Community Post: 7 Times The Biblical Jesus Wasn’t Republican
One of the most frustrating things about every season of American Presidential Elections is the reckless way in which Republicans consistently claim Christianity.
What is probably even more frustrating, is the fact that liberal Christians rarely fight them on their Christian dogma.
Jesus is and was for the disinherited, and would probably surface today as a poor, illiterate, immigrant person of color. Hardly the target demographic of the Republican Party.
But for now, here are my favorite not-so Republican-like characteristics of JC himself.
Luke 6: 20–21, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.”
In multiple places within the pages of the gospel, Jesus enacted a ministry to and for the poor specifically. See for example, Luke 4:18, Matthew 5:3.
Luke 6:24–25, “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry.”
Many biblical scholars will confirm that Jesus of Nazareth was neither a fan of the rich nor their friend. He consistently warns the rich of how hard it is for them to get into the Kingdom of Heaven, by simple way of being rich at all.
Mark 10: 25, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God”.
The Gospels that describe the life and ministry of Jesus are firmly situated by the Great Sea and Galilean Sea, Judah, Simeon, Egypt and Nazareth. These locations reside in present day Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria — the Middle East.
See: Google Maps.
Jesus spoke Aramaic which is believed to be ancestral to both modern Arabic and Hebrew scripts.
Matthew 2: 13–15, “Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod.”
In the second chapter of Matthew, an angel warns Mary and Joseph that Herod is out to destroy the child Jesus. King Herod proceeded to kill all child boys under the age of two around the city of Bethlehem. Jesus fled Bethlehem, and lived in Egypt with his family until the death of Herod.
The definition of a refugee: a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.
i.e. Jesus was a refugee, a Middle Eastern refugee. Hardly the Republicans’ favorite group of people today.
Feeding the poor Mark 6: 30–44, “Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.”
Healing the sick Mark 6: 53–56, “When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55 and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.”
In multiple moments within the gospel, Jesus performs many miracles of healing and feeding masses of the poor. Most of such miracles depict an intimacy between Jesus and the poor that is often overlooked. The feeding of the 5000, probably one of the more famous biblical miracles, involved all folks gathered to break and share their bread and fish.
The majority of biblical healing narratives are centered around Jesus touching those who are sick or deceased and bestowing healing upon them.
It is hard to find narratives of Jesus distancing himself, or worse, criminalizing the poor and the hungry. Contrast this intimacy between Jesus and the poor, to Republican political rhetoric around welfare and Obamacare.
John 8: 1–11, “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them… Jesus said, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Adultery and prostitution were symbols of the most egregious sins in biblical times (one might argue that barely anything has changed), and often warranted penalty by way of death. Repeatedly within the gospels, Jesus is depicted forgiving those within the margins of society.
This repeated example of his proximity to those penalized by the law, and his consistent lesson of forgiveness seems to be conveniently absent from modern day conservative Republican Christian rhetoric.
Matthew 5:11, “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”
i.e. Blessed are those who are persecuted, especially falsely in the name of Christ.
One of my favorite things about the Biblical Jesus, was his undeniable fervor for justice, and gumption to stand up to those experts of the law and scripture.
Matthew 21: 12, “Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.”
See also John 2:13.
In the biblical passages about the cleansing of the temples, Jesus marches into the temple in an uproar against the crime and theft being done on behalf of and on the grounds of the temple. He had no pause over displaying his anger against such ‘legal’ crimes.
Jesus stood-up to and disrupted one of the most important and powerful institutions of that time. (One might say not much has changed about religious institutions, except for the part of people standing up to them.)
Now, not all Republicans claim to be Jesus. Nor are all Republican voters Christian.
But the Republican party does tend to make political decisions based on conservative, and supposedly Christian sense of morality. Many of their constituents tend to vote for those ideas, based on the understanding that they are steeped in Christianity.
Today, it is a moral imperative for those of us who are biblically literate and fans of the Justice-loving Jesus, to speak out more, and to disrupt that notion of morality.
Because really, what does the conservative movement stand for, if they realize that they aren’t actually Christian at all?
Originally published at www.buzzfeed.com.