rebelling against low expectations

Is it right to make jokes about politicians?


LAURA WRITES: So politicians are the butt of many jokes. For example, “In Chicago last year, it was so cold, the politicians all had their hands in their own pockets!” or “Q: How do you know when a politician’s lying? A: When his mouth is open.”

As Christians who are to “give proper respect to authorities,” is it right to joke about politicians as a whole? What about specific politicians (e.g. “How many so-and-so’s does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”)? What about the government in general? Can we make fun of them (e.g. “The Government Can” by Tim Hawkins)?

Please don’t turn this into the place to post your best politician jokes — it would be easy to do, but we have to Do Hard Things, everybody.

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  • This is a REALLY good question….one I’d never actually thought much about! So, I’m going to share some thoughts, but other commenters, PLEASE add to what I have to say!! Here are a couple things I know for sure, and a couple thoughts:
    I think this is somewhat of a gray area! I mean, if it’s wrong to make political jokes, then is it wrong to make blonde jokes?? etc. Where is the line that we draw? I don’t think God is against us having fun and laughing! In fact, laughter is a good thing! But what jokes are and are not okay? I unfortunately don’t have an answer, but here are two things I know for sure!
    1) Step One: Is the joke Clean? we don’t need to go around making inappropriate, foul jokes about people; not that you, or any of us are, but that is one thing I would for sure say. If the jokes being told are foul, then we shouldn’t participate. but where DO we draw the line?
    2) Step Two: What Is My Attitude? I think one important thing to think about is, “what is my attitude when I make/participate in these jokes?” “Is my attitude one of disrespect? Or one of simply trying to have fun and make people laugh?” I know for a fact, if the attitude behind the joke is one of hatred or simply being rude, then it is probably not the best thing to say! My parents tell me ALL the time, “It’s not always WHAT you say that’s the problem, it’s HOW you say it!” Your attitude drastically affects the innocence vs. guilt of what you say. In the Bible, two boys made fun of Elijah, and were eaten by a bear immediately following the incident…it would be interesting to know what their attitude was behind their remark…..
    I don’t feel like I’ve been much of a help at all…. These are probably things you’ve already thought of….And I apologize that I don’t have an answer for you! I’m actually interested to see what other people have to say as well!! This has prompted me to think a lot!!! I’ll be praying about this and see what God reveals to me! =)

    • I agree that the attitude that the joke was made in makes all the difference. Christ did not come so that we would have no fun and follow all the rules, but that we might have life. A good natured joke among friends is not a problem, while abusing someones reputation or campaign is wrong.

  • Hmmm…interesting question. I think it probably isn’t okay. Like you said, we do need to respect authority. And, remember, when that verse was written, the authorities were corrupt, persecuting Christian, many times for enjoyment.
    However, a good joke that isn’t necessary ‘making fun of’ might be okay. It just depends.

  • I think it probably depends on the joke, and as Megan said, the heart attitude behind the joke. If the jokes are being told in a disrespectful way, then it’s most likely not something we should participate in. If it isn’t clear, I’d say err on the side of caution and don’t participate at all.

  • Ooooooh. Good question.
    I’ll echo what people have already said, and say that it does depend on a few things. Your heart, or attitude really shouldn’t be spiteful. God told us in His Word to respect authority, and some jokes are certainly not respectful or honoring. Do I think that Tim Hawkins “The Government Can” Is a sin? No. I guess i don’t. What i’m trying to say is we just need to be careful. Would you say the “so-and-so” joke if Jesus was in the room listening to you? (He is, by the way.) Our attitudes toward politicians should primarily be of respect, even when its not easy.

    • Now you have to say more than just crack jokes, Mr.Ninja! We know you saw this… give your opinion!

