What would Jesus vote?
Sanne van Oosten
As a political scientist this is a question I have toyed with for a long time. Every devout Christian has asked him or herself what would Jesus do? But I wonder, what would Jesus vote? My American friends might wonder if he is a Democrat or a Republican, but I’m much more curious as to what he would have voted if he was a Dutch citizen. The Dutch political system is much more diverse as it counts 10 political parties in the current parliament. Let’s assume Jesus voted, which political party would he have voted for?
The most controversial party of the Netherlands is probably the Freedom Party, PVV, by Geert Wilders, mostly known for their critical stance towards Muslims. Even though Jesus was quite critical of the ruling religious leaders of his time, one could hardly call the Muslims of today the ruling religious leaders of our time. Only a small percentage of the Dutch population calls themselves Muslim and these people are usually part of the less powerful class of Dutch society. Jesus probably would not have been very much bothered by them. Moreover, he might have even renamed his story about the Good Samaritan, the Good Muslim.
One party I can rule out is the Christian Democrat Party. The CDA has proven to be pretty much anything but Christian. Last year they decided to set aside their principles in order to be part of the current government. They decided to work together with the earlier mentioned PVV ( which also applies to the creepy fundamentalist and sexist SGP). Trading principles for power isn’t really Jesus’ cup of tea, I think. This trade-off has proven to be of no benefit to the CDA since they’ve never had less virtual seats in the polls. Well then, what about the cute, family oriented ChristenUnie? Nope, Jesus was far too sensitive to standing up for the oppressed minorities of his time, therefore I think he would have stood up for the sexual minorities, i.e. homosexuals, of this time.
I can also pretty much rule out the largest party of the Dutch parliament, the fiscally liberal VVD. Why? Easy. “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Luke 18:25)”. Since the VVD still wants to keep mortgage interest deductible (hypotheekrenteaftrek) they are contributing to making the rich richer. Therefore, this is a big no for the VVD.
The socialist party (SP) seem like a safe bet. Jesus was all about supporting the weaker individuals of society. However, they are against the pension reform, thus passing the rising costs of keeping these laws afloat on to the younger generations. Since Jesus was about 33 when he died, he could have never been for this. For the same reason he could have never been for the labor party PvdA. This party is against labor reform, thus keeping old people in their jobs and keeping young people from finding new jobs. Not something a person in his thirties would be for. The green party GroenLinks and the party of my personal choice, D66, could have never been Jesus’ choice either, since he would have never condoned the prolongation of the Dutch role in the war in Afghanistan. Jesus was a pacifist. Also, these four parties are not progressive and revolutionary enough. Jesus cared about those who are forgotten. Those who need extra attention.
Therefore, I think Jesus would have voted for the Animal Party. Yes, the Netherlands has a political party devoted to the rights of animals with 2 of the 150 seats in the parliament. Partij voor de Dieren recently tried to pass a law banning ritual slaughter, since it is unnecessarily painful to animals. This law opposed many religious leaders of both Jewish and Muslim conviction. Jesus was a rebel. He rose up against the religious leaders of his time and stood up for the weakest and unheard members of his society. And in this time I think that might just be animals. Most people don’t believe they need help, and I think, if Jesus had lived today, he would have been the one telling the world that animals need to be treated with more love and care. Also the animals we eat on our plate. Besides, wasn’t he born in a stable surrounded by animals?