in streets with no health  care in US (I as it was told by an Economy Professor of mine, specialised in East economies).
    Nice to read Paula Kirby, as usual.

    Having seen this picture, I realized how Paula Kirby was right in one of her last comments.

    Labeling a child as “nazi” only because he is Ratzinger doesn´t help to build a fair cause.

  13. Remarking that Darwin himself was not a “believer”, he was part of a campaign to demolish slavery with the argument aren´t they brothers ?

    As some commenter mentioned, in a country that has strong rejection of Darwin, to regard the ideas behind “social selection” as mentioned by the commenter ( that still strongly implemented american mentality ?) must be another paradox.
    The country itself begun with some believe that those who arrived there, with the worst conditions in boats and were fit to survive then contributed to make the sucess of the country itself Yet Darwin, as quoted by J. Gould would have thought that the poverty of people wasn´t due to “natural selection”.
    (What another paradox indeed).
    It is better not to have little charity lservices but  one built on solid basis instead, as it is some how being discussed recently (here, in Portugal).
    Not to mention more about someone else´s country, because I have also important paradoxes in my own and cannot contribute to solve them by voting, what seems to me itself another “democratic paradox”, perhaps too serious.

  14. What would Jesus vote? Maybe none of the above. He seemed to have been some sort of Roman age socialist to me, just like Mohammed in his time. The point is that the picture of Jesus we have of him is composed of the characteristics the early church leaders wanted him to have. If he really existed at that.
    I think the behavior of right wing US is comparable to the behavior of the feudal system we had in Europe for almost two thousand years. Rich companies suppress poor people, who have no effective means to end their predicament, under the protective cloak of the church. Nothing has changed, really

  15. Mohammed was a socialist? Since theft and murder has always been an integral part of socialism I guess you’re not that far of, although ‘desert style war mongering fascist’ might be a bit closer.

  16. Since Jesus, at the time of his death, thought that the world was just about to be transformed by the establishment by god of his kingdom on earth,a kingdom that would bring universal happiness and justice, its little wonder that Jesus had no interest in personal wealth or the health of the state’s finances; nor is it surprising that he urged followers to turn the other cheek,  etc. For anyone in the present day, whether he considers himself a liberal or conservative, to try to carve out a political position for himself based on ‘what Jesus would do’ is about a logical as someone who really believes in the Mayan prophecies (about the world’s ending in 2012) worrying about urban planning for the 22nd century. 

    That being said, there are a number of points made in the article by PK, who usually writes with great clarity and common sense, and by several users of this site, that need to be challenged:

    1. Re. the NHS and Obamacare. If I read one more comment about how great it is that health care in the UK is ‘free at the point of delivery’, I think I’ll scream. If I book tickets for the cinema over the phone, using my credit card, you can say that when I collect the tickets by swiping my card thru the machine that my trip is ‘free at the point of delivery’; furthermore, and which is very relevant to ‘socialised’ health care, if someone else pays for my ticket with their credit card, it’s definitely ‘free at the point of delivery’. However, this does not mean the ticket IS free; it just means that either I am paying for the ticket indirectly or that my trip is being subsidised by someone else. Taxing and spending by government is NO different. 

    2. Re. tax. This idea that socialist countries are just terrific because they force people to do engage in charity by imposing penal rates of tax (to be, shudder, redistributed to the poor) on high earners is nauseating piety. Those things that are imposed by the those who have the right to use force on you if you happen to dissent should never be considered charitable acts. If someone wants to do charity, great; fair play to them. But those who feel they can pass laws to take someone else’s money and dole it out as they see fit deserve no credit for their ‘charity’….it’s theft, state sanctioned theft. A virtuous act is only virtuous by virtue{!} of the doer’s being free to choose to act or not to act. Tax, especially at Nordic levels, is an abomination.

    3. Re. the poor. The most infuriating bit of nonsense that I see on this and other sites all the time is this notion that the poor are somehow downtrodden and rendered impotent by this heartless capitalism. Fact: NOTHING,EVER, EVER, EVER, has lifted the common man out of grinding poverty the way capitalism and free markets have….NOTHING. Those who argue otherwise are either ideologues or just completely ignorant of economic history. How many border guards did China have to employ to stop people from Hong Kong from entering the country. W. Germany from East? The US from Cuba? One good industrialist does more in a week to help the poor than all the sociology professers at all the universities in the world do in a lifetime. Furthermore, personal freedom is impossible without capitalism.

