Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

10 Reasons Jesus Would Never Win The American Evangelical Vote

It’s political season, have you noticed? (Seriously, kill me now.)

As part of that political season, pundits like to crack numbers, explore potential paths to victory, and discuss voter blocks. One of those voter blocks is yuge– in fact, it’s hard to win the presidency without it: The Evangelical vote.

I know this block well– I grew up in it. I was one of them. I still hold many of the same theological values they hold, and if it were not for the fact the term has become a political term instead of a theological distinction, I might even still consider myself one.

But if Jesus ran for president? Well, I can nearly assure you: He’d never win the Evangelical vote. Here’s 10 reasons why:

10. Jesus was famous for giving away free healthcare.

One of the core aspects of Jesus’s earthly ministry was healing the sick– it’s actually how he became so popular (Mark 1:45). It is undeniable that healing the sick was high on Jesus’s radar, but sadly, I don’t see that priority shared within the political label of “Evangelical.” This election season, the candidates most popular with Evangelicals are actually running on the promise that they will take healthcare away from people.

You won’t find two more opposing messages than that.

9. Rich Evangelicals would see him as a divisive candidate who waged class warfare.

Let me assure you: Rich people wouldn’t be a fan of Jesus, because when he talked about rich people it wasn’t on positive terms. Instead, Jesus said things like “Woe to you who are rich!” (Luke 6:24) and even used hyperbole to argue that being wealthy makes it basically impossible to enter God’s Kingdom (Matthew 19:24). Contrast this with all Jesus’s talk on how blessed the poor will be in his Kingdom, and I can promise: He’d be accused of being anti-rich and promoting class warfare.

8. He threatened those who exclude immigrants and do not help the poor.

 The political term “Evangelical” is not known for including immigrants and being focused on helping the poor– and those are the people Jesus threatened with eternal damnation in Matthew 25. This would be a political death-blow (it actually was), as the rich and powerful would be infuriated with the idea that building walls to shut out immigrants, and failing to be generous to poor people, results in an eternal punishment and exclusion from God’s Kingdom.

7. He told people to pay their taxes.

Jesus ministered in an area that was grossly over-taxed, and people were miserable for it. Yet when he was asked about this, instead of calling taxation “theft” and rebuking the government, he simply looked at the coin and said, “If the money has the president’s face on it, and the president asks for it, give back to him whatever he asks for.” (Matthew 22:21)

This clear disinterest in fighting issues of government taxation would not go over well with American Evangelicals.

6. Jesus was known for staging public protests at church.

Instead of political appearances at churches to try to win their political support, Jesus is the guy who confronted church leaders and said, “Hey you guys! Did you see that the the most notorious sinners have entered the Kingdom ahead of you?” (Matthew 21:31). He is also the guy who went into the only mega-church of his day and completely ransacked the place because they were oppressing the poor and excluding people the church thought were “out.”

That kind of activity not only fails to win votes, it actually gets you killed.

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

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21 Responses

  1. Re: #5 Actually, it can be argued that in saying, “Give to Caesar what it Caesar’s and to God what is God’s,” Jesus was saying everything (except, perhaps what has Caesar’s offensive image on it) belongs to God. I realize that you’re trying to make a parallel to things offensive to right wing “Evangelicals,” but it’s a real stretch to interpret it as Jesus recommending paying taxes–especially to an occupying power.

    1. It could be argued but only if you totally ignore the context of Mark 12…..and the question Jesus was directly asked.

      14They came and said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? 15“Shall we pay or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at.” 16They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him.

      Also in the context of Mark 12, Jesus is directly attacking the pharisees.

  2. Because miraculous healings and state-subsidized healthcare are the same thing. Nobody arguing against universal coverage is suggesting that people shouldn’t be healed, only that resources are limited and that competition makes for a better system, which should ultimately benefit the sick. Right or wrong, it’s a big difference. And who says Jesus was against the death penalty? One story wedged into the Gospel of John years after it was written? It’s quite possible he was, but I reckon Paul didn’t see it that way, so there is at least some warrant in believing that the early Christians didn’t consider Jesus as anti-capital punishment, at least so far as earthly kingdoms are under consideration. Speaking of which, it seems that this sort of article makes the very same mistakes a number of evangelicals make: namely, conflating the kingdom of the world with the kingdom of God. Restricting immigration for the sake of economic and national security in the earthly realm is drastically different than the kingdom of God turning immigrants away and neglecting the poor. (Evangelicals have stopped helping the poor, by the way, because the government has made them feel as if it’s unnecessary.) In any case, it seems to me like you want to meld your Christianity and politics in much the same way as Franklin Graham wants to meld his.

