Jesus Politics: Why Christians Should Vote For Barack Obama – By Josh Shope



The third guest post in the Jesus Politics synchroblog comes to us from Josh Shope. Josh is a husband and an architect in Charlotte, NC. He did his penance for voting in Obama in 2008 by seeing a ton of posts in support of Sarah Palin from his friends on Facebook, back when Sarah Palin was a thing. Make sure you follow Josh on Twitter.

I have a confession to make: I’m a Christian and I like Barak Obama. I voted for him in 2008 and plan on voting for him again this year. I like what little I know about him as a person, and I think he’s been a pretty good President. Overall, I think he’s been the kind of President I thought he’d be when I voted for him last time. So that’s where I am on Obama in general. More than that, though, I want to tell you why I think Obama is the best choice for Christians.

First of all, I think Americans should vote. Tripp York will write convincingly tomorrow about why you shouldn’t vote, but I think people should exercise one of the really great rights we have in this country, one of the rights a lot of other people don’t have, and go out and vote. I also think this election is an incredibly important one, and I don’t think this is the time to be “making a statement” by voting third-party, as Candace wrote on Monday (although I will admit that in an ideal world, I actually think Jill Stein’s politics align most closely with Christianity, and the internet tells me that my own politics align most closely with Stein’s). I think the current state of this country requires making a choice between two very different candidates in Obama and Romney.

The first reason I think you should vote for Obama is because of his economic policies. When I read about Jesus in the gospels, I see someone who was concerned about the economics of his culture and the economics of the Kingdom of Heaven. I see someone who sided with the poor, the hungry, and the in-trouble over the rich and well-off every single time. I see someone who was concerned with feeding and healing the poor and outcast of his society. And I think Obama’s policies do a better job of that than Romney’s do. Obama gets money from rich people and is as indebted to them as anyone else in national politics, yes, but there is a stark difference between his ideas and Romney’s. While independent studies realize that the only way for Romney’s economic plan to work is for taxes to be raised on exactly the people who need lower taxes, Obama has already lowered taxes on those people and plans to pay for his budget by letting the Bush tax cuts expire and closing some of the loopholes that let mega-rich people claim almost all their income as non-taxable. Simple math says that Obama’s policies are better for the poor at a time when the gap between rich and poor is larger than ever.

Secondly, I think Obama’s policies on war are more Christian than Romney’s. Now, this is an issue where I’m actually a little disappointed in Obama. I’m disappointed that Obama has chosen to continue some of the terror prison programs and disappointed that he’s been so gung-ho about killing bin Laden and others. However, I realize the President knows more about national security than I do and has to make decisions I’d never want to make. So I’m willing to give him a little bit of leeway on that front. Where I do agree with him, though, and think the choice between Obama and Romney develops, is waging war. I think Obama was right to try to pull us out of the Middle East. It was an extremely costly war, both monetarily and in lives, that we never should have been in. Our being there probably helped the Taliban’s case. And even if you subscribe to the just war theory, it was in no way a just war. I also think Obama’s policies on Iran are important this election. Romney seems to want to rush us headlong into an Israeli-Iranian war, so much so that Israel’s Prime Minister is now openly campaigning for Romney. Obama, on the other hand, wants to use diplomacy and a coalition of nations to keep Iran from getting the nuclear weapons they may never get anyway. And on the Israel/Palestine debate, Obama’s two-state wish is a lot more realistic and modern than Romney’s “well, whatever Netanyahu wants me to do is cool with me” plan.

With more space I’d talk about why I think Obama’s healthcare policies are more Christian, why I think his policies will reduce abortion more than Romney’s, why I think his energy policy fits more closely with a Christian ethic, etc. Basically, you could take Obama’s position on every single issue and I could tell you why I think it’s a more Christian position than that of Mitt Romney (again, I’m comparing the two because they are the real choices in this election and their ideas will lead in vastly different directions). I could write at length about why I’m angry at Romney and the current GOP for pandering to the most right-wing Christians and changing their official stance on issues seemingly every other day. I could write about why I think Obama brings a seriousness and a deeply theological worldview to the office of the President, and while I don’t think a President should have to be a Christian I think that Obama’s theological tradition and his Christian influences help him be a better President.

