"Christ would not vote for Barack Obama because Barack Obama has voted to behave in a way that it is inconceivable for Christ to have behaved," Keyes said. ... Keyes' assessment of Jesus' voting intent was only partial. He declined to say whether he thought Jesus would vote for him or some third party candidate if he had the chance. "People will have to make that judgment for themselves," Keyes said.To begin with, I'm repeating a few of my comments from the Tavis Smiley interview. On CNN on August 15, 2004 Keyes said:
I have never based my public and political views on any claim to "speak for God."So, yet another Keyes change of opinion, or, dare, I say flip-flop? Then, I wonder, can my Jewish friends still vote for Obama? As a Christian this comment makes me so unbelievably livid. I just can't believe that someone would be so arrogant as to say who Jesus would, or wouldn't, vote for. Or maybe Keyes is truly crazy and hearing voices these days--that he thinks is God's voice. I can't believe that someone like Keyes is around pretending to represent Christianity. I grew up a part of the religious right, but even I knew that Christianity was about compassion, grace, kindness, forgiveness. Or let's check out the "fruits of the spirit" in Galatians 5:20: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." That's what Christianity is supposed to represent--not a crazy, judgmental man telling me who, or who wouldn't, Jesus vote for. So, now I know, I'm getting close to pulling a Keyes and getting pretty judgmental. But I'm just angry and I'm not happy with this hijacking of Christianity and the use of Jesus' name to attempt to further one man's political, or media, career. The Bible in my house has tells stories of Jesus eating with the sinners, even when ridiculed for it. Stories of Jesus caring for the poor. Stories of Jesus healing the sick. Why does Keyes not care about any of those things politically? So, to come off the soapbox for a moment, there are some pretty serious differences in the interaction of religion and politics to be discussed here. I've been intending to address them, as the historical and theological differences are fascinating. In other words, what should the interaction between personal religion and public life be? Or should religion just be "personal" or is it intended to provide public guidelines? Stay tuned.