Facebook has been asking me How Jesus Would Vote. According to most of the memes, Facebook thinks Jesus would vote Clinton, and that Jesus was a snarky pencil-necked millennial with Photoshop and too much time on his hands.
Here is what the record suggests:
- Jesus went about proclaiming “Good News” which was an appropriation and subversion of Caesar’s proclamations of “Good News”. His Good News consisted of the inauguration of the Kingdom of God. The irony would not have been lost on his hearers.
- Jesus’ attitude towards politicians is well recorded. Towards the Sadducees he is openly hostile. Towards Herod he is contemptuous, towards Pilate, indifferent at best.
- Jesus’ contemporaries from outside his inner circle referred to him as a Prophet and he does fit the archetype: he predicts doom for Jerusalem if it does not turn from its path and embrace the Good News. Since we know Jerusalem was ultimately destroyed, it is reasonable to think a sensitive individual living some four decades before could look at the trajectory of Israel and think “this is not sustainable, we need something completely different”.
- Jesus seems convinced that the political figures of his day are in fact powerless: Herod and Pilate are not in control of the situation. The Sadducees think they are in control when their actions to preserve Second Temple Jewish Nationalism are in fact undermining it.
- The Gospel Passion narratives, written from the perspective of after the fall of Jerusalem, can be read as studies in political power. They can also be read as condemnations of political power as the very power Satan used to legally murder Jesus of Nazareth.
Conclusion: it is not likely Jesus would have been a voter in the Caiaphas vs Herod elections of 2016.