    Americans who oppose bigger government should be praised for trying to maintain their freedom and prosperity. Sadly, to try to link this political philosophy to the philosophy of a 1st century apocalyptic prophet from ancient Palestine is just silly, and it is demeaning to that noble (American) philosophy.

  17. Fascinating. But the question was “How would Jesus vote?” rather than “How does RJ Moore vote?”  Paula justified her question thus:

    Indeed, in the U.S.,the First Amendment notwithstanding, religion and politics seem largely intertwined: right-wing politics especially.


  18. One should not go of topic, but I have to respond. Many Americans seem to desire freedom from big government. Democratically elected governments however big and interfering they might be are just that, democratically elected. We can get rid of them if they over step the mark. No taxation without representation.
    We the people of the United Kingdom overwhelimingly would not vote for any party that even thought it would be right to dismantal the NHS. We know its not perfect, we look east to Germany and see a better system, we look west to the US and are thankful we are not there.
    Back on topic, in the Gospels we the have the recorded teachings of a character called Jesus. A character most Americans claim to follow. Except it seems when it comes to gun control, then they follow something called freedom to bear arms. Except it seems when considering the question of poverty in world’s richest nation, then it seems that the freedom to make money do with it as we wish is the thing followed.

    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”
    Helder Camara

    If we ask why the poor are poor that might cause us to give up certain freedoms in the pursuit of the best, for the most. But that would call into question a creed, and thats all it is, a creed, which says individual freedom is the highest of all virtues, and that would never do.

  19. Nice article, Paula. (but “shibboleths?”)


    >Fact: NOTHING,EVER, EVER, EVER, has lifted the common man out of grinding poverty the way capitalism and free markets have….NOTHING   

    Capitalism, by its very definition, leads to grindind poverty for the masses. Witness the sweat shops of the 90’s in the US. Fettered capitalism (the current US system) at least gives the poor a chance. Fettering it a little more would help, not hurt.

    >   personal freedom is impossible without capitalism.                 

    This is so obviously incorrect it requires no rejoinder.

    RJ, the thrust of your comment is that of the right wing here in America–we owe no duty to our fellow citizens. Requiring those of means to assist those without is, in your opinion wrong. Permit me to disagree on a fundamental humanistic basis without arguing the point.

  20.  “personal freedom is impossible without capitalism.”

    I think this should read: “personal freedom is impossible with grinding poverty”

  21. Tax, especially at Nordic levels, is an abomination.

    Yet Sweden and Norway are both in the top three Countries with Highest Quality of Life.

  22. >Fascinating. But the question was “How would Jesus vote?” rather than “How does RJ Moore vote?”

    Who cares how Jesus would vote?! It’s a ridiculous question since Jesus thought that the world, as we know it, was about the end! If you could wake him from his eternal slumber and point out that Caesar, rather than god, is still calling the shots, what would he say? ‘Embrace the mar 
    ket’, or ‘I love big government’? Who could tell? You might as well ask whom King Arthur would vote for.

    Im quite sure Jesus would be against gay marriage, divorce, pre-marital sex, shops’ trading on Sundays, etc. Beyond that, wtf can one say!

  23. >Except it seems when considering the question of poverty in world’s richest nation, then it seems that the freedom to make money do with it as we wish is the thing followed.

    The freedom to make money is the reason it IS the richest country in the world; Its also the reason it is, or was, the most free and greatest country in the world.

     >But that would call into question a creed, and thats all it is, a creed, which says individual freedom is the highest of all virtues, and that would never do.

    Can you name a greater virtue? I dont know what Jesus would say, I must confess 🙂

  24.  If they’re only following the old testament wouldn’t that just make them crappy jews?

  25. Both.

    I’m not arguing that capitalism is all bad, not by any means, but it’s hardly perfect either. Capitalism per se shows pitiless indifference to creating winners and losers, and I think most people would agree that some corrective is needed.

  26.  The ‘virtue’ (or, rather, privilege) of individual freedom can only exist in the context of a cultural background and network of relationships that allows it to do so. Sometimes “We” has to come before “I”.
    Socialism before individual liberalism.

    Light blue touch paper and retire to safe distance …

  27. Except that freedom is only really for a few

    “such a liberty just means some freedom to exploit, any weakness that you can find. Well turn off the TV just for a while, let us whisper to each other instead and we ll hope that the corporate ears do not listen.lest we find ourselves committing, some kind of treason and filed in thetapes without rhyme, without reason.while they tell us that it s all for our own protection,I swear, we never asked for any of this…..”

