Arrogance: Blaming your ideas on Jesus

Illustration from a book in 1890.
Illustration from a book in 1890. | Source

Did Jesus have politics?

What I think is an odd trend is for folks to ask: "What would Jesus do about…?" Some reach the point of silliness and usually assume that Jesus will go along with their political views. That I find to be rather arrogant.

One of the oddest questions is “what kind of car would Jesus drive?” If they got an answer, I suspect it would not be the answer they were fishing for. The inference is the Lord would drive whatever kind of car they approve of. I wont try to speak for God but to judge from his life as described in the New Testament I suspect he would be fairly practical in terms of the use of material things Assuming he would be pursuing the same kind of work he did to make a living as he did in the Bible he would be in the building trades. Now what kind of vehicle would a carpenter or mason drive? My guess is a pick-up truck or a van of some sort to accommodate tools and supplies.

I just saw a nun on television claiming that Jesus would support government medical plans. My understanding of the Bible is that Jesus did not get involved with politics. He said that we should leave the business of government (Caesar) to the government. Did Jesus consider health care the business of government? Certainly the founding fathers would not have done so. The nun claimed that the Bible calls for us to look out for our neighbors, but does that mean the government. I think the Bible calls for us to look out for our neighbors; I don’t see that they meant government i.e., Ceasar should do it. Possibly the church should, which has largely been the case in the past.

You may not remember the phrase “let George do it”. It meant that people instead of taking responsibility for things such as social action would say, “let George do it.” The Actor Danny Thomas, who established the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, when he was alive, often supported the “Christopher’s.” They were a non-denominational a religious organization based on the idea of getting good people involved in various public activities. He did this as an actor by playing in their stories. In one such play he appeared as a Al Capone type character who chomped on a cigar and introduced himself by saying “Hello, I’m George.” The message was to get out and do things that need doing— let George do it.

I don’t think that nun had it right The church used to do the good works of running hospitals along with church related organizations, such as Knights of Columbus or Lutheran Brotherhood who were established to provide insurance for people who did not have access to it at one time.


Jesus and humility

If the government takes over and we let “George do it” it will want religious hospitals that oppose abortion to provide abortions or go out of business. A problem that Catholic charities has already faced.

Another nun, one I remember from grade school told us that the church would never accept federal aid to education because than the government would tell them what to do. She was wrong about not accepting Federal aid, but I’m afraid she was right about the results. Do we think that the same won’t be true of health care, as well as other programs where government overreaches its mandate?

The Bible is often used as justification for welfare type programs, I think because the early Christians sometimes lived in small groups and shared possession. However, what resulted is that some people didn’t want to do any work. The communities decided that if you didn’t work, you wouldn’t eat.

I recall the words of Thomas Merton shortly before he died. He said that his experience shows that communism only works in small groups. I think Jesusunderstood that government should stick to what government justly has a right to do. One of these is to establish a constitution. Another is to limit the federal government to do only those things that cannot be done otherwise.

At the same time the churches should not be too involved in the business of secular and government entities. The people in Jesus time wanted him to be a political leader. Although he was technically crucified as a political (and church) traitor—the real motive, I believe was his refusal to do the political thing on both fronts.

For those who feel Christianity supports a collective answer to economic problems I recommend the following book: The Church and the Market, A Catholic defense of the free economy. By Thomas E. Woods, Jr. I think there is much of interest in the book even for those who are not Catholic.

No PhotoThe Popes of Rome .. Their Church and State in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth CenCurrent Bid: $76.43COMMUNITY, STATE, AND CHURCH THREE ESSAYS BY KARL BARTHCurrent Bid: $4.99Religion and the Public Good Church State & Religious Freedom Bicentennial ForumCurrent Bid: $6.00

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Comments 33 comments

Bill Kinghorn 7 years ago

The answer to "What would Jesus do in this situation" would, I think, have Jesus point out that a Christian could not be the situation at hand.

Government has followers as do religions and they believe it to be more honestly and effetively dedicated to doing right.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

From the government standpoint the constitution calls for limited government, especially federal government. Unlimited power leads to totalitarianism.

wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors

These are some interesting thoughts. I am wracking my brains trying to decide what kind of car Jesus would drive. You deserve many many more fans.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thank you. I tend to write about things that interest me, I'm never sure how much it will interest others. By the way, we are going to your part of the country for Thanksgiving with some relatives in Texas. First time I'll have gone west in nearly 50 years. I hope I have time to take some pictures.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I meant that far West, we did take a camping trip to Denver about 20 years ago

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Excellent hub and good points clearly made. Our Federal Government is getting way too big and too many people now work for the government instead of private industry. It is definitely getting top heavy.

Did you enjoy your trip to Texas? Going to write about it?

