The Politics of Jesus

Because the Religious Right are the most vocal of all brands of Christians, they often dominate and control the socio-religio narrative regarding a "moral" choice for candidate as president, and men like Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Gary Bauer, James Dobson, Ben Carson and Eric Metaxes have made the sole option clear: whoever opposes Hillary Clinton with the highest probability for winning should receive the "Christian" vote. But the choice is always Republican, without qualification, thus granting us the marriage between "the Christian Right" and Republicanism in toto and no matter what may come.

I think Franklin Graham is deplorable for deceiving and manipulating voting Christians to choose the Republican option by insisting that "progressive" candidates are atheists. (link) Besides being blinded to the fact that many God-fearing, Christ-loving Christians are progressives today, he also cleverly demeans non-religious people, benignly insinuating that their voice should not be heard, and that they do not matter politically or socially. Franklin Graham undermines the very people he claims to be reaching.

Never mind that Franklin Graham is a Religious Right hypocrite, receiving $880,000 annually from Samaritan's Purse ($622,000) and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ($258,000), criticizing Hillary Clinton as being unethical while manipulating the Christian vote toward a sexually-repulsive candidate in Donald Trump. As long as the Religious Right are blinded to his perverse annual income (does Franklin Graham really need nearly a million dollars a year in order to survive?), and they keep feeding on his fear-mongering and paranoid propaganda, conservative evangelicals will maintain a sense of self-congratulatory righteousness by "voting pro-life," i.e., voting Republican, and sleep peacefully at night in their white, middle class suburban homes in their white, middle class suburban neighborhoods.

Franklin Graham no more reflects the values and politics of Jesus than does any other oppressive ruler in the world. Do you think that men like Franklin Graham, along with James Dobson, Gary Bauer, and Jerry Falwell, Jr. care about equality and respect for all people in this country? The way each of these men continue to oppose equal rights for LGBTQ persons informs us of their so-called values. This is only one reason why they throw all their support to a man like Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence, a man who, in lieu of spending funds for HIV prevention voted to spend that money on gay conversion therapy, opposed legislative protection to LGBTQ persons in the work place, and "signed a bill in 2013 that would jail same-sex couples in Indiana who applied for a marriage license." (link) Mike Pence is a perfect dream candidate for Religious Right advocates like Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr. and James Dobson.

What are the politics of Jesus? The politics of Jesus represent, at its core, the exact contrary agenda of the Religious Right. Men like Graham, Falwell, and Dobson are actually anti-Jesus politically. Consider:
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy." (Matt. 5:7)
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." (Matt. 5:9)
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:10)
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' [Donald Trump admitted that he lives by this rule.] But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you." (Matt. 5:38-42)
Let us briefly address these verses within the narrative of the Religious Right. Mercy: there is no display of mercy within the political Religious Right. Their opponents are demonized and deemed atheistic. Franklin Graham presented a wonderful example of this tragic reality in North Carolina recently. Peacemaking: this idea of Jesus eludes the Religious Right. There can be no viable sense of peacemaking when what evangelicals really want is power. Never mind that the Religious Right, propagating the so-called values of the Republican party of the 1980s and 1990s, failed miserably. Nothing to see here.

Persecution is part and parcel of true Christianity. Christians have been are still are persecuted and at times killed for their faith throughout the world. But American evangelicals cannot accept even the slightest hint of opposition without declaring either persecution or that their rights are being taken away. According to the politics of Jesus, true persecution is a given (John 16:33), not to be avoided at all cost. As a matter of fact, Jesus elaborates on this very notion, by reminding believers to receive actual persecution and then offer one's self for further abuse: "But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also." The Religious Right will have none of Jesus' politics. If they are proverbially slapped on the right cheek, they will threateningly dare their opponent to strike the other, appealing to religious rights.

Meanwhile these hypocrites and advocates of double standards deny civil rights to those whom they oppose on "moral" grounds: namely, LGBTQ persons. Tell me: what message is conveyed about the GOP when the Religious Right chooses that political party to advance its own wishes? Is the Religious Right really concerned about morals? The evangelicals of the 1990s were gleeful about the economy but decried Bill Clinton's morals. The evangelicals of today do not care about their candidate's immorality but decry the state of our economy. The message of the Religious Right is so contorted, compromised and convoluted, that some are (finally) beginning to see not only the double standards but the overt hypocrisy.

To conclude: Jesus states, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [prove to] be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous." (Matt. 5:44-45) Conservative evangelicals maintain a mindset that God is "for" them and against their enemies. Such deception is uncanny. If evangelicals prayed for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats in office even half as much as some of them spend time advancing their unregistered sex offender Donald Trump then much could already be accomplished. But the Religious Right is not concerned about the politics of Jesus. The Religious Right has the same agenda as commenced by its founder, Jerry Falwell, and that is to advance a right-wing agenda. I am convinced that the religion of many conservative evangelicals is not Christianity but Republicanism.