During the last presidential election, in 2016, I was walking up a stairwell in my office building on the college campus where I teach. A colleague, seemingly out of nowhere, asked me: “But seriously, Tim, who would Jesus vote for?”

It was an odd question in the sense that we had not been talking about the election. I was merely walking to the main office to retrieve my mail and probably thinking about my next class or a current research project. But my colleague had clearly been thinking about the election, and he knew me to be a Christian, and based on that assumed I was voting for the candidate he opposed. This made him angry, and I became the convenient target for what he considered an evangelical to be.

About the writer: Tim Penning, Ph.D., is a professor and writer. Find more of his commentary on his Pier Points blog: pierpoints.wordpress.com.

(2) comments

John T. Job

I agree with your assessment that was a poor way to frame the question in 2016 about which imperfect candidate Jesus would prefer. That framing was just to create an argument and trap. We knew so little about how Donald Trump in 2016 so a lot of people voted for the imperfect candidate they did not know, rather than the imperfect candidate they knew a lot about. In 2020, we had considerable information about both candidates.

I too was raised as a Christian and believe in God. But I do not believe that God acts in ways to save us from ourselves. We have free will is what I was taught. Without it, we would all end up in heaven.

My belief in God and the free will I have, forces me to be concerned about being a good steward of this earth. My faith forces me to face what science tells me is happening to our earth. Science is not the enemy of God. There seem to be plenty of people who believe that science will eventually prove there is no god (or if you read Stephen Hawkins, that science has already proven that no creator is necessary). I don't agree!. It is just as likely that science will eventually prove the existence of God. We have only begun to understand the physics and chemistry that make our universe run.

The God that I believe in works over millions and billions of years. In time frames that challenge our understanding. There are so many things we as mere humans still have to learn and discover, which God set in motion when time started forward. I believe God gave us this earth to discover, enjoy and challenge us.

I have to be concerned about being a good care taker of this earth for myself and the next generations. Science now tells us that the atmosphere can't continue to be our endless dumping ground or it will adversely affect the life choices of future generations. God gave us all the easy energy sources to dig out of the ground so our industry/technology could raise humans out of the basic survival mode. We now need to move onto the next energy sources that ensure a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. They deserve to live full and satisfying lives just like us!

John T. Job

Resident of Grand Haven Township


I appreciate many points in your comment, but I do have to rebut your statement that in 2016, "we knew so little about Donald Trump....". The fact is that there were reams of information about Trump readily available online and in books. There were many articles written about him during the campaign season that gave many instances, going back decades, that showed him to be a failed businessman who no longer could get a loan from US banks because of his many failures, a crook, conman, a grifter, a sexual predator, a serial adulterer, and an entirely godless man. These facts were all readily available to those who were willing to do a little research, to those who took their duty as citizens responsibly. That is why Trump began his propaganda campaign of "Fake News".....he knew gullible believers would trust him over the facts about who he really was.

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