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Jesus Christ, Super Socialist

4 min read

It’s no surprise that the 2019 gubernatorial election and the 2020 national and state elections are all going to be dominated by Republicans screaming: “Socialist!” I’m going to tell you how to nip that baby in the bud.

Next time someone calls you a socialist for being a progressive, here’s what to do: make your face light up and say, “Thank you! I try to be a good Christian!”

This will give you two excellent results:

  • The person who was trying to shut you up will start spluttering. (OK, OK, I know that’s petty of me to enjoy MAGA-hatted trolls spluttering. But I’m only human!)
  • it will give you an opening to explain how the Bible backs up your beliefs — not his (and, let’s face it, it’s usually some grumpy old white guy). He won’t reflect and change, but it will at least keep him from weaponizing cries of socialism if he knows he’s going to get a lecture he’s bound to lose every single time.

To prepare for this discussion, let’s do what white evangelicals too rarely do: Let’s look at the actual Bible.

The Bible and abortion

Do you know how often the Bible mentions abortion? Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Never. Bupkis.

In fact, the one time the Bible does speak of two brawling men causing a fetal death (which today’s evangelicals would call a manslaughter), the Bible actually differentiates. In Exodus 21:22, should the woman accidentally struck suffer a miscarriage, the men are fined; however, in verses 23 to 24, if the woman is killed or injured, the Bible prescribes “then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” In other words, the woman is regarded as a person, but the fetus as property, like an ox or an ass.

The Bible and immigrants

Now how often does the Bible mention treating immigrants like yourselves? Here’s a few references on that topic:

Exodus 12:49

Exodus 20:10

Exodus 22:21–22

Leviticus 13:33–34

Leviticus 19:33–34

Leviticus 22:21

Leviticus 23:22

Deuteronomy 1:16

Deuteronomy 10:18–19

Deuteronomy 23:7

Deuteronomy 24:14

Deuteronomy 24:19–21

Deuteronomy 26:12–13

Deuteronomy 27:19

Numbers 9:14

Numbers 15:16

Jeremiah 22:3

Jeremiah 7:5–7

Ezekiel 22:7 

Ezekiel 22:29

Ezekiel 47:22–23

Job 31:32

Malachi 3:5

Zechariah 7:10

Matthew 25:31–46

Acts 28:2

Hebrews 13:1–2

3 John 1:5–8

Whew! Looks like we’ve been using the wrong litmus test! Instead of building a wall, we should be building welcoming stations!

Now, some far-right folks might argue that treating the stranger as yourselves only applies to those already in the country, not the wretched at the border. First of all, that concession definitely should dim the so-called Christian Right’s enthusiasm for mass deportation.

But, secondly, that’s not what the Bible states. Jesus healed the centurion’s slave, even though the servant was outside Judea proper and not a Jew, much less a follower of Christ (Matthew 8:5–13), and the Good Samaritan was not at home when he went above and beyond for the wounded Jew he found unconscious on the roadside (Luke10:25–37).

Jesus and healthcare

Let’s also examine the so-called Christian Right’s approach to universal healthcare. I’ve scoured the Bible, but I have yet to find an instance where Jesus asked poor beggars—or anyone, for that matter—how much they worked per week before healing them. Yup, Jesus was all about free health care for everyone!

In fact, he even brought people back from the dead without making their family members fill out forms designed as obstacles to coverage, or making them volunteer, or making them choose between taking care of elderly parents or infirm children and having health care. Funny that!

The Bible and debt

Lastly, God instructed His followers to institute a Year of Jubilee. In Leviticus 25:8–13, every 50 years, all debts were canceled. All of them, no matter how recently—or long ago—they were incurred! Seems like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders are more godly than the recalcitrant senators and congressmen who oppose tackling student loan debt and predatory lenders!

Wrapping up

Look, it’s fun to get all snarky about this. The following meme has been making its way around the internet since at least 2008:

But let’s be blunt: what’s NOT fun, or funny, is how certain religious people have claimed to have God on their side – when from what we can tell, their actions don’t follow the clear teachings of every major religion on earth.

It’s time to re-claim the connection between loving our neighbor and how we treat the poor, the powerless, and the earth itself. So the next time someone accuses you of being a socialist because you believe these things, just smile and say “Just trying to be a Jesus-follower, man.”

It's time to re-claim the connection between 'loving our neighbor' and how we treat the poor, the powerless, and the earth itself.Click To Tweet


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Ivonne Rovira

Ivonne is the research director for Save Our Schools Kentucky. She previously worked for The Miami Herald, the Miami News, and The Associated Press. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)