      • If you insist… others have said it before. The Bible doesn’t specify what we can and cannot say about politicians. So, that leaves it to personal conscience (the answer to an enormous percentage of these DQ’s). In my own opinion, you can crack a joke while still remaining respectful, which is the Biblical command. I joke about my dad to him and the rest of the family, but everyone knows I respect him. He cracks them right back at me, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect me. So, the point is the attitude of the heart!

        • Good point (about the dad jokes). This is basically where my opinion comes from. Most people who have a chronic problem of making jokes about politicians don’t respect or honor their authority. It is simply fact that a lot of politicians are cheap and are, sadly, caught up in lies, but so are many movies stars and regular Joes! Some times I come upon the perfect time to reference a politician in a ring of jokes that I can’t help it…..but I do the same with many others. My attitude as a whole is, while not agreeing with a majority of politicians, one of respect for their God-given authority.
          As far a “Government Can”…well, we can’t deny that it is basically a compilation of facts put to music, right?

  • I think you shouldn’t, because even if you aren’t doing it to be disrespectful, it can be taken as such. And we are to be good witnesses to other people and being/being seen as doing something disrespectful can harm the witness.

    • I love it too, which is most of why I submitted this DQ. 🙂

      But totally off topic, you know how we were talking about unruly hair? I’m visiting my sister for a while, abd while I’m here she’s cutting my hair so it will curl, and she’s showing me how to work with it!! Shes the only one who really understands my hair… 😀

      • That’s great! I finally found “my cut” Its a short, stacked bob. It works great for me since it lets my hair lie flat, with a wave. And It’s easier to cover a up a bad hair day!! So once you find your look it’s time to start playing with colors! It’s great your sister is doing that, is she a stylist? And frankly, I pay no attention to politics whatsoever. I probably wouldn’t know who was president if my parents didn’t make me watch the presidential inauguration 😛

        • Great! I don’t plan to change colors, but now I get to play with what I like to do to it. 🙂 No, my sister just had hair very similar to mine for a few years, so she knows how to make it do stuff. She has four younger sisters, though, so she’s almost a stylist anyway!
          Your parents make you watch the inauguration? Poor girl! I know politics because my family discusses them around the dinner table often. And in general we’re pretty opinionated, so we’ll debate them, too. I’ve learned my politics! 🙂

          • That’s great! I wish my younger sister would let me do her hair, but she hasn’t ever since I accidently burned her with a flat iron, oops! And no one ever understands a hair type, unless they have the same kind. And whenever my family discusses politics (I have some very opinionated new Englander family members) it’s my cue to either leave, zone out, or fall asleep. 😛

          • Oops! I did the same thing to my younger sister… a few times. O.o
            I see… you’re like my younger sister! She doesn’t appreciate politics discussions very much, she’d much prefer to talk about things like how to do hair and art. 🙂

  • I think it is important to take into account

    Rom 13:1 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”

    1Ti 2:1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 1Ti 2:2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior

    We may disagree often if not always with people in government/authority but it is important to respect them because God has allowed them to be in those positions. Because of these scriptures, I would definitely not make jokes/make fun of them…

    Jesus made Himself subject to men in authority who hated Him and wanted to kill Him.

  • Great answers there. What I dislike about these politician jokes is the underlying attitude they reflect. As some of us have said, they often show a disrespect for the authorities – one which, as Christians, we need to avoid. What’s behind these jokes is often (although not always) the implication either that “If I were in politics, I’d do a better job” (which few of us would), or else that the political system is a farce. And this cynical attitude toward democracy could be a gross way of ignoring the privileges that we have.

    That said, I’d have to say that every political system is going to be bung to a certain extent. When people are flawed, government by the people is going to be flawed as a result. But really, should we be making fun of this? Or should we instead be prayerfully considering our politicians in the hope that God could use them somehow to help our country? (I think we know the answer.)

    Wow, this comment sounds incredibly essay-like and serious! 🙂 Of course, it’s good to laugh – but “there is one kind of laughter, and there is another” (Alan Paton). So I guess this was a really long way of saying – as many have pointed out already – that we should use the classic test: WWJD?