  3. 5 Reasons Jesus Would Never Win The Liberal Christian Vote

    1. Jesus unapologetically and rather brazenly stood by every word of God.

    And as we both know, modern liberal Christians hold at least 1/3 of those words in contempt and pretty much ignore the other 2/3 with the exceptions of a few parts that particularly please them. So, what was Jesus’ attitude toward the Old Testament? Every word has a purpose and they will all be realized. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18) He didn’t come to get rid of it. “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) He maintained that the words could not be compromised and the promises would all be kept. “The Scripture cannot be broken…” (John 10:35) How about his rebuke of the Sadducees? “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29) In his response to Satan, Jesus affirmed his absolute belief in the Bible by simply saying, “It is written…” (Matthew 4) and quoted the Pentateuch. Heck, Jesus even affirmed his belief in a man being swallowed by a fish, two naked people walking around in a garden talking to a serpent, and God drowning the entire earth while a floating zoo with a handful of people and a pair of each animal were all that survived. Jesus upheld every word that was written and even his own. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) And much like the Pharisees of his day, modern “liberal Christians” reject and replace the Word of God with their own made-up ideas of God. “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” (Mark 7:9) Nope, he’s one candidate they would have a hard time voting for!

    2. Jesus taught “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

    As we all know, modern “liberal Christians” are incapable of believing that there is only one way to heaven, much less that the only one way is even more narrow and restrictive than being limited to being only one way. In fact, Jesus says it’s so narrow that there are only “few” who find it. He doesn’t quite gel with that “we know better than Jesus” mentality of the liberal, generous (man-made) Christianity many liberals have come to love and cherish. He’s too close-minded and certainly way too exclusive.

    3. Jesus wouldn’t be a friend to the liberal’s deeply embraced philosophy of using the government to take other people’s money and giving to the poor.

    For the life of me, I still can’t figure out how the liberals have hijacked the excellent fictional character Robin Hood and gone and claimed him as one of their own. In fact, Robin Hood was fighting against a corrupt king that was forcefully taking people’s hard-earned money to spend on his own programs and desires. Robin Hood simply returned the taxes (representing a portion of people’s hard-earned money) back to the people who had been unfairly taxed. Modern socialism is not so different from the government in this story. Like King Richard, the socialist government forcefully takes away others’ hard-earned money (with threat of imprisonment and fines) and spends it as it pleases on its own programs and desires. In our day and age, the government steals from person A who worked hard for it and gives to person B who didn’t work for it at all. The modern socialist is not Robin Hood. The modern socialist is King Richard! So, what does this have to do with Jesus?

    In addition to point #1 where Jesus upheld all the moral principles of the Old Testament (in particular, “Thou shalt not steal”), he also reiterated his disapproval of stealing in the gospels: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” (John 10:10). Was Jesus’ answer to poverty to steal from the rich and give to the poor? Not at all! What was Jesus’ answer to poverty? To give from a generous heart. And there is a universe of difference between the two (the “liberal” version and the Jesus version). He commanded his followers to willingly share (Luke 3:11). He assumed his followers would give to the poor and even told them to do so without attracting any fanfare (Matthew 6:3-4). He went so far as to teach his followers to invite the poor to dinners and banquets and said they would be blessed for doing so because the poor cannot repay (Luke 14:12-14) In contrast with the culture of power and wealth common to the world, Jesus esteemed the poor and taught them and did not marginalize them. He called them to follow him. He gave to everyone who had physical need and presented himself as the Savior of the whole world – not just of the rich and powerful but also of the poor and powerless.

    To reiterate, Jesus’ solution to poverty was not to suggest the use of force to take from the rich and semi-rich and semi-poor and give to those who are even poorer, but to call on all of his followers of all economic ability to be generous and meet the needs of the less fortunate around them. Of course, this is to say absolutely nothing of Jesus’ endorsement of the work ethic described in Proverbs and the searing rebuke of laziness also found there!

