On Saturday September 27th...
"Some 30 pastors across the country will be preaching politics on Sunday in violation of the law."
On Monday September 29th...
"The IRS has promised to take action against ministers who made public political endorsements."
One person in the first news story says it is his job as a pastor to bring people together - not to divide them over party lines. While I agree with that - I can see how the other pastor thinks he IS bringing people together by telling people who they should vote for. (No worries however, no endorsements for candidates from the pulpit from me!)
I will say however, that I am offended by this "Alliance Defense Fund" that continues to perpetuate the "single issue" voting that has polarized this country. I have only briefly looked at their website, but the brevity has already offended me. We cannot continue to vote for candidates based on two issues, abortion and same-sex marriage - or for any other single issue for that matter. In that same breath, we can no longer continue to ignore the fact that our daily lives, which often include our faith and our religion will in fact coincide with our politics. We are risking a moral bankruptcy in which our country decides on our leaders and our policies based on two issues which are often misinformed and full of hype and propaganda, not actual information on which to make an educated decision. We are not moral people because of one decision we make. I am not a moral person because I make one decision based on pro-life or pro-choice. I AM a moral person because I try to make moral decisions on a daily and constant basis. Being “moral” and having “moral values” is like being a Christian. There’s not one decision that you make and then you are done. You don’t accept Christ and then you’re done – go back to living how you want. It’s a constant effort and a constant thing that you have to participate in – being complacent in life – especially as a Christian – is not an option. You aren’t a moral person just because you vote for one issue and then move on. And neither are these candidates – one issue that they support does not define them.
Ok – now that I’m off THAT soap box – back to pastors and politics from the pulpit. I’m not going to lie – politics will always be part of my pulpit. If politics (according to the classic definition espoused by Aristotle) is dealing with the structure, organization and administration of society, then Christianity is most certainly political. If we are not espousing a Christian way to structure your daily life, the organization of humanity and the administration of a family of God, then we are not espousing a Christian message. In that sense – politics will ALWAYS be a part of my pulpit. However, I will refuse to support one candidate from the pulpit. While yes I believe that I am right and that I have a message people should hear – I’m not going to alienate someone from the Christian faith because we disagree. (Don’t read into my “I believe I’m right” – if I didn’t believe I was right and had a message to share I would be a pretty crappy minister – but it’s a matter of also remaining humble and respectful of others – and willing to admit that sometimes you might be wrong.) Regardless – I’m never going to alienate someone from the Christian faith and tell them that they are not a Christian because they didn’t vote for a particular candidate. As a minister I should be a pretty strong Christian, one would think – and I’m not disagreeing that I do in fact have a robust and resilient faith – but in that same breath I know what it’s like to be alienated. When I decided to go to seminary, one of my closest friends – literally friends since we were born – beforehand in fact – asked me how I could be going to seminary because I am so liberal. He asked me if liberal Christians are even allowed to exist. I literally felt like someone punched me in the gut. It was the worst feeling I had had in a while when thinking about going to seminary. I had lived through a near split in my home church and watched it beat itself up – but that didn’t deter me from going to seminary. And not that this friend’s comment made me rethink going to seminary – but it hurt. So especially knowing what that punch in the gut feels like, I would never be able to support only one candidate from the pulpit. I support a congregation who is active in the political life of this country, a vital congregation which lives out its faith beyond the walls of the church, and in ways that we are following Christ. However, if we have a difference of opinion on how that is done, then so be it. But I would never seek to alienate a church member and make them feel like I did.