By Tom Fillmore
America’s upcoming national and state political elections prompted me to consider “How would Jesus vote if He were an American today?” I wish all our country’s citizens—especially those who are born-again Christians—would give careful thought to this question before they mark their ballots, not just this year but in all future elections.
What criteria would Jesus use to determine His selection? I doubt He would vote based on His allegiance to a political party platform. I’m sure He wouldn’t base His vote on physical appearance or how articulate the candidate was. Moreover, I’m certain Jesus would not be influenced by a person’s race, ethnicity or economic status. What then would Jesus look for in a man or woman seeking a leadership position?
Foremost, I think He would look for adherence to His moral precepts. It’s hard for me to imagine Jesus voting for someone who condones the taking of a life He created (via abortion), or who supports modifying His design for marriage. I think Jesus would place a high premium on a candidate’s moral behavior. Was the person honest, faithful to Biblical values and generally trustworthy? Did he or she fear God and associate with people of integrity? Was their long-term lifestyle consistent with their speech? I believe a candidate’s moral character—or lack thereof—would be of greatest importance to Jesus.
Second, as the perfect model of leadership, Jesus humbled Himself—setting aside selfishness—and became the ultimate servant, sacrificing His life for all humanity. Jesus encouraged His future leaders (disciples) to be humble servants too.
Third, I believe Jesus would favor someone who demonstrated godly wisdom and understanding—a person who openly acknowledged his or her dependence on God and who selected wise, experienced counselors to assist in making just and prudent decisions.
Fourth, regarding foreign policy, I think Jesus would like a woman or man who desired to help other countries in need. Since God has clearly stated that He would bless those who blessed Israel and curse those who cursed Israel, I’m certain Jesus would want a leader who unwaveringly supported Israel, His chosen people.
Finally, if Jesus had to choose between two candidates who didn’t perfectly meet His criteria (a realistic scenario), I’m convinced He would select the one who met more of His requirements, rather than not vote for either. We have a great privilege in these United States to cast our votes, and as Jesus explained to His disciples, “To whom much is given, much will be required.”
There are many other criteria that Jesus might rely on in making His choice, but those listed above should spur your own thought process. What criteria will you use in making your choices? Will they be based on your party registration? Will they be based on self-interest or what someone else thinks is important? Or will they be based on criteria such as those Jesus might care about?
As you ponder your answer, consider these quotes from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address on January 20, 1961.
“ . . . the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.”
“With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.”