Madeline Albright recently said that there was a special place in hell for women who did not support other women, but there is perhaps an even hotter place for people who presume to know what Jesus Christ would do if he were an American living in modern times. Fad bracelets aside, it takes a stunning amount of arrogance to speak for the son of God.
That arrogance, unfortunately, is not uncommon. You can find it in the pages of USA Today, where Stephen Prothero, a professor of religion at Boston University, speculates on how Jesus might vote if he were around in 2016. After noting that, by Sanders’ own description, the Vermont socialist is a secular Jew, Prothero says, “Even so, I cannot shake the sneaking suspicion that he is the most Christian candidate in the race.”
Prothero doesn’t go to great lengths in explaining why he feels that way; if his column represents his entire view on the matter, it’s apparently because Sanders read a couple of Bible verses in a speech last September? Instead, he skips the evidence to slam the Republican candidates for their – in his view – stances on issues that would have horrified Christ.
“The historical Jesus,” says Prothero, “bears almost no resemblance to the American Jesus conjured up in the late 1970s by the religious right and trotted out nowadays by Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and other Republicans desperately seeking the white evangelical vote.”
The professor goes on to note that Jesus never said anything about abortion, that he preferred the poor to the rich, and that he instructed us to love our neighbors, “including those Samaritans, the Mexicans and Muslims of his time.”
After spending roughly 1,000 words convincing his readers that this screed was somehow worth the paper it was printed on, Prothero concludes by admitting that it doesn’t matter that much to him either way. “I don’t bring my Bible into the ballot box. But if you do, if you consult with Jesus on Election Day, don’t say you weren’t warned if he tells you he is casting his lot with Bernie the secular Jew.”
Assuming that Prothero is saying that he doesn’t allow his faith to influence his vote, the reader is left to question why they should take his column seriously. What kind of Christian is not at least partially guided by faith when making such an important decision? Well, it’s quite obvious what kind. The kind that views the Bible as a work of literary imagination and then cynically uses it to influence those who believe it to be the word of God.
Bernie Sanders, as misguided as his vision of America is, seems like a good and decent man. His supporters, though…