But I think this election really comes down to economics and war. And I think that Obama’s positions on these two key issues fit a lot more closely with the Jesus I see in the Gospels. While I don’t believe that America is really a Christian nation or that the President has to be a Christian, I do think we have a responsibility to vote our conscience and for people who will lead the country in a way that is best for its citizens. For me, that means caring for the poor and not taking unnecessary life in warfare. And those seem like Christian ideas to me.

I’d love to discuss this more in the comments.



Jumping Into The Fray – Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts


If you agree with Josh, that Barack Obama is the candidate Christians should be voting for, then write a post about it, send me the link, and I’ll feature it here. 

If you disagree, leave a comment and let me know what you think. REMEMBER: It’s ok to argue your point vigorously, but do so with civility so your comment doesn’t disappear from the thread.


  • Mark

    Drones, ordering assassinations of American citizens, keeping secret assissination lists, and I don’t see how the poor are any better off than under any previous presidents. I voted for the guy too but he’s no different than any other president when it comes down to it.

    • Joshua Shope

      I agree with you on drones, etc. and do find that troubling. But as far as the poor, it’s clear to me that Obama’s policies are better for the poor than Romney’s. Romney’s plans are precisely why the poor are in such bad shape.

      • Mark

        Maybe Obama’s ideals are more favorable to the poor but the poor are a growing class right now, not a shrinking one. So I have a hard time falling in line with someone’s welfare policies when they’ve had four years to help the poor with worse than zero progress.

        • Joshua Shope

          I think the recession and opposition from the GOP was bad enough that nobody could have totally fixed it in four years. That said, Obamacare was passed, taxes on the poor we’re lowered, and the economy is coming back.

  • Robert Williams

    As with all decisions, my faith has also led me in support of the Obama administration. Unfortunately, we now live in a time where both candidates will make some decisions that aren’t parallel to our biblical beliefs. Rather than being closed-minded to certain scenarios, it is important for us to pick which candidate we feel can lead us into the most “biblical” future.

    As mentioned before, I too believe that the divide between classes is a major problem. The Obama administration attacks this divide by encouraging everyone to take matters into their own hands. Proper health, lowering personal debt, environmentally focused programs are all examples of how we, the people, can make the change. These changes improve the nation more than one man can…

    Finally, it is difficult for me to hear the continuous “blame” and “negativity” towards our President. It’s all in God’s plan and I feel our nation has lost track of that!

  • natepruitt

    Isn’t this the third guest post of the synchroblog? Who is fact-checking these opening author biographies?!

    • ZackHunt

      lol good catch. I’m gonna fire The American Jesus editorial board! :)

      • natepruitt

        Shouldn’t you wait until “they” are done focusing most of their energy on editing your book? :)

        • ZackHunt

          If they’re this sloppy, I don’t want them anywhere near my book. :)

  • Guest

    I work in healthcare research, we identify access issues for under-served populations and work to alleviate them. I totally agree with you. Obama DOES have positions and policies that will help the poor. Obamacare for one will be a wonderful step forward for ALL people. It will push preventative care to the forefront which will affect everyone. He’s not perfect, but he definitely cares more about the poor than Romney. Wonderfully written post.

  • Eric Blauer

    Obama is good to the poor? Really, I live, work and worship in and with the poor, working poor and prmarily the lower middle class…I’m not sure what world you are living in but the poor are not bring helped around here.

    This economy is driving people to food stamps. Medical costs are increasing, ours premiums went up 12% this year. Gas prices hurt the poor the hardest. Jobs??? Try being a refugee in this economy, wow, talk about poor. How about them taxes, mine were $1200 more this year, ouch. Food prices gouge the working poor who are not already on food stamps. How about war, guess who ends up with few options in jobless economies? The poor.

    On and on I could go.

    • Joshua Shope

      It kind of seems like you’re defending all my points for me. Obamacare will lower healthcare costs, his energy plans will lower gas prices, and his tax plans have already and will continue to lower taxes on the poor. I’m not sure where your argument with my post is.

      • Concerned for America

        Delusional if you really believe that. You are basing your argument on Obama talking points, not on the reality of people living and trying to make it in this world.

        Facts speak for themselves. “His energy plans will lower gas prices” Why have gas prices doubled in 4 years?

        Obamacare will lower healthcare costs?

