When I started reading the Bible closely, I realized that Jesus wasn’t a Republican. As a lifelong reader and English major, I’d learned the significance in deeply analyzing texts, and as a grad student, I wanted to do so with the book that was the cornerstone of my whole worldview. That’s when I started to investigate the values of the government officials I had the power of electing.
I’m technically a Baptist, but denominations are less important to me than the fact that I believe in Christ. Similarly, I’m technically a non-partisan voter, which means I don’t affiliate myself with any one party. That being said, I have consistently voted Democrat in every election since I was 18. Jesus commanded his followers to give to the poor and that a rich man had as great of a chance of inheriting the kingdom of heaven as a camel passing through the eye of a needle. He told us to love our enemies and to love foreigners and refugees as ourselves. Democratic candidates often support programs like Medicaid, which makes sure that people who don’t have much money can still afford healthcare, as well as fair treatment of refugees, and other policies that generally support the largest amount of people.
In the 2016 presidential election, 75% of evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump. For a lot of these people, abortion is a key issue. Personally, I don’t think being pro-choice and being a Christian don’t have to be separate. As Christian blogger and author Rachel Held Evans succinctly summarizes: 1) voting pro-choice is not the same as voting for abortion and 2) criminalizing abortion doesn’t necessarily reduce abortion. While you might not seek an abortion personally, I believe a woman has the right to choose what happens to her body. And I know that, statistically, countries where people have access to abortion see decreasing numbers of women who seek them.
If you’re uncertain where you might fall, read the Bible to understand the teachings of Jesus (particularly in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and find out what values politicians are championing. Also, listen to what progressive Christians are saying—people like Rachel Held Evans or Jen Hatmaker, who received death threats simply for speaking out against Trump. If voting with your faith in mind is important to you, find the candidate who you believe most exemplifies those values with policy. Jesus isn’t a Republican, but I’m not saying he’s a Democrat, either.
As a Christian, I vote Democrat because I believe in protecting the rights of all people. Jesus dined with prostitutes, healed lepers, and ventured into pretty much all the “wrong places.” He cared deeply for people. There are certainly conservative values that you might say resemble Jesus and his teachings, just as you may find the same thing in liberal ideology. But that is something between you, God, and the ballot box.