  • In my opinion, we should respect them but remember that there is only one thing in this world that will last, our souls. And if we feel like making fun of politicians is bad then don’t do it. It’s like alcohol, some people believe that it’s bad, others don’t.

  • my friends and a joke a lot about our current president, but shouldn’t, and i don’t think it is right beacause GOD put our authority of any kind where they are, so we should respect them.

  • I personally don’t think it’s a good idea. They do have a position of authority, and the Bible does say to honor those in authority (or something to that effect). The attitude conveyed in making jokes is rude, and sometimes mean and I don’t think that behaviour is acceptable in Christians. That’s just my opinion though, everyone has their own standard for things like that

  • I think that it’s alright, but you have to know when to stop. It’s ok to crack a joke about it every once and a while, but you can get carried away, and that’s when you need to stop.

  • This is a tough topic especially considering the decisions our supreme court, president, and politicians have been making lately. An occasional joke is okay, but I think we should be careful to not stereo type all politicians in our jokes. I like jokes that are a little bit more specific to a person and issue; political jokes and cartoons can really get the point across when used tastefully! (P.S. I really like Tim Hawkins “The Government Can” song.” He used humor to point out a really big issue.)

  • *I apologize for this random use of Disqus to ask a question not related to the DQ*

    Is anyone going to the GARBC (general association of regular Baptist churches) National Conference this week? Nobody? *cricket chirps*

  • I don’t know if that’s the right question tbh. It’s a good question, ‘is it ok to make fun of politicians’ but I’m wondering is it ok to make fun of some people and not others? Or maybe, is it ok to make fun of anyone?

  • Mocking anyone is truly foolishness. A joke should never be made at anyone’s expense. Love, patience, and mercy are far better alternatives.

    As a side note: @disqus_N3wyQSXW1f:disqus has the right idea, selective morality really makes no sense at all.

    PS: For the best answers, see the Bible. 😉

  • I think that humor is fine, as long as it doesn’t show or cause disrespect.
    For exsample, often I wioll make a joke at something my father or mother has done, and we all laugh because we understand that there is no disrespect. With all respect to @disqus_v7zgvL3EXD:disqus the Bible supports my point. God does not tell us do be a bunch of droll fuddy-duddys. He allows us to enjoy things like Humor. However, attitude is key. If a joke is mad from wrong attitude or a disrespectful mindset, then it is wrong.

    • I’m with you Judson; it’s all about the attitude! I agree that mocking is never a good thing, but you can still have a good sense of humor and have perfectly good intentions.

  • I don’t really think there is a problem with making a joke about anyone — God being a Spirit, doesn’t count. That said, there are some jokes that don’t paint uplifting images to ANYONE around. Those should be avoided altogether. 🙂

    • Thank you Judson; I really appreciate that 🙂 Have you ever heard about Student News Daily? They are a conservative website with news articles and political cartoons geared towards highschoolers. I really like their political cartoons because they are always trying to make a point and they do so respectfully.

  • I believe it is ok to make fun of bad political choices, as long as you completely understand the pressure the politicians are going through

  • I would say no. The Bible says to respect them; that God has given them the position. Why do we make jokes about anyone, politicians or not?
    Speak the truth, but do so IN LOVE.

  • This is a tough question. I often joke about politicians because of the ridiculous choices they make. I’ve always been very politically aware, and I’d even like to run for office someday. For me, it is very hard not to get riled up about some of the stuff going on today.

    With that being said, I think we should take about people like they are in the same room as you.

  • there’s actually a proverb (26.18-19) that says something like ‘like a madman shooting firebrands and flaming arrows is the man who is cruel to his friend then says ‘I was only joking’.

    • Yeah I know that’s why I put that in my comment 🙂 it’s pretty convicting. But I couldn’t remember where to find it. Thanks for the reference!

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