        Why did my premium go up 9% this year?

        Obama’s tax plans will continue to lower taxes on the poor?

        What poor person pays income taxes- I am lower middle class and I barely pay anything due to deductions.

        • Joshua Shope

          Gas prices have doubled because other countries are charging us more for gas and speculators are driving the market prices higher.

          Your healthcare premiums went up because your health insurance company raised their prices. Obamacare is not fully implemented yet. When everyone pays into an insurance system, premiums logically go down.

          Taxes on the middle class and poor have been lowered. More tax credits, an actual lowering of the tax rate resulting in a larger paycheck which most people didn’t notice because it wasn’t a lump sum. Romney’s policies would raise taxes on the poor and middle class.

  • Greg Dill

    In most part I totally agree with your assessment of Obama. In theory, Obama and his administration seem to be more aligned with the Biblical view of how our government should govern it’s citizens when compared to the Republicans. However, with exception to Obamacare I haven’t really seen any significant change. We are still in war with Iraq and Afghanistan even though he has promised to bring our troops home. Gun control isn’t getting any tighter. There is still no leniency for “illegal immigrants”. The poor are still just as poor as four years ago. There is still no diplomacy with the Iranians. Cuba is still under an embargo. Cost of living and taxes seem to be getting higher. And, the job market doesn’t seem to be improving.

    This two-party only system really needs to change. Both the Dems and Repubs pander to special interest groups and never really carry out their promises. I voted for Bush in 2000 primarily hoping he would override/veto various abortion bills. He did nothing. In 2008 I voted for Obama primarily hoping he would end these senseless wars. He did nothing. I have pretty much given up on politics and now realize that our hope and the hope for our country no longer rests upon our government, but in Christ and His body… the church. Peace.

    • Joshua Shope

      But Obama has practically ended our troop presence in Iraq and is in the process of doing the same in Afghanistan. He has in fact ended those wars. And again I must say that the economy is improving. Obama has also given some leniency toward undocumented immigrants with his passage of the dream act. Stricter gun laws are an impossibility in the current US, an Obama definitely favors diplomacy (in his case, sanctions) over outright war with Iran.

  • RobLindsey

    I agree that Jesus brought up a lot of the things that our current President says he is concerned with but my take on why Jesus brought up economics and the poor was to change the hearts of the PEOPLE not to change the Govt. I feel that Jesus wants His people to take care of each other. Jesus did not say change the Govt and let the Govt take care of the widows and orphans, He commanded His people to do it. Why do people thing that if the Govt does this that it removes the responsibility from us, HIS followers?
    I really do not know why people feel that it is the Govt’s responsibility to take from me and give what I have worked for and earned to others. If the Govt gets out of the way of things private institutions would and can do a much better job at helping the poor.

    • ZackHunt

      I would agree with you wholeheartedly that as Christians we are to take up the responsibility for caring for the poor and not try to pass the buck. That being said, how would you say the government is getting in the way of private institutions doing this sort of work? It has been my experience working for a non-profit that, if anything, the government aides their work (through tax breaks, grants, etc.) and fills in (obviously not completely) the other places because statistically there just aren’t enough people in the country doing enough to help. In my experience, I’ve never encountered or even heard of anyone staying at home, rather than serving the poor because of any sort of government regulation. Instead, they don’t help because they don’t really want to/it makes them uncomfortable/aren’t fully aware of the need, etc.

      Along those same lines, I had a follow up question about the government taking what we’ve worked for and giving it to others. Does this only bother you in the form of welfare/food stamps/etc. or are you also bothered by the government taking your tax dollars to build roads and public schools which also serve people you’ve never met and who may not not worked as hard as you? If so, what alternative would you suggest to meet national infrastructure needs? If not, why does the government serving population needs in one form bother you more than the other?

      Thanks in advance for any reply.

      • RobLindsey

        I will tell you of some of the things that I have seen. I have seen/heard of Soup kitchens being shutdown, food pantries getting told what type of foods they can give out or take as donations. I have run a non-profit and the local Govt basically gave us a very hard time about many different things, too many to get into. I have real issue with our Govt welfare / food stamp program because there is no real incentive for those who are on it to get off of it. I personally know of a 3 generation family that is on welfare because they like having stuff given to them. They have told me why should I get off of welfare when the Govt gives me everything I need to make it day to day.

