PHILADELPHIA — Less than 24 hours after the Democratic Party voted to formally nominate Hillary Clinton for president, laying bare a rift between her supporters and those of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, there’s at least one presidential candidate who isn’t drawing much controversy in Philadelphia.
Philly Jesus, a Christian who is a local celebrity and walks the streets of downtown Philadelphia telling anybody he can about the virtue of Christ, said Wednesday that he’s neither voting for Clinton nor her Republican challenger, Donald Trump. Instead, he plans on writing in himself on the ballot.
“Jesus is the true representative in life,” Philly Jesus — the name he uses to describe himself when preaching dressed as the Christian savior himself — said. “I’m writing in Jesus.”
The Philadelphia preacher is known for his presence near City Hall, located in the heart of the City of Brotherly Love and nestled between skyscrapers just blocks away from historic churches. He’s been on the streets for more than two years, he said, and sees American politics — or worldly politics in general — as beside the point when compared to the divine.
“Because I’m not of this world,” he said when asked why he wasn’t ready to make a political endorsement, Democrat or Republican. “My kingdom is not of this world.”
He declined to answer if being a constituent of heaven disqualified him from running for president of the United States.
Nearby, the roars of protesters and activists could be heard echoing through the streets. The Democratic National Convention, held just miles away at the Wells Fargo Convention Center, has sparked protests from Sanders supporters who say the Democratic Party has favored Clinton throughout the primary season even while the organization has pledged to remain neutral in the race. Delegates supporting Sanders stormed out of the convention Tuesday following Clinton’s nomination, expressing their lack of confidence in the process while staging a sit-in in a press tent where reporters go to file stories.