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Bernie Sanders and my mom

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I gave my mom a Bernie Sanders shirt in June and she told me that she wasn't sure who was getting her vote but it was probably not going to be Bernie as she is not a proponent of gay marriage.
Then, last week she wrote me an email letting me know that she had made up her mind and it was going to be Bernie Sanders. My mom is a practicing Christian and has always been about giving back to those in need so when she heard Bernie talk, she heard a man speak from his heart. She emailed me the speech he gave at Jerry Falwell's Liberty College AND she emailed me something an Evangelical Christian had written on Reddit. (My mom's on Reddit?!) See the Letter at the end of this blog post. It's a pretty good argument if you are an Evangelical Christian and are on the line about who to vote for.
Buy This Bernie Shirt and Support Bernie

Bernie has my vote, even with Biden (whom I also like a great deal) in the race. Mostly because I know how very passionate Bernie is about the disparity in the distribution of wealth and I know he will do everything in his power to fix this injustice.

Bernie reminds me of Jose Mujica, known as the World's Poorest President, when he was the leader of Uruguay. You can get him on a shirt too because I'm weird like that...making shirts that no one buys. FYI, this is not a good biz model. 

It does something positive for the soul to see this smattering of good men about. How can you watch the People's Pope out today in our 'United' States and not feel your heart warm.

Although I still don't have a shirt of Pope Francis, I did make one of St. John Paul II giving benediction. It's also not a big seller. I don't know why.

Biblical Argument for Bernie, submitted by Jim, the Evangelical Pastor

Hi my name is Jim. I am the guy who recently posted onto Reddit under the 

Sanders4President Subreddit that I’m a Liberty University Alumni, and that I support 

Bernie, and think that he’s a good spokesman for justice.

I thought I would take a second to, sort of, unpack that, because I could tell there’s a lot 

of people, both Evangelical conservative folk and more liberal Bernie-supporting folk, 

who are very confused that I could occupy both worlds. So, I thought, I’ll take a few 

seconds and explain myself, and maybe that will be helpful for the conversation.

So a little bit about me. I am not a current student at Liberty. If I was, I actually wouldn’t 

have been able to post onto that Reddit board and say that I’m supporting Bernie. There 

is an Honor Code at Liberty University, and while it’s not always enforced, if you support 

a candidate who is pro-choice or pro-gay marriage, you can be punished by the 

University, up to and including expulsion from the school. So as a graduate of Liberty 

University, I’m in a good position to represent folks that might go there and people from 

the Evangelical tradition, but not be within the world that they can, you know, punish 

me for my opinion.

So I got my Bachelors degree in Religion from Liberty University, and I also got my 

Masters degree from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy. In 2004 I 

worked for the George W. Bush campaign. I spent about 8 years as a Conservative 

pastor. And also as a schoolteacher at a conservative Christian academy. And today I 

serve my community as a therapist and also a pastoral counselor, somebody that folks 

from churches might go see to get counseling whenever they want to see somebody 

who’s both a clinical counselor but also a pastor.

So I serve all those roles. I think I’m pretty much a card-carrying Evangelical Christian. I 

still subscribe to a conservative evangelical theology. And what that means, a lot of 

people get confused when they hear the word ‘conservative,’ they assume you mean 

politically. ‘Conservative theology’ means that I believe the Bible is trustworthy, I think 

that God inspired it, Jesus was absolutely real, and really died on the cross, and really 

did resurrect three days later; and I am an Evangelical Christian in that way.

So, how did I come to find myself supporting Bernie Sanders? How did that evolution 

take place? How could it be that in 2004 I was working for the George W. Bush 

campaign, and today in 2015, as a double Liberty University graduate, under Jerry 

Falwell—when I went to school, Jerry Falwell was the Chancellor—how is it that I could 

be now supporting Bernie Sanders, who’s a very progressive, very liberal guy; he 

describes himself as a ‘democratic socialist.’ How do I find common ground on those 

two things?

Well a lot of people I think falsely believe that in order to do that you have to give up 

one of your sides. Either you have to not really be a progressive, and you’re just an 

Evangelical who just likes Bernie, or you have to not really be an Evangelical, and just 

secretly be a Progressive who’s faking it and pretending to be an Evangelical, but 

wouldn’t actually pass the litmus test of being an Evangelical.