        I do not mind paying taxes as long as it is fair across the board. Everyone should pay into the tax system. Right now there are a number of Americans that get tax refunds even though they pay not any taxes.

        All in all I believe that the Govt should only do what no one else is willing or able to do. Before the Govt there were roads but they were privately owned and people were allowed to drive on them. They just had to pay to drive on them. So with that being said do I mind the Govt (local, state and fed) taking my $$$$. The answer is yes and no. I see how wasteful Govt can be (yes I used to work in Govt so I have seen it first hand), and I think that needs to be fixed. I do not think that anyone in Govt today or running for office can fix this. We as a nation need to become fed up and tell our senators and reps that we will not stand for it. They forget that they work for ALL of us not just the people with the $$$$$$.

        If I had control, I would put a flat tax of 10% across the board, no exceptions. I would cut and slash many many programs across the board. Govt had gotten too big and powerful.

        I could go on and on about this stuff but I will now get off my Soap Box.

    • Concerned for America

      Excellent Points! Christians today do not want to be inconvenienced away from pursuing wealth and happiness so they let the govt take care of the poor. I can guarantee most of the “Christians” advocating to help the poor because Jesus said to, have rarely personally done anything to help the poor.

      If every Christian went out and served widows and orphans and the poor, then we would not be having this discussion, it would be handled.

      Not to mention the poor in America are still among the wealthiest in the world.

      • Joshua Shope

        Actually, most of the more liberal Christians I know are the ones that personally help the poor the most.

      • Luke Harms

        “I can guarantee most of the “Christians” advocating to help the poor because Jesus said to, have rarely personally done anything to help the poor. ”
        Well that’s just a silly thing to say. I’ve actually found the exact opposite to be true, that those Christians who advocate for the poor are the ones making sacrifices themselves to live in community with marginalized, while those who advocate against any kind of government assistance for the poor in their political lives are similarly hostile to the marginalized in their personal lives.
        “If every Christian went out and served widows and orphans and the poor, then we would not be having this discussion, it would be handled.”
        But they’re not doing it and it’s not “handled,” so what does it say about our faith when we actively advocate against policies that empower those on the margins of society without offering a viable alternative?

    • Joshua Shope

      I used to feel the same way when I was a Libertarian. I’ve since come to the realization that 1: If there are going to be taxes giving my money to someone no matter what (the whole “that which is Caesar’s” thing, I’d rather my taxes go toward programs that help rather than hurt the poor, and 2: the government can do more to help American and international poor than the church can. It has more resources and a greater influence with other governments. It just does. So I think the government has a responsibility to help the poor just like I do.

    • Nita

      I think government does have a role to play in helping the poor. Men are greedy, that is human nature, and they get the most out of their assets that they can. If there assets include apartment complexes, they raise the rents to get the maximum they can and that leaves a shortage of affordable housing for older people on SS or the poor, including the working poor. Government can help reign in costs for food with subsidies to farms and agricultural businesses, otherwise we would be paying much more for food staples. Feeding the hungry is also a way to prevent crimes like theft and is just the right thing to do. The churches cannot do it all themselves and I would rather my taxes go to helping the poor than into the pockets of billionaires through coporate welfare or into building more bombs.

  • Concerned for America

    Days after taking office, President Obama issued a memorandum overturning the “Mexico City Policy.” That policy prohibited groups that performed abortions with non US aid funds from receiving any US aid funds. President Obama stated that the ban was too broad and that it undermined voluntary family planning.
    On January 22, 2012, the White House issued a press statement noting the 39th anniversary of the Roe vs Wade decision. That statement asserts that abortion is a “fundamental constitutional right”, and abortion is a private family matter, and that we must ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams. These statements were heavily criticized by pro-life groups as similar to previous remarks in which a baby was seen as punishment.

    Further Obama has advocated for Abortion on demand regardless of stage of pregnancy or ability to pay or support a pregnancy.


    You make lots of sweeping generalizations and pie in the sky statements in this article, but I find it amusing that you included virtually no facts.