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Peggy W

Thanks for reading and I appreciate your comments.My liberal friends disagree on this issue, but we did fight a revolutions to get away from intrusive government.

Our trip to Texas was delayed due to some medical problems. We hope to make it before Spring. Texas seems to be getting a bit of our weather now. The folks we were going to see reported that the temp was down in the 30's last week.

Teresa Laurente profile image

Teresa Laurente 6 years ago from San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.

Hello there dahoglund, this is a realization and wake up call. As for me, using Jesus' name in vain is not an option. If I see, hear, read things that relays mockery and disrespect for him and to mankind, I would question the person's values in life. There is a fine line of distinction between arrogance and meekness. So, if a man jokes about the very person who died for us is a plain and simple ugly truth of his/her own true self revelation.

Thank you for this great sharing. More power.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author


I don't understand those who think that religion should endorse their political views. I think it is our responsibility to care for each other and not "let George do it." I know others disagree.

GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Your philosophy on the federal government reminds me of one of my favorite heros - Thomas Jefferson. Very well written - thanks for the recommended reading - will have to check it out.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for reading and commenting.I think you might find the book interesting, I did.

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

I have a bumper sticker inside my car, for my own edification that says, "How would Jesus drive?" The reason I have it is that I tend to be subject to road rage! :D It is a nice reminder to me to behave in a Christ-like manner while I am driving, and I have found it helpful!

I found it quite ironic that, one day I came back to my car after doing my shopping to find an angry, hateful, accusatory (un-Christlike) note under my windshield wiper informing me (among other things) that Jesus does not drive, He walks on water! LOL!

I found it rather astonishing that this "Christian" took the trouble to look inside my car and comment on my note to myself!

Although, I am a Christian, I agree with Ghandi, for the most part:

"I like your Christ. I don't like your Christians!"

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Reminders are good. I used to have a St. Christopher statue for much the same reason.Thanks for commenting.

2patricias profile image

2patricias 5 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

This is an interesting hub!

It makes me think about 3 things:

1. Those 'what would Jesus do?" wrist bands. Tricia and I disagree on these. I think they are silly but Tricia thinks they should not be taken literally. She says they are meant to serve as a reminder about one's general way of thinking.

2. Jesus and driving. Here in the UK many Christians put a fish symbol on their car. When they first became popular I thought they were a good idea to show solidarity, but Tricia disagree. She said that if I put a fish symbol on my car and then drove in an agressive manner I would be a bad advertisement!

3. Healthcare. I don't understand healthcare in the USA. However, across Britain the original hospitals were set up by religious groups.

This is an interesting Hub, and Tricia and I could probably write 3 Hubs in response - if we had the time.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I appreciate you comment and the information. What led to writing this hub was my impression that the "what would Jesus do" in some cases was a bit of self righteousness and that they knew what Jesus would do. The concept was OK until it started getting applied to politics and pet causes.

American Hospitals to a large extent were, like yours, set up by religious organizations. Local communities also, I believe, started hospitals. Many still are religious and the reason so many bear names like St.Joseph. St Mary's etc.One of the objections some of have is that a nationalized health plan as being pushe on us in the US would hamper these. Such as requiring performing abortions.

AskAshlie3433 profile image

AskAshlie3433 5 years ago from WEST VIRGINIA

Your hub makes some good points. I have a question, when the nun said that about Jesus, is that not a sin? I would consider that using his name in vain. Even though it is just health care, it is still making the judgement that he would support a certain cause. She doesn't know that. I might be wrong. It is just how I see it. Great hub.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I highly disagree with her but to give her the benefit of the doubt she probably believed it. in that case it would not be a sin.Historically Catholics have tended to be democrats as I was growing up. I have some differences with my own pastor on some of these subjects.

Whereas it may not be a sin, I think it rathe arrogant.

Thanks for commenting.

ruffridyer 5 years ago from Dayton, ohio

I believe the real question should be;What would Jesus Want me to do?;. The only way to know that is scripture study and prayer.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

That would be the right religious question. However, the people who ask the questions I refer to hava a politcal motivation.Thenks for commenting.

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

da, somehow I missed this interesting examination! Did St. Francis work with the poor and consider it his spiritual duty? I think there are those who feel called to work with certain populations and I respect their dedication and commitment.

As for the government, I guess there is a large contributions deduction from the IRS that encourages giving, while making it financially appealing. Who suggested tithing? I need to look that up. Sometimes I wonder if tithing includes charitable contributions or only gifts to church-- when presented within the religious community.

Certainly, Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. So, however you interpret this, it is considered the greatest commandment and probably the bottom line in my life. Therefore, it influences the way I vote. How could it not?


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I believe tithing includes all church and charitable giving.I also think that tithing does not have to be money. In the bible,I think, it was a portion of their crops.But working in a soup kitchen,for example, could be a part of ones tithing. I am always a bit cautious when politicians start talking religion, although I have nothing against public prayer. However, when they make references to the Bible they often have it wrong.