  28.  Would you give your peons a decent standard of living without trade unions forcing the issue?

  29. “Yes” or “No” are even shorter….

    I’m not fond of unions myself, but I acknowledge with regret the necessity of their existence.

  30. Who cares how Jesus would vote? It’s a ridiculous question……..

    Possibly. But it is the topic. There was a hint in the title.

    I’m quite sure Jesus would be against gay marriage, divorce, pre-marital sex, shops’ trading on Sundays, etc…..

    There you go. After hundreds of words on ‘Why I’m a Tory’, you finally say something both on topic and interesting. If he’d be against gays being allowed to marry, then he’d be more likely to vote for the freedom loving Republicans, wouldn’t he? What’s interesting is how right-wingers have come to the conclusion that Jesus was homophobic. We know that the author of Leviticus had issues but did Jesus? And you’re sure that he’d be against pre-marital sex, while I presumed he slept with Mary Magdelene. You see, we read the same text, yet our views colour our conclusions. 

    They’re doing a ‘How would Genghis vote?’ over at the Daily Mail. 

  31. A Tory? Yeah, I had a feeling you didn’t get what I wrote. Anyway…

    Since Jesus was an observant jew, and since he encouraged his followers to follow the law of Moses, why do you think he’d have any time for homosexuality, adultery, or pre-marital sex? Anyway, one of the reasons why trying to link issues such as gay marriage or abortion to the teachings of Jesus is so silly is that these simply weren’t topics that Jews in 1st century Palestine would have had any knowledge/awareness of or interest in. The other reason is that Jesus, though a very nice chap he was Im sure, was obviously as crazy as an outhouse bug. Either way, trying to speculate how he’d vote is a very great waste of time. It’s about as worthwhile as wondering how Boudica would feel about Scottish devolution.

  32. There’s no difference between asking how Jesus would vote and asking how Gandalf, Dumbledore or Obi-Wan Kenobi would vote. But then, I’m sure you all already know that.

  33. Given a choice of living in either the US or Norway? Well, let’s see. 

    America is where one would go to get rich, if one has the talent, tenacity and drive for being a millionaire. Norway is a country where one would go to raise healthy kids in a clean environment, guaranteed to get a good education, good medical care and a comfortable life with little fear of violent crime, poverty or hunger. 

    Even though the greater possibilities of getting filthy rich sound enticing, I still haven’t met people who, having experienced both, would prefer the US as a society to raise their kids. And to most people I know, the well-being of their children is more important than being a millionaire.

    You also seem to have a confused idea of the economics of the Nordic societies. 

    In Scandinavia, no respectable thinker, politician, entrepreneur or even multimillionaire would condemn the system of free education or free medical care in principal. However, no respectable socialist politician would condemn the free market either. There is criticism and difference of opinion as to the details, but the principal has been proven to work: Free market is the horse that drives the economy. Taxation is the bridle we use to harness this power in order to create a good society. 

    The millionaires created by Ikea, Angry Birds or Norwegian oil are usually quite happy tax payers. Even at the “abominable” level. Decent people know that no one gets rich by their own strength alone, without the surrounding society creating organizations, networks and infrastructure for making it possible. It’s not your unbridled capitalism that builds and maintains the roads, schools, hospitals, police force and fire departments. 

    And the war handicap?  While the US has never suffered from invasive military attacks on its soil before 9/11, a Nordic country like Finland had to endure a war first with communist Russia, then nazi Germany, the two strongest armies in the Second World War, receiving virtually no outside help (least of all from the US), then starting from almost scratch to build itself into a fair, socially conscious and efficient economy. All the while the US corporations happily profited from exporting their lucrative war industry.

    Despite being a cornucopia of natural resources and ingenious people, the US hasn’t managed to create a healthy society for its people. Despite having meager resources and five to seven months of cold and dark winter, the Nordic countries have managed this.

    Touring the US I have seen rich people, happiness and wonderful accomplishments, but also misery, hopelessness and ignorance almost impossible to ever see in any Nordic country. You may think these poor people somehow deserve it. I think you should go grow yourself a heart and develop some responsibility for your fellow man.

  34. The freedom to make money without having to have any regard as to its consequences for others.

    The freedom to use the internal combustion engine without having to worry about what it does to the planet.

