Interesting article in the Guardian about a study led by Lee Ross of Stanford University in California into the interaction between faith and politics.
…the Jesus of liberal Christians is very different from the one envisaged by conservatives. The researchers asked respondents to imagine what Jesus would have thought about contemporary issues such as taxation, immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion. Perhaps not surprisingly, Christian Republicans imagined a Jesus who tended to be against wealth redistribution, illegal immigrants, abortion and same-sex marriage; whereas the Jesus of Democrat-voting Christians would have had far more liberal opinions. The Bible may claim that God created man in his own image, but the study suggests man creates God in his own image.
If you are like me, you are right now deciding that those whose political views you do not share are the ones who have invented more of their Jesus than you have.
Because basically Jesus is like a really good version of me. Me on a good day.
Preachers, politicians and co-believers tend to emphasise and de-emphasise different aspects of the Christian canon; so conservative Americans study the Old Testament with its homophobic rhetoric and eye-for-an-eye morality, whereas liberals look to the New Testament Jesus who was sympathetic to the poor and the meek.
Evangelical politics is not, of course, limited to the US. Many social conservatives in the UK align themselves with the Christian right, and MPs such as Nadine Dorries take inspiration from US campaigns against abortion or gay rights. But perhaps the most striking aspect of the study is that it turns on its head the claims by many religious politicians, such as Republican nomination candidates Rick Santorum (“I’m for income inequality”), Rick Perry (“Homosexuality is a sin”), or the UK’s Nadine Dorries (“My faith tells me who I am”), that their politics is inspired by their God. This study suggests instead that their God is inspired by their politics.
I suppose this was the risk God took in giving us all free will.
The foolishness, the folly of God.
Who lies like a bound lamb on the altars we build.