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Why Jesus was not a Conservative

One of my professors at uvsc, Michael Minch, wrote this excellent piece for the College Times:

Jesus was not a conservative because he rejected all of the conventional understandings and practices of his day in a radical way.

The Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots all offered Jesus conventional approaches to understanding religion, culture, and politics. These communities represented four options: driving a wedge between religion and politics, co-opting religion with politics, withdrawing from politics, and the violent overthrow of political regimes. As a radical, Jesus rejected them all.

Conservatives in any time, culture, or politics are those who want to conserve the conventional, the status quo, hence the handy and informative label, conservatism. (By the way, the opposing word to use in distinction from conservatism is not "liberal," but "progressive." Conservatives cling to the past, and parts of the present; progressives believe in progress toward a better future.) Jesus had no interest in conserving the conventional. He clearly wanted to overthrow and transform it (but through nonconventional means, which meant violence was delegitimized) the rest here

Christ in a Che shirt

Christ in a Che shirt is about as blasphemous as it gets. Talk about putting words in someone's mouth!

I haven't had a chance to read his whole article yet, Tyler, but ... uh ... I'm not liking where this is going.

If he's attempting to do anything other than piss people off (i.e. convince them of his position) he's starting off completely wrong.

Jesus' Politics

As always, you will find me silent in the "God Is On My Side" debate. Here's why...

While I certainly hope Jesus' politics are similar to mine I refuse to debate with scriptural references and such (which - incidentally - I find supremely unconvincing). Instead, I will simply try my hardest to maintain a set of political beliefs that makes the world a better place - A more peaceful, kind, and just place.

I like to think Jesus would approve. But he may not really care that much about my political beliefs.

It makes me very uncomfortable when a Christian suggests (implicitly or otherwise) that those who disagree with his or her politics are somehow "un-Christian".

Too often, I observe a thought process that goes like this:
a. My politics are blessed by God Almighty.
b. I can't defend my politics on logical grounds.
c. But my politics are pure and unblemished pearls from heaven.
d. I guess I'll just resort to scripture.

In other words, gospel teachings are used as a crutch in a last ditch effort to support an unsupportable political view.

Anyway, that's all I had to say about why I will have nothing to say. ;)

Good Christians vs. Evil Athiets


Jesus was a conservative. Jesus was a liberal. Current definitions of the terms would have made Jesus very much a moderate. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor. A very liberal stance. The counter stance by the conservatives is that you should keep what you earn. Be ye therefore perfect. A very conservative stance. The liberal stance is all about accepting people in their imperfections. Christ does not fit into these political ideologies very well because he exemplifies the best from both political trains of thought.

I don't think Christ cared about politics. Living, breathing, teaching the laws of heaven were all that were important at the time. Being a Republican or a "good conservative" doesn't make you anymore of a good Christian than being a Democrat or a "progressive liberal" does to make you an evil atheist. While I believe that a person's religion does a great deal to influence their political leanings, religion itself is apolitical. Why do you think the Church stays as far away as possible from the whole political process? Both parties are right, and both parties are just as equally wrong. In an honest evaluation you would find that both politcal parties have strayed from the gospel as taught by Christ.

Playing piñata with a straw man

This paragraph is beyond laughable, emphasis mine.

Conservatives in any time, culture, or politics are those who want to conserve the conventional, the status quo, hence the handy and informative label, conservatism. (By the way, the opposing word to use in distinction from conservatism is not "liberal," but "progressive." Conservatives cling to the past, and parts of the present; progressives believe in progress toward a better future.)

Good grief. Any political science undergrad can tell you that even playing with the conservative/liberal labels (or progressive!) is just plain stupid. As a previous participant commented, Minch's argument seems to hinge on semantics.

the article is better

the picture was made by a classmate of mine and included with the article. while i figured some might find it blasphemous, i think that is largely because it is the del parson painting of christ that was for a while the semi-officical lds painting of christ. i bet that if he had used a different image of christ, the reactions would be different.

though i could be wrong.

if del parson can recreate jesus as some swedish looking dude, why can't vegor show christ as a liberator?

why is it so blasphemous anyways?

one other thing

great points, Laurence.

the only thing I'd add is that the author's argument hinges on semantics: the definition of conservative versus progressive. if looking at Webster's definition of these words -- which seems to be the crux of the author's point -- you get one view. when applied to the actual standards of the two modern political movements here in the US, its actually quite different. so the argument is quite disingenuous when it "attacks" conservatives by using an incorrect definition of the political party, and falsely categorizes the vast majority of its members as those who "cling to the past, and parts of the present" while progressives "believe in progress toward a better future." give me a break.

this is the typical fodder thrown out there to do nothing more than stir up sides. i question whether the author had any other goal than that.

what would jesus do?

