Who Would Jesus Vote For? A Redemption Church Small Group
Date: October 29th, 2012

Visit our Facebook Fan Page to see how this group of evangelicals are planning to vote in the 2012 presidential election.

Scholars have long known that religious belief and practice plays a salient role in determining one’s voting behavior.  Those scholars have relied upon opinion polls and statistical analysis to flesh this out, though rarely do we get a glimpse into the actual thought process of how religious folks think about their politics.  In this very unusual podcast, we open that “black box” to listen in on how a group of sixteen evangelical churchgoers and their pastor talk about politics with a presidential election coming up.  These folks belong to Redemption Church in Duvall, WA (a church featured several times on this show), and they are participating in one fo the church’s “small groups” (or “regroup”) known as Theology on Tap, wherein interested church members gather in a local bar, drink beer, and discuss some heady theological issues.  The topic for this evening’s discussion was “Who would Jesus vote for?”  The conversation defies a typical linear narrative (as do many small group discussions), so we won’t provide one here.  However, become a “fly on the wall” to this exchange of ideas and be prepared to hear some interesting and suprising statements from the congregants.  The participants hit on topics ranging from whether an evangelical can conscientiously vote for a Mormon, to figuring out what constitutes “moral” issues as compared to “policy” issues, to why white evangelicals vote differently than African-American evangelicals.  One of the members even makes the bold claim that Jesus would vote Republican, though he himself would vote Democrat.  Hear the surprising justification for this that harkens back to the economist Simon Kuznets!  Near the end of the discussion (at about the 57 minute mark), Pastor Matt Boswell claims that Jesus wouldn’t vote for anybody, but for use regular folks that is a cop-out for not voting, to which an audience member agreed.  Listen in to how this evangelical dilemma is resolved, with the most profound answer of the evening coming by one of the participants at the 1 hour and 7 minute mark. If anything, this will disavow you of your notion that all rural evangelicals are just a bunch of dumb hillbillies.  Or maybe not.  The discussion is passionate, but at the end they all raise a glass and proclaim their true love for Jesus, their church, and one another.  Go to our Facebook Fan Page and “like” us to find out the poll results of how these backwoods evangelicals are planning to cast their vote and possibly for a little discussion of what happened at the “after party.”  Special thanks to the Duvall Grill and Tap Room for hosting this event and allowing us to record.  Recorded: October 16, 2012.


 Redemption Church website and Facebook Page.

Duvall Grill & Tap Room.


Gerald de Maio on the Electoral Religion Gap.

Corwin Smidt on Religion, Elections, and the God Gap.

Ken Wald on the Puzzling Politics of American Jews.

The Redemption Church podcast series.  (Learn about this fascinating church, the spiritual home of your host.)

4 Responses to “Who Would Jesus Vote For? A Redemption Church Small Group”

  1. Tate says:

    This particular podcast seemed pretty ridiculous. I’m about 34 minutes in and I’m not sure I want to finish it. Like an audience member said, it is full of false dichotomies. Moral issues and policy? Voting to benefit the US vs the world? The speaker seems to know so little about economics that it is embarrassing for evangelicals. Ron Paul is presented as a “nationalist” because he doesn’t want to bomb other countries, even though nationalists are typically militaristic and want to intervene militarily in other countries. That the speaker would then go into US vs. the world is puzzling. Wouldn’t the cessation of bombing countries benefit both Americans and foreigners alike? Wouldn’t free trade benefit both Americans and foreigners alike?

    It seems like the speaker actually thought somewhat out of the box when he voices the notion that he questions whether Jesus would vote for anyone, yet says anyone else claiming this is a “cop out.” No consideration at all is given that the State is force and therefore immoral. It is taken as given and, frankly, morally relative. He talks about being “anti-war” as if it’s some sort of preference, not a mandate for Christians.

    I’m glad that they take the time to have the discussion. But I certainly hope other episodes of this podcast are far better.

    • tonygill says:

      Well, this was an interesting experiment to take a peak inside of a church’s “small group” to see how actual congregants — not academics — view the relationship between their faith and politics. In many ways, this is what anthropologists do in their fieldwork — sitting in on a “culture” and just observing. If it sounds ridiculous, then the world of small groups might just be ridiculous.

  2. Tate says:

    But some members of the small group seemed quite sensible. It was the pastor who said most of the things I found to be ridiculous.

  3. tonygill says:

    Well, that’s the world I live in! It is wacky, wild, and wonderful!

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