    • Joshua Shope

      Obama’s healthcare and welfare policies do, according to independent studies and common sense, lower abortions because they lower the “need” for abortions among the poor. Studies show Romney’s plan, on the other hand, will actually likely cause more abortions because of that same self-described need

  • fredshope

    I would disagree that voting for a third party candidate is not the right thing to do. It’s up to the individual, but I cannot, in good conscience, simply vote for the lesser of two evils. I’m not real sure there is enough of a difference between the two major parties to make a real difference, no matter what is said by their leaders. I’ll admit that I’m a bit conflicted, because I believe that as a citizen of the kingdom of God my task is the same regardless of who is president. Yet I still will vote, because it is a privilege that most people on earth don’t have.

    • Joshua Shope

      Dad, I’m fine with people voting for a third party. For me, though, Romney’s policies are actively dangerous towards the poor and actively violent, and I feel that Obama’s are not. My conscience tells me I should vote to try to help Obama win, because I feel his policies on these issues are good and because the alternative is, to me, anti-Christian.

      • fredshope

        Josh, if you believe Romney’s policies are anti-Christian then you should definitely vote for the one you feel can win.

  • Shawn

    Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but not at the tip of a Roman spear…

    • Joshua Shope

      You mean the Roman spear Jesus willingly surrendered to? Or maybe the Roman sword Jesus caused Peter to surrender to when the soldier in the garden had his ear healed?

  • Ty

    Hi josh, please explain why you think Obamacare will reduce abortion. This is one of the things that im having a hard time with when it comes to Republicans. Please help me understand. As a Christian i het criticized for voting Democrats because of abortion issue but I dont want Romney because of his constant lies…

    • Nita

      Contraceptives are covered by insurance under the ACA. Contraceptives are usually not covered, especially for women, under most health insurance policies. Ironically, Viagra and other drugs that help men keep having sex are covered under most health insurance policies.

    • Joshua Shope

      Nita explained it pretty well. Contraceptive coverage would reduce the number of abortions. There is also the idea, which makes sense to me, that if the poor have a better life they won’t feel the need to have an abortion, so Obama’s economic policies would lower abortion rates as well.

  • Jay-Pee

    Josh, I was very disappointed with you post. Instead of an in depth look at issues, where the candidate stands and how that lines up closer with what we believe Jesus would be doing, we got I believe He is more christian than the other guy in his views. I already knew you thought that, so where’s the substance as to why? Ok, that rant is over….here’s my real question. Do you believe that, as Christians, to rely on a government to meet the needs of the poor rather than the Church is a way of taking God’s power and “gifting” to the government? This is how I see it. I would even go a step further and say that I view government programs such as welfare to just be a more modern form of slavery. The poor are caught between a rock and a hard place. They need the help, the Church is too busy doing other things, so the only place to turn is the government. So they enroll into a program where if they aspire to do better for themselves they are penalized. On the other side, you have the middle class enslaved to a tax code to pay for the government’s enslaving the poor. The reason, it seems, anyone wants the “rich” to pay more taxes is so the government can attempt to have more control over them. I believe we are in a very dangerous spot as a country and I don’t hear many solutions from either side.

    • Joshua Shope

      With a limit of 1,000 words I wasn’t able to get as in-depth as I wanted to or could have.
      To answer your question: I never said we should rely on the government rather than the Church. I only said that the government has a role to play. And I don’t necessarily disagree with you that welfare can be a form of modern slavery in some cases, but I think you have to look at socioeconomic policies as a larger issue to see what candidate ultimately would reduce or grow reliance on welfare. I see Obama’s policies as a way to actually reduce dependence on the state.

  • John

    So you can vote for a man who supports abortion? How on earth can any Christian vote in support of murder? There is no “on the fence” as a Christian, either you support murder or you do not! Same as voting for Obama is voting for an accessory to murder who watched and left our people and military out to dry (Libya). Sickening.

  • Pingback: Why Christians should vote for __________. | Near Emmaus()

  • Bradm

    Isn’t every election an incredibly important? By that I mean we hear this every 4 years … “now’s not the time to waste your vote on a 3rd party because we can’t risk so and so being in the White House at such an important time.” This happens perpetually. Voting for the best candidate isn’t “making a statement,” it’s just what it is – voting for the best candidate. It’s too bad we don’t have instant runoff voting, then this wouldn’t be an issue.

