Or so we are sometimes told. But is it really true? Almost the definition of the left, certainly the modern left, is the denial of God. And even if God is allowed he is assuredly not the Father. Moreover Jesus taught that his kingdom was not of this world. This is a picture so far at odds with a leftist position, which ever seeks unrealisable utopias in the here and now, that really nothing more need be said to make clear that Jesus and the left have very different priorities.
But there is a lot more. We can set aside the point that Jesus's aims were purely spiritual and there are still no grounds for the statement made in the title of this piece. For a start, Jesus emphasised sin and the need for repentance, hardly a left wing preoccupation. He taught forgiveness but this was wholly dependent on turning to God. Its benefits were not to be handed out to everyone regardless of the state of their soul or whether they admitted their fault in terms of being a sinner or not. The forgiveness of sins demands acceptance of full individual responsibility and is not offered as a natural right.
The statement that Jesus was a liberal or leftist is meaningless anyway. There was no such thing until a little over 200 years ago. To make this claim is to project a contemporary ideology backwards to a time when it didn't exist and wouldn't have made any sense to anyone even if it did.
But again, let’s ignore that and assume that you can transport Jesus from 1st century Galilee to the 21st century West and quickly run through some of the reasons why people say he would have sympathised with the left of today.
They say he was a rebel who was against tradition and the establishment. The truth is the opposite. He was for tradition. He said "I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, I have come to fulfil them". That's pretty clear. He deepened and expanded the Law but he built on what came before. He did not seek to destroy it and build something new. That's not how God works. And the only establishment he condemned was the corrupt establishment of the day which went by the letter rather than the spirit of the law, and who exalted themselves over God. Besides, against the establishment? Jesus was the true establishment.
The protagonists of this point of view like to claim that Jesus belonged to the ‘live and let live’ fraternity, and didn't judge or condemn anyone. I don't know where they get this idea from. Well, perhaps I do but it's a distortion of his real teaching. Jesus told us not to judge because he knew the human tendency to go in for self-righteous criticism of others rather than look to oneself. This does not mean there is no right or wrong. No judgement means no truth. It means everything is relative, nothing is better, nothing is worse and, eventually, nothing is even good and nothing is bad. This is the antithesis of what Jesus taught. He constantly condemned the sinner and the unrighteous. He even threatened them with hell and destruction. But what he didn't want was for us to use the shortcomings of others to excuse or ignore our own, or to condemn with hate in our hearts. Certainly he loved the sinner but he was ruthless in his denunciation of sin. The leftist affects to love the sinner and, as a result, excuses or denies sin thereby leaving the sinner mired in his sin. If you really do love the sinner, as Jesus did, you seek to release him from his sin not encourage him in it on the spurious grounds of non-condemnation. That's not love. It's complicity in sin. Jesus admonished the crowd chasing the woman caught in adultery but he did not stop there. He told the woman to sin no more.
Liberals mistake being nice for loving but what is the greater love, that you support someone walking over a cliff or you turn him back? Love does not confirm someone in their errors but directs them towards the truth.
Next, the liberal tells us that Jesus was all about peace and love, and therefore he would support us rather than the war-mongering hate filled right. I’m sure that Jesus would not condone either war-mongering or hate coming from any quarter but it cannot be denied that he specifically said that he did not come to bring peace but a sword. That he would set husband against wife, daughter against mother and so on. Of course, Jesus taught peace and love but not peace and love on any terms, not fake peace and love. He taught real peace and love which can only come when you walk in the light of spiritual truth and give your heart to God, the living God before whom the liberal refuses to bend the knee.
Jesus did not teach equality. We may all be one in God but not as individual men and women. He recognised and respected tradition. He was not a revolutionary. That was Judas, the man who preferred radical politics to religion, the same Judas who ostensibly wanted to sell an ointment used to wipe Jesus’s feet and give the money to the poor. But what does St John tell us about that? “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and took what was put therein.” If anyone ticked the left wing box it was surely Judas.
I'm not claiming that Jesus was what we would today call right wing but the concerns of traditional religion are surely closer to what he taught that those of the contemporary left which actually oppose them at many points, most specifically with regard to the centrality of God.