Wednesday, May 14, 2008

No Politics from the Pulpit...or From Preachers

Two really intelligent people I've gotten to know over on Facebook, supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton, have assumed that because of some of what I've written about Clinton's fading prospects for the presidency that I'm a supporter of Senator Barack Obama.

The fact is that while I am intensely interested in politics, I've come to believe it's morally wrong for pastors to get involved in partisan politicking.

As I've said many times, God is not a Republican, God is not a Democrat, and God is not an American.

It's impossible to draw a straight line between one's faith and a political party or a political candidate. Attempts to do so, it seems to me, result in putting God in a box and making idols of ideologies or political figures. God is bigger than all of politics and preachers who get involved in politics--something I did four years ago when, concerned about the funding of public education in Ohio, I ran for the state House of Representatives, an effort I now regret--risk sending the wrong signals about God and the message of the Gospel.

Politics is an abiding interest of mine, as is history. I majored in Social Studies at Ohio State, worked as volunteer coordinator for a 1976 congressional campaign, and worked for the Ohio House of Representatives. As an avocation, as one always interested in history, current events, and the political process, I do write about politics from those vantage points.

But unless the voice of Scripture is, to my satisfaction, unambiguous, I never advocate policy positions here. And certainly never do so from the pulpit. I never endorse candidates. And so long as I am under call as a pastor of Christ's Church, I never will.

By the way, it's my view that pastors who get into endorsing political candidates or policy positions from the pulpit are doing a great disservice to our Lord. We all sin and are imperfect, of course. But I hope that, absent the kinds of clear Scriptural imperatives I've mentioned, all pastors will refrain from political activism.

Here are links to a few past discussions of these and related matters...

A Pledge I Wish Every Christian Leader Would Make
Jesus is Not a Republican. Jesus is Also Not a Democrat.
Who is the 'Values Voter'?
"Do religious ideas undermine democratic discourse?"
Dr. Dobson, Stop Playing This Dangerous Game!
Politics Endorsed by a Church? I Don't Think So!
Why Separation of Church and State is Best for the Church and Its Cause
Iraq, the Church, and 'Christian' Political Commentary

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