Thursday, October 02, 2008

Should pastors publicly endorse political candidates?

Mark Galli is one of my favourite Christians writers. I don't always agree with him, but I do like how he thinks a lot of the time.  Today he posted a blog on Christianity Today entitled "Tempted by Politics."  While he writes from an American perspective to a U.S. audience, the issues are also relevant to our own upcoming federal election here in Canada in two weeks.  Here's how he starts:

Every pastor in America is just dying to tell their congregations how to vote. It happens every election season, but particularly during the presidential quadrennial. This yearning to lobby one's flock doesn't surprise me — it tempted me when I was a pastor.

What did surprise me was a report that said 31 pastors in 22 states this past Sunday endorsed a candidate from their pulpits. The nationwide event was orchestrated by the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, (ADF), which thinks churches should be able to take partisan stands without losing their tax exemption. The legal group hopes the sermons will prompt IRS reaction. In turn, the ADF will take the IRS to court and argue for a ruling that will abolish restrictions on church political speech.

Frankly, I hope they lose....

To continue reading, go to Christianity Today Online.  Then come back and tell me what you think.  Should pastors publicly endorse political candidates?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree, politics should not enter the church.

Todd said...

Glenn:

Interesting and thought-provoking post. I think that my understanding in this area has grown since I began fellowshipping with the persecuted church. The government in China is opposed to the church...yet it's growing by leaps and bounds! So many Christians talk as if God will not be allowed to work anymore if the "wrong" guy wins the election. My brothers and sisters in China and other restricted nations say that's not so.

One of my Christian friends posted a note online about why he is voting for Obama. It prompted quite a bit of discussion among his other Christian friends. I think my reply to his post also fits here:

I agree with you that the less the government minds our business, the better off we are as a people and as a nation. BUT I also believe that life begins at conception, and my personal freedom and rights END at the point where using them would cause the loss of another human life. I'm pro-choice when it comes to conception: if you don't want to have a baby, CHOOSE not to conceive one. But once that child is conceived, then it is a living being and it has rights too, rights that the government should protect.

While Obama may claim to be personally against abortion, he seems never to have let that personal belief affect the way he has voted. (Link to a website removed by moderator)

That being said, I don't think abortion is the only issue that our country is dealing with and I don't want to be a one-issue voter, even for an issue as significant as that. And McCain has been a "maverick" often enough that it's a bit hard to predict what he will do in office. But Obama has so little track record that it's hard to predict what he will do also.

It frustrates me that we have in office now a man who I genuinely believe to be a Christ-follower, yet I don't think our country has made great moral strides in the past seven years.

I've decided that who we vote for will make far less moral difference in our country than HOW WE LIVE. We can vote for a guy who says he'll help the poor; but are we helping the poor? We can vote for a guy who says he'll fight abortion, but are we helping provide for unwed mothers? We can vote for a guy who says he will make peace...but are we making peace in our communities?

We, as a nation, can't vote our way out of our problems. We have to willfully BEHAVE our way out of them. And that will be true regardless of who sleeps in the White House for the next four years.

That, I believe, is the message that our pastors should be preaching.

Donna said...

Todd, I haven't read the Christianity Today article yet, but I agree with you completely that how we live and the choices we personally make are greater than how we vote. You have expressed it very well. Thank you.