Politicians court religious voters. That’s a given. Many claim their positions directly reflect religious values. In this series on “God & the Presidential Candidates,” we’ll take a look at some of the candidates’ sound bites and talking points, and see how they compare with Judeo-Christian values rooted in the Bible.
Chris Anderson takes the first look, comparing Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump on the issues of Gay Marriage, Foreign Policy/Immigration, and the Women’s Rights.
“Feel the Bern” vs. “Trump Nation”
- “Of course all citizens deserve equal rights. It’s time for the Supreme Court to catch up to the American people and legalize gay marriage.” – senate.gov
- “I am for a marriage between a man and a woman.” – MSNBC
- “They (gays) should not be able to marry.” – Des Moines Register
- “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” 1 Corinthians 7:9
The Bible actually doesn’t say anything about Gay Marriage, as such a thing did not exist historically. Marriage has evolved greatly on many fronts since Biblical times (legal age of consent, marriage between siblings, marrying slaves and polyamory for instance), and so what we currently have today is not really a reflection of marriage in Biblical times. The case could be made, however, that Paul is saying here that it is better for one to be married if they have sexual desires that would otherwise cause them to have anonymous/casual sex.
- “Well, the United States has a lot to be concerned about, you know, and we should be concerned, absolutely, about the Assad regime. We should be concerned about ISIS. We should be concerned about the terrible poverty that exists in Africa and parts of Asia, but we should also be concerned that in America, our middle class is disappearing, that we have more people living in poverty than almost any time in the history of this country …” – NPR
- “My own view is that if we’re going to be successful in defeating this brutal organization called ISIS, what needs to happen is that the people in the region – the Muslim nations – are going to have to take the responsibility of leading that effort. It cannot be the United States of America.” – NPR
- “Despite the central role they play in our economy and in our daily lives, undocumented workers are reviled by many for political gain and shunted into the shadows. Let me be clear about where I stand. It is time for this disgraceful situation to end. This country faces enormous problems and they will not be solved unless we are united. It is time to end the politics of division on this country.” – Washington Examiner
- “I would bomb the hell out of those oilfields. I wouldn’t send many troops because you won’t need ’em by the time I’m finished.” (a question regarding how he would deal with ISIS) – CNN
- “End birthright citizenship. This remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration.” – donaldjtrump.com
- “We’re going to keep the families together. We have to keep the families together, but they have to go.” – NBC
- “Jesus replied:‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39
- “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;” Isaiah 61:1
On the foreign policy issue I would say that neither of the candidates really fit in perfectly with The Bible. Bernie Sanders wants to concern himself solely with issues here in America and Donald Trump seems to have a solely militaristic view of how we relate to other countries. On Immigration … the verses from Matthew seem pretty clear.
The Rights of Women
- “The decision about abortion must remain a decision for the woman, her family and physician to make, not the government.”– Huffington Post
- “There is no rational economic reason why women should earn seventy-eight cents on the dollar compared to men, and that has got to change.” – PoliticsUSA
- “I’ve evolved on many issues over the years. Do you know who else has? Ronald Reagan evolved on many issues. And I’m pro-life.” VOX
- “If they do the same job they should get the same pay. But it’s very hard to say what is the same job.” – Reuters
- “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
- “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” … Jesus said, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” … When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11
The Rights of Women is certainly an interesting issue to discuss in terms of The Bible. In that period of time women generally did not have equal status. Jesus however took on a very different way of being with women than what was the norm in Biblical times. He had many female followers, he performed miracles on women, he carried on discussions with women. In the passage listed above Jesus is basically championing the rights of a woman against those who want to punish her according to the letter of the law.
Abortion is a surprising Biblical issue since there is actually no mention in the Bible of it. In the same way that many gays and lesbians might argue, “If homosexuality is a sin then why didn’t Jesus ever address it?” The same can be said about abortion. It is never mentioned at all, even though Jesus, the disciples and all the way back to Old Testament writers knew about it. Whatever stance any of us has on this issue … it is not something that The Bible sheds light on specifically.
The Bible may not have a lot to say about equal pay for women, however in Genesis it does say that men and women were created equal (“in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”) That seems to be a pretty strong statement for equality!
Both candidates seem to support equal pay for women. However, Bernie Sanders is crystal clear in his support, whereas Trump vacillates somewhat by implying it is difficult to define what the same job is.
Overall, there are obviously great differences between the positions of Trump and Sanders, and voters are left to make up their own mind on who should get their vote based on the impressions fed them by the candidates.
CHRIS ANDERSON is an opera singer, songwriter/poet and author of the spiritual blog, Religion4All. The focus of Religion4All is for people of all beliefs and lifestyles to discover what a connection to and relationship with God is all about. Chris believes that God is powerful enough to guide people, and Chris’s calling is simply to help people go within and discover the beauty that is an actual relationship with God. His blog posts there have been read in 150 countries around the world.