How Would Jesus Vote in the 2008 Election?

Is There More to Christian Voting Than Abortion and Gay Marriage?


Published: October 16, 2008

I am a Christian. I am a Free Methodist, which would make me an evangelical Christian. Despite what you may think, however, I have struggled with my decision over whom to vote for in this election.

As a Christian, my faith requires me to follow Jesus Christ through his teachings, his sayings and his life example. Jesus makes it absolutely clear that I should pray, do good works and not kill anyone, but there are some issues and situations in life that cannot be easily answered by one parable or one saying. Jesus’s voting preferences is one of them.

The Bible doesn’t clearly state whether Christians should vote for either Sen. Barack Obama, Ill.-Dem., or Sen. John McCain, Ariz.-Rep. Despite that, some believe that the choice is simple based on one or two issues, particularly abortion and gay marriage. I disagree.

In the last two presidential elections, I have seen the religious right as well as some notable Catholic bishops do their best to show that Christians and Catholics are supposed to vote for the most anti-abortion and anti-gay-marriage candidate. Judging by the results of those elections, their efforts were rewarded handsomely. To their credit, from the creation of life in Genesis on, the Bible speaks about the sacredness of life and marriage. In terms of those two issues, Obama has two strikes against him: his 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood for his support of abortion rights and his support for gay rights, including gay adoption. As much as I personally dislike Obama’s stance on abortion, I believe there are more issues that Jesus dealt with directly to consider when voting.

I believe Jesus established, clearer than ever before, the notion of human dignity. Human dignity is about the state of being worthy of honor or respect. It deals with the rights of each person. Yes, to some, Obama may fail in properly supporting that principle because of his pro-abortion views, but human dignity extends beyond abortion and marriage.

While he was on this earth, Jesus cared about the poor and the needy. In his parable about the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25: 31-46), he asked his followers to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless. To me, this parable should call every Christian to action, no matter who they are.

Jesus’s parable brings up different areas of focus for both presidential candidates, especially poverty and homelessness. Though both candidates have stated that poverty is a “top priority,” Obama has co-sponsored the Global Poverty Act, which calls for the president to write up a complete agenda to cut global poverty in half by 2015. Also, unlike McCain, Obama has consistently supported bills that raised the minimum wage, and thereby giving others the opportunity to make more of a living. With all due respect to the previous two issues mentioned, Jesus explicitly told his followers to fight poverty. Because of what Jesus said about poverty, I believe that Jesus would find the issue as important an issue as abortion and gay marriage are to some Christian voters today.

Jesus also told his followers to also visit the sick. In the Gospels, Jesus both visited and healed the sick. He did not ask for any health insurance before he did so. He healed every day without any discrimination or restrictions. Moderator Tom Brokaw raised an important question at the second presidential debate: “Is health care a privilege, a right or a responsibility?” I believe Jesus would agree with Senator Obama’s answer: “a right.” In healing whoever came his way, Jesus respected each person’s human dignity. A plan that will allow more Americans to get affordable and effective health care would be on Jesus’ mind if he went to the voting booth.

As a thinking and practicing Christian, I believe there is too much at stake in this historical election to only focus on one or two issues. Based on his teachings and deeds, I believe Jesus would agree with me.