Jesus Doesn’t Vote in American Elections

Jesus+Doesn%27t+Vote+in+American+Elections

Laura Alyssa Platé

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, “Jesus voted for Trump.” No, He didn’t. The way I know this is because Jesus was crucified in 33 AD in Golgotha and if He cast a vote in America, it would have been voter fraud. 

The older I get the less I identify with a specific political party. I don’t like being beholden to party politics. On some things, I am dubiously liberal and some I am dubiously conservative. Trying to understand where I stand on one issue based on where I stand on another issue is a fool’s errand. At different points in my life, I have considered myself to be a card-carrying member of both main political parties, but the truth is I have always been firmly splitting the middle: an independent. I watch debates for everyone, I follow politicians from both sides of the aisle and I wish we as a country focused more on individual issues than toeing the party line, whichever line that may be for each person. 

While blind party loyalty and identity politics drive me absolutely crazy, there is one thing in politics that drives me crazier: people who assume that the Republicans own the rights to my faith and Republicans who believe Christianity belongs to them. Faith is deeply personal and inserting “Christian values” into legislation takes the rug out from under my right to keep my faith personal. My vote does not belong to an elephant. My vote does not belong to a donkey. My vote belongs to me, and just because I attend a baptist church every Sunday does not make me a part of the Religious Right, yet whenever they speak I and many others feel the need to speak up and say, “Wait no, that’s not a good representation of the God I pray to.” 

In the United States, 65 percent of adults identify as Christians. Gallup shows that, as of September of this year, 38 percent of Americans identify as Independent or third party, 31 percent identify as Democrats and 29 percent identify as Republicans. Assuming that every single person in that 29 percent of Americans is also a Christian, 44 percent of Christians still don’t align themselves with the Republican party. 

Religion often finds its way into American politics in various forms and fashions. PHOTO / Thomas Kelley via Unsplash

What I mean to show with all of these statistics is that Christianity and the GOP are not mutually exclusive, so get your hands off of my faith. I am so grateful to see people in other political parties running with their faith at the forefront of their campaigns this year, but that scares me too. The founding fathers set up the country without a national religion so that religion of any variety would never lay its hands on our democracy. It is not up to me as a Christian or a human being to decide someone else’s morals, and it isn’t the government’s job either. 

When I go to church I hear and I teach scriptures that use loving rhetoric and preach compassion. I do not see this in the headlines about invoking religion into hateful policies that hurt more people than they help. My relationship with Jesus is between me and Jesus, as  should everyone’s be. My relationship with Jesus should be evident through my actions, not my ability to police other people’s morals. I trust Americans to make the right choices for themselves and their families without my interference. 

When the Right claims the rights to the Christian vote, they alienate people like me and millions of others who don’t want to be associated with their radical ideology. This isn’t Gilead, but if the Christian middle and the Christian Left don’t speak up, it could be. Just like I wouldn’t want to be a citizen of an Islamic State or a Jewish State, I don’t want to be ruled by the laws of Leviticus and the interpretations of a minority who have hijacked Christianity in the mainstream. While faith should play a role in politicians own moral compass and the way they legislate, their faith should not come into my house and take away my choice to believe differently. That’s a theocracy and that has no place in our Constitution. 

Jesus didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton or Reagan or Kennedy. Jesus isn’t a Democrat or a Republican. Jesus isn’t an American. God didn’t come down from the heavens to anyone to run for president on the “put children in cages” platform or the “taxes pay for everything” platform. There is no presidential campaign that is ordained by God. God can move through anyone, saint or sinner, Jew or gentile, Republican or Democrat. The GOP is not God’s Only Party, so stop giving yourselves God’s endorsement.