What would Jesus do on election day? As a believer, I’ve asked myself this question so many times. I’ve tried to google it, to listen to sermons about politics, to pray about it, and I’ve even tried to separate faith from politics, all to no avail. If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, I have good news for you. My very own father has spent the last 5 years exploring this question, and has done a pretty dang good job of summing it all up, in a documentary called “What Would Jesus Do On Election Day?”.
The documentary came as a surprise to me because it was coming from a man who would classify himself as an atheist. My father and I approach faith in completely different ways, yet we end up at the same conclusion about Jesus. We agree that Jesus is an incredible example of how to love, forgive, and have empathy for every human being. My dad is a huge supporter of my faith and, through the process of creating this documentary, we’ve had so many meaningful conversations. Our eyes have been opened to so many new perspectives, thanks to the wonderful writers, pastors, professors, and activists who were willing to help my dad answer this question.
As a privileged, white, cis woman, I’ve had to deconstruct a lot of who I thought Jesus was over the last few years. I did not grow up learning about a Jesus that stands for justice, but now justice is the overarching theme I see throughout the Bible. Jesus seeks justice for the poor, the broken, and the self-righteous. Jesus fought for human rights, inclusion, and even healthcare during his time on earth. So many of us in America say we follow Christ but fail to really take care of and love each other as he did. Throughout this documentary, my fundamental understandings of faith and politics were challenged and I found myself equipped with new knowledge about how my faith plays a role in politics. As I mentioned before, I used to think I needed to separate the two, but if I truly want to live a life like Christ and reflect the image of Jesus then they need to be intertwined.
A lot of pastors and believers will tell you, “Jesus would not vote in an election if he were on this earth today because he would not pick sides.” and I do not understand this. Obviously politics have become very polarized, which no one enjoys and I’m sure Jesus would hate. But, voting is literally the ultimate way to create change in our country and if you tell me that Jesus, the almighty justice seeker would not participate in our most fundamental right as a human… I can’t think of a better way to share the love and grace of Jesus than voting for the party that advocates for the sick, the poor, and basic human rights in their platform.
In WWJD on election day, the political and theological experts dig into the history of Jesus in America — specifically focused on white supremacy, social issues that divide liberal and conservative Christians, what it means to vote for the common good and move forward as citizens and believers. By exploring these topics, the documentary concludes that the teachings of Jesus would align better with the democratic party. That statement will upset a lot of people, because again, people don’t like to label Jesus as if he were walking this earth today. The purpose of the documentary is not to label Jesus, but to examine the teachings of Jesus in the light of politics.
I may be biased, but this documentary is exactly what American Christians need to see right now. As we head into the 2020 election, there is no room to follow Christ who embodies love and also follow Trump who embodies hate. This is the time to dig in and get uncomfortable, to challenge your bias, prejudice and stereotypes, and to examine why you vote. If you are a Christian like me, this documentary will make it crystal clear what we must do to truly “love thy neighbor”. We must stop being ‘single issue voters’, stop defending an egotistical — anti-Christ like man. WE MUST vote for the common good of humanity. The same common good that Jesus preached about during his time on earth.
A verse that I hold tightly to when I’m looking at the person I am voting for is a note from Paul to the people in Philippi about embodying the attitude of Christ, which reads, “Philippians 2:3–5 — Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”
I want my ballot to reflect these values and this documentary revealed what it means to vote with empathy and the love of Jesus Christ.
This provocative and timely documentary is free to view with options to support my father’s self-funded, self- produced, and self-marketed project. I encourage you to watch with an open heart and mind — no matter who you are or what you believe, you will learn something.
Previously published on medium
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Photo credit: wwjd