I pass both tests, I am very much 100% legitimate in both camps, and I want to explain 

why that’s not a mythological thing, that’s not a disconnect. Some people call that a 

contradiction, or hypocrisy, it is absolutely not. I believe that my views are 100% 

consistent. And so I think that the shock value for that comes in beginning to appreciate 

that the Bible and Jesus, in my opinion and in my very moderate reading of the Bible 

and the words of Christ, leads us to a Progressive worldview. And that is shocking to a 

lot of people, especially folks back home in the Evangelical community, they hear that 

and go, “What are you talking about? That’s heresy—“ it’s like, hold on. Hear me out. 

There is a Biblical argument for voting for Bernie Sanders, believe it or not, and I’m 

gonna walk you through it really quick on some key issues. 

So that first issue that I’d kind of point your attention to is kind of what Bernie brought 

up during his speech at Liberty. Basically, the wealth inequality problem—and see a lot 

of us, on the Evangelical side think that what Jesus really cares about is gay marriage 

and abortion. And of course, the great irony is if you read the red letters of Jesus, there 

are no statements on abortion. There are no statements on gay marriage. Now, that’s 

not to say the Bible doesn’t speak about these things, but it certainly is to say that Jesus, 

founder and master of our faith, did not see fit to make these high-priority topics. It’s 

not to say he doesn’t care. But it is to say that we need to be careful not to ‘major on 

minors.’ We should be focused on the things Jesus did talk about. 

So what did Jesus talk about?

So here’s the interesting thing. When I was watching Bernie Sanders talk at Liberty 

University, I was just really shocked, and something kind of magical happened for me, 

because as I watched that guy stand up on that stage, here’s what I saw. I saw a wild-

haired Jew crying out in a hoarse voice, in a very forceful and forth-speaking way, he 

was convicting the Christian leaders and religious leaders in that University and calling 

us out for being complicit in the abandonment of those who suffer: “The least of these.” 

And siding with the powerful and the rich and the masters of this world. And he was 

convicting us, and calling us out. And we scorned him, and we stared him down, and 

with sour faces we thought, “Who is this whacko? And why do all these people seem to 

follow him, seem to like him? This wild-haired Jew, crying out from the wilderness of the 

political Left, in his hoarse voice?”

And if you’re an Evangelical listening to me today, you already know where I’m going 

with this. When I heard Bernie speaking in that way, when I saw that guy on stage at 

Liberty University, I saw John the Baptist. I saw the wild-haired, roughly-clothed John 

the Baptist, eating honey and wearing camel’s hair, and crying out to the religious 

leaders, the Pharisees of his day, calling them corrupt and complicit with those who 

have all the power and all the money and all the wealth, and for abandoning the people 

that God loves, that God cares about. For the Pharisees, who were siding with those 

who already have power and wealth and saying that they will be the last in the Kingdom 

of God, and that the weak, and the meek, and the simple, and those who need 

help—they are first in the Kingdom of God. 

And I saw that guy, that John the Baptist figure, who is standing up and saying “There is 

coming a messenger, there is coming a messenger who will bring equity and justice to 

the poor, and to the weak, and who will stand for ’the least of these.’” That’s the wild-

haired Jew that I saw up on that stage. I saw, and felt, the same voice coming from the 

Bible when I read about John the Baptist, who cried out in the desert to the Pharisees, 

warning them that Jesus was coming, the messenger of God. And that he was coming to 

restore justice, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and to value ’the least of these’ 

when the Pharisees had failed.

And as I heard Bernie talking, and as I listened to his cries for justice, I remembered, 

suddenly, what Jesus had actually said in the Book of Luke, when he unravels the scroll 

in the synagogue, and he quotes the Book of Isaiah, which says that the Son of God was 

coming. And then he says, “This has been fulfilled in your presence here today.” He 

quotes the book of Isaiah which says that the Son of God is coming to bring justice, and 

Jesus says “it is now come to pass in your presence.” And he says, “I have come to bring 

Gospel to the poor.”

