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Who would Jesus vote for?

With Christians spread across the political spectrum, Amelia Abplanalp asks, how do I use my vote in a Christ-like way?

This article was written prior to the 2015 General Election 

Next May we have the chance to head to the polls and decide who will represent us in parliament and who will form the next government.

Frustration at being ignored by MPs, anger at numerous public spending scandals and a lack of leadership and substance from political parties means deciding who to vote for is no easy task.

Church kids from the 90s and early 00s will remember wearing WWJD bracelets. If you’re as brainwashed as me you’ll probably still find “WWJD” randomly popping into your head. It’s not surprising then, that as we strive to live a godly life, we contemplate who Jesus might vote for.

This is just one of the questions that is raised in the Evangelical Alliance’s latest politics survey which aims to find out what Christians think on all things political.

As we seek to validate our political position, we may find comfort in convincing ourselves that Jesus would be on our side.

Socialists would emphasise Jesus’ vocal and active concern to care for the poor and marginalised. Conservatives would look to personal responsibility and a strong work ethic.  Libertarians would cite Jesus’ challenges to empire as a clear advocate for reducing the role of government in our lives. Christian anarchists would highlight His refusal to engage systems of government all together to achieve his ministry.

As nice and convenient as it might be, Jesus doesn’t fit neatly into our boxes. And He most definitely doesn’t fit into the rather simplistic and increasingly irrelevant left/right spectrum. Throughout scripture Jesus throws ideological curveballs that don’t conform to any sort of neat political doctrine.

The reality is that no political system is perfect, no political party is perfect and perhaps stating the obvious, no politician is perfect; the reason being that politics is made up of you and me – sinners saved by God’s unending grace. So within this reality I think it is completely impossible to claim Jesus for our political side.

As we see in scripture, Jesus never shied away from engaging or commenting on issues of the day. I find so much hope and inspiration in the way that Jesus actively participated in the public square. I don’t doubt that He would encourage us to vote. In Romans we’re called to be good citizens and in 1 Timothy to prayer for our leaders. Esther and Mordecai lobbied the authorities of their time and Daniel successfully engaged with the society of his day through a senior government role.

I don’t know if Jesus would vote and I definitely don’t know who He would vote for. But I don’t think that it’s worth dwelling on that.

What is important is to prayerfully consider our vote through the biblical narrative, recognising that no choice will be perfect because we live in a not-yet perfect world.

I mentioned this article to a friend who is not a believer and his summary of Jesus was pretty spot on, “Jesus is characterised by His compassion and concern for all humans, regardless of their wealth, status, religion or race”. Through a hope-filled message of salvation, Jesus’ actions and words reflected justice and mercy, being a responsible citizen, engaging in community life and caring for the vulnerable.

This is what I’ll reflect on as I decide who I will vote for on 7 May 2015.