1. Much of his ministry and teaching was about helping the poor
Let’s face it. The right is not exactly known for catering to folks on the lower end of the economic ladder. Just about every chance they get they are looking to cut programs benefiting the poor, while simultaneously advocating for tax cuts and welfare for the richest among us. But there is always the chance we skipped over the verse where Jesus walks past a beggar and says “Why should I waste my time on you. Get a job!”
2. He is not particularly fond of war
It should come as no surprise that right-wingers often pursue military action as the solution to foreign policy dilemmas. We have the most powerful military in the world, so why not flex our muscles? And our leaders better not even think about shaking hands with a hostile head of state. Unfortunately, Jesus spouted phrases like “love your enemies,” “turn the other cheek” and “those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” But to be fair, he does plan on duking it out with Satan and his followers when he comes back.
3. He has no problem with redistributing material wealth
One day a pious rich guy asked if he could follow Jesus and the response he got was to give his riches to the poor. Jesus also said, among other reversals, that those who tried to keep their wealth would lose it. And that is even before all the parables where masters and rulers are terribly generous and forgiving to their subordinates. Basically, he completely sidestepped trickle-down economics and had more of a waterfall perspective since it all belongs to God anyway.
4. He has a strong distaste for religious posers and opportunists
Both major parties are full of people who get caught up in tawdry scandals. However, the right portrays itself as the party of Christian morals and family values; which makes it highly hypocritical when they are involved. It does not require a Phd to discover the Christian packaging is just that; packaging. In contrast, Jesus had pretty harsh words for those who were more concerned with appearing righteous than actually being so.
5. He believes in paying for the past sins of others
Jesus was a person who willingly took the consequencess of others onto himself. And with his proclamation that no servant is above their master, he certainly expects us to do the same. Yet, many conservatives want nothing more than to sweep past injustices under the rug and assert we now live in a world of post racism, sexism, classism, etc… And should the acts of their predecessors be mentioned (note: historically conservative did not always equal Republican), they will speedily retort, “Why should what my ancestors did have anything to do with me?”
6. He is against the death penalty
When the angry mob was ready to stone the adulteress, he cleverly deterred the crowd from doing so. There were even points in his teaching where he said the exact opposite of an eye for an eye. Forgiveness for Jesus was much less about excusing behavior and more about refusing to seek or wish vengeance upon the perpetrator. In fact, the only actual time he was willing to go along with capital punishment, was when he was the one on trial.
7. He hates when leaders use religion to manipulate the masses
When reading almost anything about Jesus, you soon notice a pattern of him chastising leaders for using religion to oppress others. His outrage was not over honest mistakes, but their willfulness to burden the populous with laws and traditions they themselves were incapable of maintaining. Lo and behold 2,000 years later, we have conservative politicians pimping Christianity every time campaign season rolls around to get votes from people honestly attempting to “vote the bible.” He also said his followers will stumble, but woe to them by whom it comes.
8. He does not equate materialism with a good economy
What could possibly be more American in a conservative’s eyes than citizens spending on practically everything to keep industry growing (unless liberals get the credit)? Heck, there was even a guy who sent checks to everyone’s house with the hope they would blow it right away to stimulate the economy. And the most highly regarded are those with the most material wealth. On the other hand, Jesus said what good is it to gain the world, but lose your soul in the process? He encouraged us to instead, store up treasure in heaven.
9. He is quite fond of immigrants
If you pay attention, you will notice the people Jesus commends and presents as the most faithful were usually foreigners. And along with feeding the hungry, he said to welcome a foreigner was to likewise welcome him. He himself was a foreigner in several ways given his family’s flight to Egypt to escape Herod and him specifically saying he was not of this world. There was never any talk of whether or not they had the right papers or spoke the language. The funny thing is, he knew this position really got under the religious people’s skin.
10. He believes we should care for creation
A constant theme in several of Jesus’ sayings and parables is the wise use of resources, or stewardship. Those who did not take a long-term view on how they used their resources were compared to a man building a house on sand and a servant squandering his master’s wealth. But conservatives tend to have a habit of putting profit and industry above the wise use and treatment of nature’s resources. They may even pretend things like pollution do not even exist.
11. He believes when other people drop the ball, we should pick it up
When we are talking about kids falling through the cracks of the educational and legal systems, “It is the parent’s responsibility.” The idea of being like a husband to the widow and father to the orphan is a bit harder to reconcile with conservatives. If we just keep saying the parents need to step up, we are now absolved from accountability as a community. But ironically, if we are talking about banks and the upper class, conservatives have little problem with this principle.
12. Few things infuriated him more than hypocrisy
To be blunt, politics and hypocrisy seem to practically go hand in hand. So to say you are pro-life while promoting unnecessary wars, capital punishment, use of firearms and ignoring pollution is a bit contradictory. Jesus said the measure by which we judge others, is how we ourselves will be judged. The same could be said for protecting the sanctity of marriage from gays, while being plagued by scandals of infidelity, multiple marriages and secret gay hook-ups. But Jesus said, do not point out the speck in another’s eye, until we first remove the log from our own.
13. He believed touching hearts was more productive than creating laws
One thing conservatives do their share of is attempting to legislate morality. There are always efforts to reverse Roe vs. Wade, legally define marriage or crack down. But what Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees and scribes time after time, was laws do absolutely nothing to change the heart. If outlawing something would make people stop doing it, both the alleged war on drugs and prohibition would not have caused crime and incarceration rates to skyrocket. In order to bring the Great Physician to the sick, you actually have to be with the sick. When someone’s heart is changed, their actions will follow regardless of whether or not it is legal.
By Corey Dorsey