Gospel—is that word we Evangelical Christians have based everything on. Gospel means 

‘good news.’ And Jesus said “I have come to bring good news to the poor.” To restore 

sight to the blind, to stand with the suffering, to set the captives free, and to proclaim 

the year of the Lord’s favor. 


As I heard Bernie Sanders crying out to the religious leaders at Liberty University, in his 

hoarse voice, with his wild hair, this Jew, and he proclaimed justice over us. He called us 

to account for being complicit with those who are wealthy and those who are powerful 

and for abandoning the poor, ‘the least of these’ who Jesus said he had come to bring 

good news to. And in that moment, something occurred to me, as I saw Bernie Sanders 

up there, as I watched him I realized: Bernie Sanders, for President, is good news for the 

poor. Bernie Sanders for President is good news for the poor. Bernie Sanders is Gospel 

for the poor. And Jesus said, “I have come to bring Gospel—good news—to the poor.”

And lightning hit my heart in that moment. And I realized that we are Evangelical 

Christians, that we believe the Bible. We believe in Jesus. We absolutely shun those who 

attempt to find nuance and twisted and tortured interpretation of scripture that they 

would use to master all other broader interpretations, to find some kind of big message 

that they want to flout. We absolutely scorn such things. And yet somehow, we commit 

to the mental gymnastics necessary that allows us to abandon ‘the least of these,’ to 

abandon the poor, to abandon the immigrants, to abandon those who are in prison. I 

listened to Bernie Sanders, as he said he wanted to welcome the immigrants and give 

them dignity. As he said he wanted to care for the sick children, and mothers, and 

fathers, who do not have health care. As he said he wanted to decrease the amount of 

human beings who are corralled like cattle in the prisons. As he said he wanted to do 

justice for those who have nothing and live homeless. And I remembered the words of 

Jesus, who warned his disciples that there will be judgment, and on that day he will look 

to his friends, and he will say ‘Blessed are you, for you cared for me, for I was naked and 

you clothed me; I was sick, and you cared for me; I was hungry, and you fed me; I was 

thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was in prison, and you came to visit me; I 

was homeless, and you gave me shelter.” And the disciples said, “Jesus, when did we do 

any of those things for you?” And he said, “If you have done it for ‘the least of these,’ 

you have done it for me.” 

And those words echoed in my heart. As I listened to that crazy, hoarse-voiced, wild-

haired Jew, standing in front of the religious leaders of the Evangelical movement, 

calling us to account, as a Jew once did before. Telling us that he intends to care for ‘the 

least of these.’ To clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to care for the sick, to set 

the prisoners free.

Yes. I am an Evangelical Christian. I believe in the Bible. I follow Jesus. When I look at 

Bernie Sanders, and I hear the things that he’s saying, it’s like he’s ripping them out of 

the pages of scripture. I would have to try to avoid the meaning of those words. I would 

have to bury my head in the sand to continue to support conservative policies. I am 

religiously conservative but I am not politically so. And I think here is the heart and soul 

of it:

When we chose to follow Jesus, we decided that the Kingdom of God, and the men and 

women and children of this world, were more important than us. And that accidentally 

made us all liberals. The day we decided to follow Christ, and the day we decided that 

we value other human beings more than ourselves, we accidentally became liberals.

And so there is no contradiction between being a Bible-believing Christian and a Bernie 

Sanders supporter.

I follow the teachings of Christ: to care for ‘the least of these.’ And I believe that just as 

John the Baptist once cried out in the desert for justice, and called the religious 

establishment to account, and hearkened unto the day that Jesus would walk among us, 

and declare equity and justice and good news for the poor; and just as that day came, 

that Jesus stood in front of the multitudes at the religious institution and said “I have 

come to bring gospel to the poor,” I believe that Bernie Sanders now stands in front of 

us, wild-haired and hoarse-voiced, and he now declares justice for the poor. He declares 

good news for ‘the least of these.’ He has come to bring gospel. And I wouldn’t be much 

of a Christian if I didn’t stand on the side of gospel for the poor. Because the last time I 

checked, that’s where my master Jesus stood, and I’ll stand with him. And for now, that 

means I stand with Bernie Sanders.

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