Spirituality for Today – November 2012 – Volume 17, Issue 4

Candidate Jesus

By Rev. Raymond Petrucci

A photo a button that reads Candidate Jesus

Depending on when you are reading this article, the elections of 2012 either have or have not been completed; its winners and losers decided. As always, religion and Christian social issues played a part in the decision of the voters. Pundits and strategists labored long and hard to win the Catholic vote, or the Evangelical Christian vote, or some other faith-based vote for their candidate. The candidates and the manifestations of their political machines stood before the inquiring electorate. The work of those who chose to cast their votes this year was to try to discern who among the candidates possessed the political and moral outlook that concurred with their own, at least for the most part. Each candidate professed to be best equipped to remedy the current problems and to raise the status and dignity of the nation to its former heights. Anxiety and cynicism on the part of the voter abounded. Historically, one need not look back very far to find good reason to be dubious regarding the veracity of a political promise.

How comes it that trade is too often disguised cheating?
Law, chicanery? Medicine, experimental manslaughter?
Literature, froth? Politics, a lie? And society, one huge war?

– G. Ludlow (1848) Politics for the People, A Christian Socialist Weekly

Mr. Ludlow expresses the lament of many a citizen over the state of societal affairs. One hopes that the citizenry and those who lead them are men and women of character – not characters.

An election year occasions a collective examination of conscience. The inhabitants of the country reflect on the ideals and values that all wish would define the national character and will. All wish to be considered a people seeking justice and peace, nurturing a general concern for the national good, and providing an equal opportunity for prosperity and contentment. In order even to dream of such high-minded goals, the reality of a conscience, formed in earnest, favorable to these sacred ideals must be operative in the will of the populace. Otherwise, an insouciant lowness overshadows the land and commands the morality of the people.

The preservation of liberty depends upon the intellectual and moral character of the people. As long as knowledge and virtue are diffused generally among the body of a nation, it is impossible they should be enslaved.

– John Adams

The teachings of Jesus Christ have dwelt in the very fiber of all that has been understood as being American. It is the political and social expressions of these values that fashioned a resolute and irrepressible hope in the very souls of countless immigrants coming to our shores. The light held above by the powerful arm of the Statue of Liberty is truly a beacon inviting all to enjoy the life created by that Judeo-Christian ethic alive in the body politic. Even those of a different faith or of no faith can live the dream, but all are well-advised to ponder the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, "Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first, the most basic expression of Americanism." In a manner of speaking, the voter desirous of the best in America was searching for Jesus the candidate.