    4. Jesus would be no fan of the liberals’ most cherished philosophy of killing unarmed, helpless, innocent babies in their mothers’ wombs

    As argued by Mr. Corey himself, Jesus was an execution stopper and even had the audacity to turn and point his finger at the crowd of those chanting “death” to the guilty accused. There should be no doubt that he would likewise be an execution stopper at every abortion clinic he passed by. The craziest part about it is that the culture of preserving life is so distorted to the modern liberal Christian that he or she can only think of stopping guilty murderers from being put to death while entirely ignoring the plight of the 50,000,000 innocent babies who were, in fact, “without sin” and guilty of no crime. Jesus’ indirect indictment of stealing also brought a condemnation of killing. “The thief comes only to steal and and kill and destroy; but I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Yet somehow these people claim the Lord of life supports them and their dark desire for parents to be able to kill their children in the womb. It would seem, yet again, that the modern liberal Christian is firmly entrenched on the side that opposes God. They’d certainly never vote for the greatest pro-life candidate in the history of the world!

    5. Every time Jesus spoke of marriage he spoke of it in terms of one man and one woman for life.

    Would liberals who set aside the Word of God a long time ago on this issue suddenly agree with the pro heterosexual marriage candidate? Doubtful. He spoke of marriage in terms of one man and one woman – words way too exclusive for modern liberal Christians. Would liberals who set aside the Word of God a long time ago on the issue of divorce suddenly agree with the anti-divorce candidate? Once in a Fox News interview, Jesus was asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” His answer? “Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” He even made some strange comments about the two becoming one flesh and said God had joined them together and no one should separate them. After that, the opinion polls showed a drastic drop among the highly enlightened, modern “liberal Christian” voter demographic. Meanwhile, his ratings surged among those who actually believe the Bible.

    The missing element from this conversation

    The main reason neither Evangelicals nor those who disguise their unbelief behind a very thin veil (A.K.A. liberal Christians) would vote for Jesus is because Jesus wouldn’t be in the race. He said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over… But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36) Nope, Jesus wouldn’t waste his time trying to reform politics from the inside out. He was much more concerned with the evils that plague men’s hearts and with their souls and physical well being than he was with political establishments.

    1. Nailed it. Jesus didn’t advocate for overthrowing Rome like many of the liberals and right-wingers of his day thought he’d do. Hence why so many people quickly turned on him once they realized he wasn’t going to topple Rome.

    2. You pick and choose verses to support your theory. Fortunately for humanity, you’re wrong and the message of the bible is very clear. Love.

      That is all.

  4. Yes, I remember some of Jesus’s famous sayings like render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, so that he may render it unto money bundlers with failing green energy companies so that they may remain wealthy, while closing their doors.
    And If thine enemies criticize Caesar, he must smiteth them with crushing IRS audits and harassment.
    And my favorite was his preaching on healing when he said that in order for people to want my healing we must make their current healing unaffordable.
    And I especially like when he said we must constantly judge people by the little d or r next to their name because, frankly, nothing else really matters.
    Come on, people. I realize that this article is meant to be somewhat humorous, but why does this Jesus would have been a liberal or socialist crap keep popping up? An eight year old with a rudimentary knowledge of the Bible knows that the basic message is that we all fall short. If Jesus were to come down during an election year he would look at all of us and think we were all a bunch of jugheads.

  5. Never underestimate the arrogance of pseudo-scholarship. This juvenile, agenda driven screed reveals a stunning lack of Biblical knowledge. But that has never been a barrier to furthering a perverted liberal ideology…

  6. Let’s get some of these things straight, becuase the author, Benjamin Corey, has a few things slightly off. (Or more than slightly…)
    A. . Jesus was famous for free healthcare.
    ….. Well, HE healed people. He wasn’t for making sure that everyone paid the insurance companies millions of dollars, he wasn’t for making sure that doctors could charge hundred of bucks a pop. He was never for taking from one person to give to another. He was for everyone helping each other.

    B. Class warfare… No, he ONLY had a problem with people who were rich who relied on their riches throughout life. And who flaunted it.

    C. While poorly worded, number 8 being anti-immigrant issue…. Is pretty well right on. WE are supposed to help the immigrant by treating them like one of our own and the immigrant is supposed to assimilate into our culture. AND, people are admonished to HELP the poor. (Not encourage laziness, by the way….)

    D. He did say to pay taxes. BUT he did NOT say that we have no say. While we are to obey our govt, we live in a place where we can have a say in what those taxes are, and we can create consequences.

    E. He ransacked the church because they were peddling money on what was supposed to be a holy day. NOT a day to make money off of people. He also got mad at Pharisees who were saying they were obedient to God, and all the while, NOT being obedient. THey were being hypocritical.

    F. Again, poorly written about “name calling”. Yes he DID LABEL them. And accurately. He wasn’t being Trump, just throwing out names because he has no better argument than to bully and call names. He was labeling their behavior. Htere’s a difference.

