Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Four more years?!? My God, My God, have you forsaken us all?

The way things are going, I don't know if the world will last for four more years.

Seriously though, the thing which upset me most about the US election result was that it seems that a lot of the people who voted for Bush were Christians. Not just liberal or nominal Christians either; devout people with living faith.

I am a devout Christian, and I voted for Kerry. I didn't think he was a great candidate (I like Howard Dean, actually), but at least he wasn't Bush. Am I starting to wonder now whether I should instead have voted with so many of my fellow Christians? Absolutely not!

I believe that in this election and any election, Jesus is looking for the candidate who will stand up for the weak, the poor, the infirm. When he quotes Isaiah in saying "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor, ..." This isn't just a turn of phrase or metaphor. He means he has come particularly to bring hope to people with no money, people the world has forsaken. These are not the people who benefit from a Bush presidency, tax cuts for the wealthy; these are not the people who can be incentivised to stimulate the economy. These are the unemployed, the homeless, the underpaid, those scraping out a living on minimum wage.

I also believe that Jesus is appalled by the doctrine of preemption. Remember his words: "if your enemy hits you on one cheek, turn to him the other also." How could he support a government which believes that "if you think your enemy might try to hit you on one cheek, bomb his house and kill the ******". Personally I can't imagine him supporting any war - how can you love your enemy by shooting at him? But he certainly wouldn't support going to war over oil and money.

Of course, these aren't the issues which have prompted so many of my fellow Christians to vote for Bush. They're concerned about abortion, gay marriage, etc. I believe in the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of human life (including, incidentally, the sanctity of the lives of doctors who perform abortions - but that's another discussion). To what extent can I enforce my beliefs in these areas on others, in a country which guarantees freedom of religion in its constitution? I don't know. But I believe that the issues of the poor, of economics, of taxes, and particularly of war, are every bit as much ethical issues of these.

For years, right-wing politicians have cynically exploited Christian views on topics which don't cost the wealthy money, while pretending that poverty (for example) is not an ethical issue. Rubbish! Jesus was one of the most radical, dangerous, left-wing and anti-establishment figures in history. That's why Pilate put him to death.

No matter what my fellow believers do, I will never be ashamed to be a Christian or to count them as my brothers and sisters. But I do feel very sad for them, that their genuine faith has been twisted and abused to support such un-Christlike policies and politicians.

What would Jesus do? Well, whatever he'd have done, it wouldn't have involved tax cuts for the rich, colonial wars, and giving billions of tax dollars to his friends.

Originally posted 2004-11-05


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