Instead, I will simply try my hardest to maintain a set of political beliefs that makes the world a better place - A more peaceful, kind, and just place

do you not feel it important that others join you in this effort? if so, then why is it wrong to use christ as the prime example of someone whom we should emulate.

i haven't asked professor minch about his article, but i'm sure he would say that the purpose of the article is to bring balance to the whole "republican/conservative = good christian vs democrat/progressive = evil athiest" view that is especially being expressed by those in happy valley. a view that i have heard expressed in my local student ward meetings and institute classes several times.

Maybe not el Che, but radical nevertheless. . .

I guess everybody looks for different things when reading stuff on the Internet--some not even getting past an image they consider "blasphemous."

Of course, I look for things that I either agree or disagree with, too, so I'll share mine from the article Tyler's professor wrote:

[M]any conservatives believe in "spontaneous order," that is, if people are simply left alone, they will spontaneously figure out how to make the best of things. Adam Smith's "invisible hand" that somehow guides everyone's self-interest to the benefit of all, is an example of this ideological commitment.

This Candide-like idea that we are all (almost by definition) living in the "best of all possible worlds" is completely contrary to the message of the Gospel, which teaches that men must CHANGE their natures when they accept Christ into their lives. If a world filled with "natural men," filled with lust and greed and worse, could be brought in line simply by an "invisible hand" or "the market" or other mere human forces, why would anybody want or need to seek out the message of the Gospel? To paraphrase the Federalist Papers, if men were angels the Gospel would not be necessary.

Christ's message is one of change to the very core of what it otherwise means to be human. Of course it is radical. Whether that has any impact on one's political beliefs I will leave to others.

I saw and liked The Motorcycle Diaries. If I have time later, I'll try to find what I wrote about it at the time and post that.


Those are inaccurate definitions.

Look at this argument over social security. Who's trying to cling to the past? And who's trying to reform the system to make us more free?

why is it blasphemous?

I agree somewhat with the article, but I definately don't agree with the picture. Why? Because Jesus Christ was not a gun toting radical fascist reformer, that's why. The thought that Christ would support Che is absurd.

btw. Has anyone seen Motorcycle Diaries? I heard it's pretty good and was just wondering if anyone saw it already.



Yes, I do feel its important to get people to join me in wanting to build a better world. If you feel that you can do that by convincing them that God is on your side, then by all means feel free to pursue that route. However, for me personally, I prefer to argue that my political stances make the world a better place. To each his own.

I feel obliged to point out that I have read page after page after page of postings on this forum from both Conservatives and Liberals who claim God is on their side. But I have yet to see someone suddenly change sides upon realizing he has been in league with Satan. On the contrary, I strongly suspect that the resolve of one's political beliefs is only strengthened when one is told by an opponent that one is employed in the work of the Devil. After all, if I know I am an upstanding Christian gentleman and my opponent claims I am not, doesn't that just prove my opponent is a complete idiot?

I agree with you that lately the right wing has been awfully annoying in this respect. Like you, I'm getting pretty sick of being characterized as un-American and un-Christian. But I won't be goaded into adopting their tactics simply to provide "balance". In my opinion, your professor makes a mistake in doing so.

el jesus

Jesus Christ was not a gun toting...

guns didn't exist then. jesus instead used volcanos, landslides, tsunamis, tornados, etc. to liberate the poor from the oppressive nephites and implement his commutarian political and economic system.


he was very radical (i almost feel like one of those 'skateboarders for christ' when i say that)


i do not know enough about che guevara to if or how much of a fascist he was. so i can't comment too much. however, if we follow wordnet's definition of fascism as:

n : a political theory advocating an authoritarian hierarchical government

then maybe they would both fit in the same camp.


if anything, reformer is an understatement for both jesus and guevara.

i haven't seen the motorcycle diaries yet. i heard it was good, but it felt like it needed a sequel. as if you were watching fellowship of ring, but there were no two towers or return of the king.