    The freedom to eat fast food without worrying where it comes from or which football field size of forest got destroyed to produce.

    The freedom to eat chocolate without having to worry about whether or not it is the product of child slave labour.

  35. ‘Privilege’ because, in practice, so few have it.
    ‘Enjoyment’ would have been a better word for me to have used.

  36. I wouldn’t call it ‘coercion’.
    It’s a matter of showing collective responsibility, as opposed to individual whim. 

  37. It depends which version of Jesus you go for. Jesus the Wise Teacher, or Jesus the Doomsday Cultist. Former would probably jump in Obama’s camp. Second would jump into the republican camp, as they’re simply playing a much better game-of-power then he ever thought of.

  38. for me, as neither believer nor an atheist, it is kind of funny to see how atheists demand that Jesus’s commandments on love to the poor be practiced (at least by Christians), while Christians screaming in defense that Jesus did not actually mean what he said there. Whenever Jesus speaks about anything in the social/economic sphere (wheter discouraging accumulation of wealth, prosperity etc., or encouraging sharing and giving to the poor, paying taxes, or telling rich people they have as much chance to get into heaven as a camel trying to pass through the eye of a needle), he appears, according to Christians, to have had in mind something else… Not really meant it… It is always an allegory, an exaggeration, and its “literal” understanding is always a mistake. I remember arguing several years ago all night (pre-recession) with an American religious nut who tried to prove me that American businesspoeple were actually saints or something very close to that. I only wonder, why the abundant biblical commandments on poverty/money/wealth etc, must never be taken literally, while the very scarce biblical references Christians manage to dig up on, say, homosexuality are always supposed to be taken literally, as direct orders from God.

  39. To paraphrase RD, “I’d love to know what really went on back there in Jerusalem.”
    Jesus was an atheist?
    Great article, Paula, as usual!

  40.  >The freedom to make money without having to have any regard as to its consequences for others.

    Eh, what does that mean and how exactly does this help the poor? In a free market, one can’t make money WITHOUT its helping the poor…thats the beauty of capitalism, a characteristic that can be seen throughout the last 200 years or so.

    >The freedom to use the internal combustion engine without having to worry about what it does to the planet.

    How does that help the poor?!

    >The freedom to eat fast food without worrying where it comes from or which football field size of forest got destroyed to produce.

    What!! Who eats more fast food? Poor or rich people? Who gets more employment as a result of that industry?

    >The freedom to eat chocolate without having to worry about whether or not it is the product of child slave labour.

    Who benefits if you stop eating chocolate? Certainly not the child who is working or his family. How are you going to comfort them when their only source of income dries up?

    If you dont mind my saying so, you dont seem to be really concerned by the plight of the poor at all; you’re more concerned with your own political and economic hobby-horses

  41. >I only wonder, why the abundant biblical commandments on poverty/money/wealth etc, must never be taken literally, while the very scarce biblical references Christians manage to dig up on, say, homosexuality are always supposed to be taken literally, as direct orders from God.

    Exactly. Perfect illustration of the silliness of caring what Jesus said or did in the context of the modern world.

  42. I don’t understand this “neither a believer or an atheist”. Well, what are you? Do you believe some days and doubt other days?

    I know people don’t like LABELS…it has gotten almost silly. I don’t believe in god or gods. A-theist. Simple.

    Ok, now that I got that quibble out of the way I like the rest of your post. They do like having their cake and saying let us eat it at the same time, don’t they. I’ve encountered these same arrogant believers. It is what the churches are preaching right now in the upper middle class neighborhoods. Believe in Jesus and be RICH BEYOND YOUR IMAGINATION. But, you’ve got to BELIEVE!!! And, that’s really all you’ve got to do…says right there in Jesus’ get rich quick guide, er, I mean the bible!

  43. Well exactly. Observant jews at least make some effort to adhere to some of the wackier rules on dress and diet etc. The “Christians” declare that the bible is the unalterable word of god while eating pork chops that they bought on a Sunday while out with their second spouse that they previously committed adultery with. Their blatent hypocrisy is stunning.  