One problem with the government doing the charitable work is that then the government chooses which are worthy.

Thanks for reading. You bring up some point to think about.

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

da, I agree. I think separation of religion and state is a good thing!

Legislating charitable contributions in the way of IRS deductions might also be a good thing, as it encourages giving. But would folk give anyway? I wonder.

Often this IRS deduction means that the government ends up sanctioning what individuals consider worthy, as these contributions go to those non-profits selected by individual Americans. The wealthier these Americans, the larger their contributions to the church of their choice or the athletic program their kid is involved in or the arts council in their local town.

So, indirectly, the government subsidizes what benefits the wealthy, right? This occurred to me as I commented back, but it appears logical.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I have no problem with income tax deductions.As far as the wealth, I don't think George Soros would give to the same non-profits as Donald Trump. i also think the small contributions given by ordinary people may well match or exceed those given by the wealth.

One thing I did find out is one should be careful where you donate as your maney may go for things you do not approve of. When I worked for the government we had a yearly fund drive for "United Federal campaign" if I recall rightly.I used to just give some money to it without designating what organizations should get it. I found that there were some that I totally disagreed with, there fore I found I had to designate which ones would get my money.

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Da, I believe studies have shown that the percentage of contribution to income may be higher for the poor but the actual amount donated is less, i.e., 10% of a billion is quite a lot more than the combined efforts of ordinary people giving 20% of a couple million.

My point about tax deductions was not political.

I agree with you regarding cautious contributing. It occurred to me the other day that those who put organizations in their wills may some day roll over in their graves, lol.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I personally don't go by the 10%. My feeling is to give what you honestly feel you can afford.In the bible they were in an agricultural economy and asked to give 10% of their crop.In my opinion, that is different than giving the same percentage of ones salary.

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Did they take taxes in those times? I have wondered this on occasion. Was this their contribution to the masses? Or was tithing tied to the church for its work in the world, specifically? Who originated the idea of tithing? This would make an interesting hub. I am full of questions and empty of answers. Thanks, Da. You are making me think, which I appreciate always.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I looked in the book "A New Catechism" which I believe was a catholic Catechism after Vatican II and did not find tithing.I also checked "The oxford Companion to the bible" and found nothing in the index.In"The New Compact bible dictionaryI found tithe, a tenth part on ones income set aside for ...government or ecclesiastics.Origin unknown but goes back before Moses.Mosaic law required tithing of all produce of land and herds.

If you do a quick search of the internet you should find more.

I think to the Jews church and government were the same, except that they were a captive state of Rome, so there was a clash of values between their own and that of Rome.

The Jews known as Zeolots were expecting a warrior savior to lead a revolution against Rome. Jesus didn't fill the the role.Judas, I think, was a zealot.

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Interesting research! Thanks, da. I have been busy today planning a road trip to Cambridge, MA via Minneapolis where I will visit family, fyi. So I will be in your fair country soon... Have a great day. I will Google tithing.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Have a good trip. The hot weather has hopefully past.

Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

I agree with you that churches should not be too involved in the business of secular and government entities.

The problem comes when the political parties try to use religion to gain more votes in the election.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I think churches have a right to influence government but it should be done intelligently. I agree with you that politicians use religion to get votes.It is odd how they sometimes preach about separation of church and state and then go to some kinds of churches to campaign.

Thanks for commenting.

missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas

Great hub and a very interesting comment feed.

Eye-catching title...I'm not big on seeing religion stirred into politics. However, we do need to be reflective as humanitarians. Unfortunately, the true agenda of many politicians has tarnished the sincerity of others.

You mentioned a couple of catholic books on your comment feed. You probably already know this, but I thought I'd share - if I may. There is a book titled, Catechism of the Catholic Church. This book is a great resource. There is an interesting piece of history involved with the creation of this book. Pope John Paul II commissioned this book back in 1986 and he chose Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to chair the process. Ratzinger had the primary role in creating the draft. Ratzinger has long been known as an avid and steadfast theologist (theologian?). As you know - Ratzinger was appointed as successor to Pope John Paul II and is now known to the world as Pope Benedict. (if you locate the book you can find the information on page 3 - The Process and Spirit of Drafting the Text)

Thank you for sharing a thought provoking hub and allowing me to add to my comment - enjoyed it

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Hi missolve,I always think it a bit arrogant that people assume Jesus might endorse their political view.I guess my own interpretation is that Jesus was not a political Savior.That is what the Jews were anticipating but he said his kingdom 'was not of this world."

I did have the book you mention but gave it to my sister who,for some reasons asks me religious questions, although she spent more time in catholic schools than I did.

Thanks again for commenting.

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