How Would Jesus Vote?

13/04/10 | Posted by MattPage

So the election has been called for May 6th and the next few weeks will see the airwaves thick with clichéd slogans, billboards festooned with glossy posters and armies of canvassers interrupting peaceful evenings. But is there anything worth voting for, and how would a certain preacher from Galilee have acted if he found himself (somewhat bizarrely) in our shoes today?

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In the old days, or so we’re told, it was easy: the Tories helped the rich whilst Labour looked out for the poor. These days all three main parties talk about combating inequality, lifting people out of poverty, protecting the environment and fairness, all the while telling us just how wrong their opponents’ ideas are. And now on top of the usual problems there are record levels of debt to contend with.

Is the answer to increase National Insurance, or to cut waste? Would Jesus be in favour of introducing more measures to ensure people live in the right way, or of giving people greater freedom to chose to do right (or wrong). Would he be in favour of measures such as Trident and Identity Cards in the hope that they may protect us, or would he see spending huge amounts of money on such projects as a waste of resources, resources that might otherwise be spent in ending poverty not just in the UK but further afield? Or might he be solely concerned with a single issue such as abortion or euthanasia?

Then again, you could point to the way that Jesus refused to side with the established powers and the violent revolutionaries putting himself at odds with both of them. Perhaps he would refuse to vote and to join in with such petty power games, staying at home, or spoiling his ballot paper.

Of course trying to guess how Jesus would vote is all a bit silly. Verses could no doubt be plucked from here and there in the Gospels to support all of the main parties. At the same time, though, now might be a good time to revisit some of the things that the world’s most famous ethical teacher said and did. The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most magnificent and challenging statements about how we should live ever to have been written. If we want to see the world become a better place, it’s undoubtedly a good place to start.

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