  44. I would be interested to know what R J Moore’s definition of “socialism” is. He appears to have made the mistake of associating it with state ownership, in which case Fort Knox would seem to be  be the epitome of “socialism”. As is the Bank of England.
    Perhaps I could remind R. J. Moore, that “socilaism” means the common ownership of the means of production and distribution by the whole of society, not state ownership.  If he wants to know what that means , just think of the atmosphere all we humans breath every moment of our lives.  As far as I know no-one actually pays to breath, currently, but only because the capitaliat class, to date, have no means of monopolising it. Unlike land, and the other means of production.
    R. J Moore can waffle away about all the inequities in Russia, China, N. Korea etc, but he is only laying into the very system which he thinks is the best, – capitalism! Just capitalism run with state owners instead of private owners. Were / are there still workers in Russia China, N. Korea, Cuba etc, who have to support a parasitic capitalist class? Yes indeed there are! The very existence of a working class means there is also an employing class, – the capitalists! Did e.g.,  Mr Abramvovich, the Russian capitalist, get so rich so quickly by his own efforts, or did he quite deftly mange to shoehorn his way into the ownership of previously state owned enterprises?

    And as we all know, with capitalism, no profit- no production. And who produces the golden egg of profit? Well who else but those who work! Where else does profit come from if the not the unpaid labour of the workers? Well certainly not the bankers!

    I must agree with R J Moore, that whatever way Jesus would have voted is a complete irrelevence. Giving stuff away is nothing to do with “socialism”, it merely means that Jesus and his disciples would have been then dependent upon other people’s labour and charity. (Unless of course they actually performed useful labour themselves!)

  45. Agreed, I’m also a teacher currently in a ‘middle class’ rural, higher socio economic area where the children leave with a plethora of good gces, but have taught in the inner city low socio economic groups where most leave with very little. The difference in the children is not in intelligence but in what life has thrown at them since birth. From many sources including their attitudes to the value of things like exams and education. They’ve failed before they even get to us. The choices of the parent will impact on the choices of the child.

  46. So, let me get this straight, you are content that an adequate corrective to the rape of the environment and abuse of children is ‘the voluntary actions of citizens’, – i.e. the individual consumer who is thousands of miles away??

    You are either being deliberately obtuse here, or need to  read up on fair trade.

  47. “Nothing enriches the common man as capitalism does” is a subjective morality, period. Only when it fulfills the mantra you just asserted does it self prove its assertion, just like praying to mecca can be made to make a person feel they are pleasing god.  Not everyone prays to Mecca my friend and little wonder. The guy who can afford several wives can have them but the guy who can’t better wait on death and dreams that don’t reside there, like capitalism – the secular mans religion – with a hope in what often won’t get him anywhere – as the world over has countless fatalities, failures and losers to attest to. If you are an Imam for the cause obviously it works for you – I can see that. Capitalism has its theistic thinkers in their droves taking their congregations down a long path to effectively secure their own superior luxury. 

    What I think is being said is a famous Churchill comment, “The Prime Minister of the UK has nothing to hide from the President of the US” and I’ll paraphrase, “as I stand naked in my bath and declare there to be no worse form of government than that of democracy – until you consider the alternatives – and to my opposition on the other side of the house – the fact that tomorrow I’ll be sober in full knowledge of this.”

  48. neither a believer nor an atheist means I guess that I’m nothing at the present… Yes, I admit that. And do not enjoy that by any means. I am still searching for truth and I am not convinved by arguments on either side. And indeed there are days when I kind of believe, or, rather, try to believe, but my reason finally guides me the other way. I was a believer for 35 or so years of my life, but half a year ago, after I got aquainted (in order to strengthen by beliefs) with the essence and details and the history of my religion, Catholicism, to my astonishment I began moving in the opposite direction, very slowly and full of doubt though. I guess it takes time. No quick ‘conversions’ there.Does not help that in my country only one percent of the population call themselves atheist, according to a recent world survey. Very few question (or know) what they believe.
    Anyway, coming back to our topic, from very early childhood, I never understood, why so-called Christians surrounding me, and generally in the world (especially the US), are so obsessed with making money, careers and “success”, while there is not a shred of emphasis on that in that Bible book they are so crazy about.

  49. great article as ever

    of course the problem with asking this important question is are we talking about the jesus in the book they all own and claim to have read or the internal monalogue they’ve named jesus?

  50. STOP!!!!!

    The OP is not about the relative merits of capitalism vs socialism, it is about the discrepancy between the teachings of the Religious Right’s religion and the Religious Right’s political views.

    We have removed the comments that go most dramatically off topic and will continue to do so, so please do not post any more of them.

