Politics from the Pulpit Verboten
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
Did you know that a church could lose its tax-exempt status if the pastor preaches against the positions of a political candidate? Oh, yeah. The law is a part of the IRS Code and dates back to 1954.
Read all about it at:
In my opinion, churches and pastors should have the right to speak against politician’s stances, but I don’t think they ought to do it from the pulpit.
Allow me to clarify: I do not think it should be illegal for a pastor to speak out -- in the pulpit --as a part of his, or her, sermon against a political candidate’s positions. However, it is my firm conviction that church is NOT the place to do that! That is one of the reasons -- in fact, it is at the core of my decision to stop attending church.
Look, I never went to church to hear politics discussed. That is the absolute last thing I wanted my pastor to do. I also don’t want lessons in socialism taught in my church. I don’t want Global Warming/Climate Change taught in my church. What I DO want, as a Christian, is CHRIST taught in my church.
Sorry to say, far too many pastors, in my not so humble opinion, have forgotten their obligation, first to God, and secondly to their parishioners, to refrain from preaching "social justice politics" and confine themselves to their religious vows. If they find they cannot do that, then, it seems to me, they ought to renounce their vows and leave the ministry.
At the risk of becoming “preachy” here… church is no place for discussing Caesar’s business. “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s … and unto God the things that are God’s”… Christ said that, not me.
It really grinds on me when I see a politician, or a representative of a presidential administration, the President himself, or even a leader in a political movement stand in a pulpit, which is, I believe, holy ground, and advocate for a politician, or a political agenda. It is, I believe, blasphemous and should be condemned -- not condoned -- by the parishioners of that church. Unfortunately, it is a far to common occurrence in some segments of the American religious community today.
No, I am not a minister. I don’t have the temperament for that, even had I been convinced that I had had “the call”. I would have made a lousy pastor. I’m a terrible leader… because… I am a horrible follower! Other members of my immediate family took up the mantle and became “men of the cloth”. Me? I’m sort of the black sheep of the family… and, frankly, I love it!
Back to the issue at hand, I am convinced -- from first hand exposure to it -- that the mainline churches are losing membership to the evangelical churches because the mainline churches have become echo chambers for the political left in America. What used to be a Worship Service sounds more like a precinct meeting of the local leftists spouting their "progressive agenda" in many of our mainline churches. That goes against everything the church SHOULD stand for… and used to stand for.
There was a time in this country when the church played a central role in American life. The church set the standards for American society. No longer. Sadly, that time has past and is only a dim memory. The church has fallen in line with the leftist agenda. In doing so, it is my opinion, they have committed “apostasy." All one has to do is survey American society today and measure it against the America of just, oh, 60 years ago.
No, I do not think the church is the place to speak of politics -- but I am convinced there is a constitutional right to do just that. That may sound a bit confusing but it need not be. Americans have the constitutional right to do a lot of things that ought not be done in a place set aside (sanctified) for the worship of God. It is as simple as that.
J. D. Longstreet