If you have wondered why evangelical Christians in Canada are the least likely to support political parties that reflect the teachings of Jesus, a recent poll in the U.S. answers that question. According to the Pew Forum, white evangelical Christians, people who claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus, who go to church every Sunday, who pray several times a day, listen to Christian music, have daily devotions, place God’s only begotten son at the centre of their lives, who claim Jesus lives in their heart and believe that the Bible is the inerrant, perfect word of God, are the very people most likely to reject the teachings of Jesus when it comes to politics.
While the Pew Forum surveyed American evangelicals, the bizarre idea that born- again Christians are not likely to support politicians that reflect the teachings of Jesus certainly seems to also apply to evangelicals here in Canada.
Issue after issue, it is amazing how religious conservatives in Canada vote for a Stephen Harper-led Conservative party whose actions directly contradict the teachings of Christ.
On dealing with crime not by dealing with the root causes of crime but instead by building more jails – how is that anything like the way Jesus taught us about how we should treat the poor and underprivileged? Would that resemble Jesus’ idea of mercy and forgiveness?
On dealing with criminals by imposing longer sentences – would Jesus adopt the evangelical position of favouring punitive justice instead of rehabilitation?
On spending billions of dollars on jet fighters instead of feeding the poor and giving medicine to sick children – is that the way Jesus would want us to deal with the less fortunate in society?
On tax breaks for wealthy corporations instead of putting money in the hands of the people who most desperately need it – how do evangelical Christians in Canada reconcile that monumental anti-Christ like move?
On waging war in Libya instead of exploring ways of dealing with situation in nonviolent, humanitarian ways – how does that reflect the message of Jesus to loving, peaceful and nonviolent?
On the possibility that Canadian armed forces knowingly passed along prisoners in Afghanistan who were likely to get tortured instead of taking every precaution that they would be treated humanely – is that the way Jesus would have wanted us to handle the situation (and would he be okay with Harper refusing to release all the documents on the Afghan detainee issue)?
On lying to other members of parliament – is that how Jesus would want our leaders to lead? On denying funding to KAIROS and other humanitarian organizations – is that something Jesus would approve of?
(On one item Harper does act very much like Jesus…hanging around with crooks. With Harper having two staff members with criminal records he does appear to follow the teachings of Jesus in that way.)
Secular conservatives in Canada are entitled to be in favour of the Conservative platforms mentioned above, but it is astonishing how religious conservatives, especially evangelical Christians who proclaim themselves to be devoted followers of Jesus, can vote for a Conservative party whose agenda goes against everything Jesus stood for.
The Pew study exposes something profoundly hypocritical in the evangelical community: that people who call themselves devout followers of the “Prince of Peace” out of one side of their mouth are also the most militaristic, pro-corporate people in the country.
Here’s our sad but true prediction. Despite a domestic and foreign policy that shows contempt for how Jesus wanted his followers to live and hijacks the core message of Chrisitianity, Conservatives will win the most seats in the nation’s most evangelical constituencies.