    Thank you.

    The mods

  51. “in the Gospels we the have the recorded teachings of a character called Jesus. A character most Americans claim to follow. “

    No we don’t. We don’t have anything like the ‘recorded teachings of’.

    And back on topic.

    How would Jesus vote? Probably with a cross in a box.

  52. Interesting that someone mentions that Jesus wouldn´t vote for homosexual marriage, that means, considering that the Obama Admnistration is preparing something related with the approval of marriage within the same gender, that person wouldn´t certainly vote for Obama´s (I will check better, but it seems strange tht any individual right would be available to others, directly through vote, or otherwise.)
    I can remind how simple irt was in here (Portugal) ) the approval of marriage between same gender: it just had to go as far as it needed to be decided by the Constituional Court , and it was an available right afterall.
    Can you vote for your neighbour´s wife and make petitions in the neighborhood concerning matters such as “We are against the marriage of Mr. X and Ms Y, because ….” , that wouldn´t even be a right available for you to decide, to decide about others´s right.
    Although I think that Obama Adm. is enough competent, I am curious to Know how things work there.

  53. From how I read it, the article is about the Republican side of politics (the candidates and a lot of those who vote Republican) strongly espousing their religious views in support of their political stance. To me, it seems that the author is then pointing out that in her opinion (supported by the many references/links she provides) there seems to be a disconnect between the political policies that these voters/candidates support or oppose and the religious views that they would be expected to hold; given that they are “Christian”.

    So it would seem fair here that the discussion should be about whether this disconnect is real or not. She has highlighted this disconnect by providing a title that is provocative but this leads to the unfortunate situation that people focus on the title (was Jesus real etc. among other things) rather than the thrust of the article.

    So I think the mods are expecting that people will comment on the central theme of the article. Is there a clash between the two ideologies that many a Republican candidate/voter holds i.e. “Christian Ideals” and opposition to Obamacare and opposition to high taxes for the wealthy? etc.

    I am guessing that you would claim you are on topic in saying that you don’t believe there is a clash because you don’t believe the policies are against the Chirstian ideals… I think this is a valid point of discussion in this context (whether I agree with you or not).

    But I think the mods, and others, have a point in relation to when you start talking about things like “The article spuriously uses a concern about the teachings of Jesus
    to get across her belief that the Right is morally inferior to other
    political groups.” I can’t say that I interpret the article as doing that. As I mention, I think (and others think?) that the central theme of the article is about the discord between the two views that many Republican candidates/voters seem to hold. Perhaps if you focus on whether you think there is or isn’t a discord between these two views… that would be more on topic i.e. if you feel that the policies they support are not diametrically opposed to the Christian values they are claiming to hold (a point that I think you have put forward amongst the stuff you have posted) then this would help the discussion to keep on track about the ideas in the article.

  54. How should one interpret and integrate (into his political allegiance) ‘Render unto Caesar…’? ‘Hate the sin, not the sinner’? ‘Let him without sin…’? ‘It is right when you said you had no husband…’?

    IMO, you can interpret those verses, and many more like them, in any way you want in order to justify a political stance. It’s a debate that could go on endlessly. Consider the schism between Luther and Rome, a component of which was the disagreement over ‘good works’ and ‘salvation thru faith alone’. If that debate, held 500 years ago by theological ‘experts’, couldn’t be resolved, how can one reaonably say that one particular
    group in the present day has departed from the teachings of JC. Some Protestants can easily make the case that the primacy of faith gives them licence to be ambitious and succesful in the material realM;; other Prots. and RCs might say good works are essential to get to heaven. It’s far too complex a question to deal with in such an article…in my opinion.

  55. Once Richard Dawkins mentions Mitt Romney´s religion, which is Mormon, and having seen recently a film about Mountain Meadows Massacre, it was interesting to notice that in a social institucion such as marriage, that not even a King would be able to make decisions other than the familý´s chief himself in middle ages, I have noticed that some Mormon prophet, Brigham Young, I think, could even, with God´s authority (of course) take for himself other men´s wives. How interesting is God´s authority, as I have noticed.

  56. “an American religious nut who tried to prove me that American businesspoeple were actually saints”

    as Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs said, “We’re doing God’s work.”

  57. Jebus, being (probably) illiterate would have signed with a cross… notated as “his Mark”   😉

  58. In discussion with a (presumed) Republican I was informed that “poverty is a state of mind”!

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