A Response to “The Perfect Conservative” by Herman Cain

On the RedState blog Herman Cain has written a post identifying Jesus Christ as the perfect conservative.  The post is filled with misinformation in an attempt to link Jesus Christ to conservatism or the Republican Party.  In responding to Cain’s post I am not arguing that Jesus is a liberal or a Democrat.  I don’t think Jesus fits neatly into a 21st century American political party and realize Christians can disagree over politics.  This post is simply a response to a poor argument.

Cain’s post begins by asserting that Jesus “was not born into a royal family.”  But Jesus was a descendant of King David and the many kings of Judah who were also of the Davidic line (Mt 1.1-17; Lk 3.21-38).  More importantly he rules over the kingdom of God (1 Cor 15.24-25).  It would be more accurate to say that Jesus did not rule over an earthly kingdom of the type we are familiar with from human history.

A little later Cain asserts that Jesus “never condemned what others believed – just sin, evil and corruption.”  But sin, evil, and corruption are often tied up with our beliefs.  For example, if I believe that divorce is permissible in nearly any circumstance, is Jesus not condemning my belief, at least in some sense, when he says, “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Mt 5.32)?  Then there are the disputes between Jesus and various Jewish religious leaders.  For example, Jesus preached the resurrection of the dead while the Sadducees denied the resurrection (Mt 22.23-33).  The fact is that that which contradicts Jesus’ teaching is false.  Some beliefs are true and some are false.

In the next paragraph Cain writes: “He helped the poor without one government program. He healed the sick without a government health care system. He feed [sic] the hungry without food stamps.”  Apparently we are to conclude that since Jesus didn’t implement government programs that we shouldn’t either.  This overlooks two important facts.  First, Jesus was not a politician and therefore would not implement government programs.  Second, Jesus could work miracles and therefore did not need to work by normal human means.  I see nothing in Jesus’ example that rules out the use of government programs to help the poor, heal the sick, or feed the hungry.

A few paragraphs later Cain says: “The liberal court found Him guilty of false offences and sentenced Him to death, all because He changed the hearts and minds of men with an army of 12.”  I’m not sure how the Sanhedrin or Pilate can be construed as a “liberal court”.  Jesus was actually more liberal than many Jews of his day when it came to ritual purity.  There’s hardly enough evidence to paint Pilate as either a liberal or a conservative in the 21st century American sense of the terms.  Most Americans would be appalled if the average American criminal trial was like the trial of Jesus.  Both conservatives and liberals should support fair trials.

The next line of the post reads, “His death reset the clock of time.”  If this is a reference to the turning of the era from B.C. to A.D. then this is false.  It was the birth of Christ that was supposed to coincide with A.D. 1 (Jesus was actually born around 6-4 B.C.).

Thankfully a number of commenters on the site responded negatively to Cain’s post.

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3 thoughts on “A Response to “The Perfect Conservative” by Herman Cain

  1. Response to Herman Cain on “The Perfect Conservative”

    Title of this response: It is “the perfect conservatives” whom Jesus condemned most

    Herman Cain wrote:

    “He helped the poor without one government program. He healed the sick without a government health care system. He feed the hungry without food stamps. And everywhere He went, it turned into a rally, attracting large crowds, and giving them hope, encouragement and inspiration. For three years He was unemployed, and never collected an unemployment check. Nevertheless, he completed all the work He needed to get done. He didn’t travel by private jet. He walked and sailed, and sometimes traveled on a donkey.”

    So I guess “the perfect conservatives” want a government that only help the rich yet let the middle class and the poor go broke and die when they get sick; they want a government that only bailouts the bankers yet leave the working people high and dry when they lose their job; they want a government that only gives tax welfare to the rich yet let the unfortunates starve to death without even food stamps. Talking about hypocrites, this is what “the perfect conservatives” stand for.

    About the perfect conservatives who took pride in professing God’s name, this is what Jesus said:
    “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” (Matthew 23:2-4)

    To the perfect conservatives who take pride in professing God’s name, this is what Jesus said:
    “…Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. …Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. … Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. … Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? …” (Matthew 23:13-37)

    It was the “perfect conservatives”– the theocratic ruling class and religious elite of the day whom Jesus condemned in such severeness; and consequently it was they who wanted Jesus to be killed. They handed Jesus to the “liberal” Roman governor Pontius Pilate. When Pilate could not find any guilt in Jesus and wanted to release Him, those “perfect conservatives” urged the governor to crucify Him, or they would not consider him loyal to Caesar (John 19:12). Of course, the “liberal” governor did not have any backbone to stand for Jesus, as he was a worldly man, so he executed Jesus in order to appease the “perfect conservatives”….

    This situation seems still replaying today again and again–the “perfect conservative” Republicans vs. the “liberal” Democrats.

    So be careful you “perfect conservatives” when you invoke Jesus’ name. It is a serious crime to misuse God’s name for worldly agenda and political gain!

  2. grace: “Of course, the “liberal” governor did not have any backbone to stand for Jesus, as he was a worldly man, so he executed Jesus in order to appease the “perfect conservatives”….”

    Hehe.

  3. “I don’t think Jesus fits neatly into a 21st century American political party”

    I wish this were the prevailing view. It seems such an obvious fact when you lay the Bible and current politics side by side.

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