"Whenever I see the word "dissenters", I remember that Jesus was a dissenter from what the Pharisees saw as the law. And, good Pharisees that they were, theirs was the only correct interpretation of the law."
The notion that Jesus was a dissenter pops up from time to time, routinely used as an argument by those who disagree with the "institutional Church" on doctrinal matters, to defend their actions and perhaps even attempt to gain sympathy. Because everyone knows if you got Jesus on your side, there's no way you can be wrong, right? (remember that "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign? meh)
So what does Scripture say about dissent?
When Jesus started His ministry, the first thing he said was "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!" (Mt4:17) He did not say: "Dissent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!"
Then there are these two passages from St. Paul's letters:
1 Timothy 6:3-5 "If any one teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching which accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing; he has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain."
Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
So the inerrant Word of God tells us that dissension is a "work of the flesh" and an evil that leads to the loss of eternal life. Since Jesus is the Son of God and sinless, it was impossible for Jesus to have had dissented. God cannot dissent against Himself - a ridiculous notion if there ever was one.
If anything, it was the Pharisees who had dissented from the Jewish faith, by imposing strict laws upon their people, and creating burdens for the Jews to bear while providing no assistance whatsoever. Jesus then arrived - sent to save us from sin and death - and to reveal to us the Father, who is love. His intent was not to eliminate all burden and all rules, but to offer us a new burden, one which is easy and light - the burden of loving God, and loving one's neighbor. Jesus' mission was not to dissent from Jewish teaching, but to expand it, develop it, enflesh it and fulfill it. He came in the fullness of time to reveal the Father and bring salvation to all people. How in the world, then, can that be dissent?
From the Pharisees' perspective, Jesus was a dissenter par excellence - accused of blasphemy, handed over to be crucified. In reality, Jesus showed where the Pharisees had gone wrong, which isn't dissent. He did that to establish His authority, not to "show up" and "shake up" the powers-that-be. What Jesus did had been foreshadowed by the Old Testament prophets - and Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and the rest were not dissenters. They were obeying God, acting like shepherds reining in wayward flocks.
So when 90%+ of Catholics disagree with Church teaching on contraception, they are in dissent. When a percentage feel that women ought to be ordained, and the Church is wrong, they are in dissent. They disagree with and reject Church teaching, as well as the Church's authority. They are not being Christ-like. In fact, they are acting very similarly to the archetypal dissenter Lucifer, who spurned God and heaven by declaring "I will not serve!"
The claim that Jesus is a dissenter, therefore, is a projection by those who feel the Church is Pharisaical in their handling of doctrinal and dogmatic issues: squash, suppress, silence, ex-communicate. In reality, though, the Church is only following Paul's, and thus Christ's, exhortations:
1 Corinthians 5: 9-13 "I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Drive out the wicked person from among you."There will always be wolves among the sheepfold - and some are equating them to the Good Shepherd. We are called to stand and warn against the dissenters - especially when they seek to cloak their misdeeds with false righteousness and misplaced charity. By their words they make themselves known.