    G. He was ANYTHING but soft on crime. “GO AND SIN NO MORE”. Does no one ever remember those words????

    H. Enemy love is threat to national defense… He wasn’t for people just getting trompled, either. GOD , after all, helped people stay safe, as much as he gave them up to their enemies to teach them a lesson….. enemy love would likely prevent a good chunk of the problems we have today.

    I. I don’t think he would have disallowed a weapon in self defense. HOwever, to pull out a sword to cut off a guy’s ear just becuase you are mad at something he SAID, however, is a different story.

    J. Jesus would likely talk about Heaven. And he’d be telling us that we have a lot of work to do before that Kindgom would come to us. AND, He’d be telling us to stop letting our culture influence us, and to stop sinning. That right there could make him lose the vote. BUt at least, get the facts right.

  7. Here’s why Jesus would win the Evangelical vote:

    1) Jesus supported limited government. The Old Law minimally interfered with the lives of the people. They had law & order and a military.

    2) The tithe was a tax to support the priests & Levites (their government), the needy, fatherless and widows. It was based off your increase. If you started with 100 sheep and you were blessed with 10 lambs, God took 1, not 11. If you were blessed with 10 more the next year, God took 1, not 11. If you started with 100 bushels of wheat and were blessed with 10 more, God took 1, not 11. Everyone had the ability to grow their wealth and be a blessing to others…and those who didn’t prosper didn’t pay. The system provided for basic needs of those who could not provide for themselves and did not allow for greed through the use of money.

    2) Every man (household) paid the same tax (Ex 30:14-16)…a very small amount.

    3) If you don’t work…you don’t eat (even the poor had to go gather the gleanings left in the in the fields by those who were blessed)…notice Ruth; Lev 19:9-10

    4) Aliens don’t receive the full blessings until they become citizens (Eph 2:11-13, 19; Eph 1:3)….Gen 17:9-13; Ex 12:48

    5) Free healthcare would not have been a platform plank as it violated #1.

    6) Jesus staged protests against corruption in their government (which happened to be a theocracy).

    7) He righteously called the corrupt names….he did not engage in smear tactics.

    8)Jesus is not soft on crime and he was not anti-death penalty. In dealing with the woman caught in adultery, he upheld the law. She should have been stoned with her paramour. When warning the Pharisees against blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, He did so recognizing that the immediate penalty was stoning. He would not have interfered if the community had decided to stone them.

    9) Jesus had no problem with weapons (Luke 22:26-38)…he had a problem with the foolishness of dealing with insults through assault (Matt 5:38-42)

    Y’all might want to get a better handle on Jesus as the giver of the Old Law. God did not change just because He manifested himself in the person of Jesus.

  8. Do you wander way I dropped out of Xtian 40 years age?. I live in Pgh Pa.. The “born Agains I met turned me off Christianity.

  9. If you are trying to convince the same people that could look at Cruz or Trump and see either one as “God’s man”, you are not gonna get anywhere. To me, evangelical Christianity “jumped the shark” some time ago. Unbelievers do not look at modern evangelicals with anything other than disdain or pity. What can you say about people who supposedly follow Christ, but show no similarities?

  10. Understanding that many or most American Evangelical Christians are
    politically conservative, why do the teachings of Jesus run
    counter to many of their views? In other words, if they are Christian, why are
    they conservative? Or if they are naturally conservative, why are they
    always spouting off about Jesus? I honestly don’t get it.

  11. EXCELLENT! an indictment on the Conservative Evangelicals who are deceived in thinking that Jesus was a conservative and the GOP is the party of God.
    And to hear Cruz challenge Trump about “letting Grandma die in the streets” is evidence that Evangelical Conservatism is anti-Christian.

  12. Maybe this article is supposed to be subtly poking at Evangelicals in a humorous way but as an evangelical libertarian I love to explain to people that just because someone is for or against something, doesn’t mean you are in favor of the government doing that thing. Maybe if Jesus was alive now he would advocate some of these issues (1,4,5, and 6) but never did He command government to do these things.

  13. This is why I have argued that Jesus would never make a “good” President. Probably one of the resons that Jimmy Carter was not a great President.

  14. American Evangelicals are not primarily interested in the life of Jesus. They are, rather, authoritarians, interested in delineating ‘us’ from ‘them.’ The OT is their guide, not the Gospels. The most important aspect of Jesus is his death, not his life.

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