An Election Time Parable

In a time when Jesus’ nation was marred by bitter political and religious divisions, when Jews and Samaritans regarded each other with mutual distrust and disdain, he told a famous parable. Were he to tell a similar parable today, it might go something like this:

(If you identify as a Democrat, read the text as written. If Republican, read the parentheticals instead.)

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied, ‘A Democratic [or Republican] voter was going down from D.C. to his polling site in Bethesda to cast his ballot, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a Democratic [or Republican] senator was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Democratic [or Republican] representative, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Trump supporter [or Clinton supporter] while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having applied Bacitracin to them. Then he put him in the leather passenger seat of his own car, brought him to a hotel, took care of him, and arranged for an absentee ballot. The next day he paid the concierge for an additional two nights’ stay, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor and countryman to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’*

* Based on Luke 10:25-37.