    Whether you like Obama or not, aligning his policies with the “Kingdom of Heaven” and calling his policies more Christian than Romneys. Not when he’s killing civilians with drones, not when he kills US citizens in the name of fighting terrorism, not when he’s prosecuting whistleblowers, not when he’s promoting an infinite growth economy, not when Guantanamo is still open, not when the defecit is still where its at, not when he plans to cut social security, not when he brags in the debates about how much drilling he’s done or how much pipeline he’s laid, etc., etc. The list goes on and much of this has already been mentioned, so I’ll stop.

    I’m fine with people arguing that he’s better than Romney but let’s not fool ourselves into attaching the label of “Christian” to his policies or the things he’s done.

    • Joshua Shope

      He has policies that aren’t Christian and policies that, I think, are Christian. I gave you a couple that I think are Christian policies and why I think those policies earn my vote. No candidate running for President of the modern US is ever going to be wholly Christian.

  • Pingback: Jesus Politics: The Wrap Up()

  • Star

    I can’t believe I just saw this….Obama supports partial and full birth abortion..have you ever seen a video of this…the mother starts to give birth to the baby and as part of the body is out of the mother, the doctor sticks a needle into the baby’s brain and sucks it out. This is healthcare and women’s rights for Obamacare. As a health professional, Obamacare is a joke. It does not help people focus on prevention but rather gets them dependent on pharmaceutical prescriptions and expensive therapies that keep them more dependent on the system. This system supports sucking the brains out of the babies. Watch the videos on youtube sometime. It’s pretty disgusting.

    He also supports same sex marriage. As a doctor, it is medically verifiable that the baby can feel the pain during this horrific process. It is murder.

    Yeah Mormonism is a cult…but at least Romney does not support killing children and same sex marriage. You may help some of the poor, but you murder innocent children in the process. I’m not saying Romney is perfect but murder is murder. In our community the poverty rate has increased over the last several years. There is no help to the poor but only more unemployment and welfare.

    Regardless of other policies or platforms Obama supports, these two issues right here absolutely disqualify him. If I were to say that Romney supports abortion and same sex, he would be ostracized by the christian community. A true Bible believing Christian cannot support those positions. They are completely contrary to the word of God.

    We need to come back to the truth of God’s word. But we have to do our part. Things are not going to just happen. We have to rise up and say it’s wrong. We are not going to support our tax dollars going towards abortions and same sex marriage. It’s an abomination and we need to repent of this and turn back to the God of the Bible and stop watering down comfort Christianity in this country.

  • dheckman1

    Josh, Jesus was
    very clear on why He came. He did not come to eliminate poverty, or hunger. In
    fact, He was clear that the poor will “always be with us”. He came to
    seek and save that which was lost – He came to save us from our sins. The
    Christian act of giving is not about the recipient, since they are in unending
    supply. The act of giving is about the heart of the giver. Otherwise, Jesus
    would have extolled the virtue of poverty and sanctified “receiving”. Having the government reallocate funds has
    nothing to do with the giver’s heart. In fact, it hurts the significance and
    relevance of the church in our world today…which really seems to be part of
    the plan. The more you take from people who are givers, the more you hurt their
    ability to give. It really doesn’t
    matter if the money does wind up in the hands of the needy (which is
    questionable). More overtly, Obama has
    proposed capping the charitable tax deduction. When I give money to my church,
    after the cost of the church and staff, that money goes directly into
    charitable work. When I give my money to the government, it goes into bailing
    our banks and auto manufacturers. When Obama raises the taxes on the providers
    of goods and services, that cost just gets passed down to the consumer;
    therefore, his policies are hurting the poor. Gas and food prices are already
    at all time highs. According to the census bureau, one in six people in
    the US now live in poverty. The gap between poor and rich is now at a
    two-decade high (since the last tax happy administration). A record percentage
    of women now live in poverty. While this does give us Christians more people to
    give to, we unfortunately have less to give them.

  • DG

    Obama’s administration has caused the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent, unborn babies. He promotes the gay lifestyle and endorses Islam. how a Christian can even consider voting for this man is way beyond me or any other bible-believing Christian? Are all American evangelicals so gullible? I think they would vote for the anti Christ as long as he had a good economic policy! Mainstream evangelicals will be a complete push-over when the end times come.