The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

What’s That Pastor Talking About?

with one comment

Guest blog commentary by Nathan A. Cherry.

I recently read an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, by a man claiming to be a Catholic, which said that he did not want to be told who to vote for in his church. I can’t blame him, I would not want to go to church and someone tell me who to vote for. But, I would like to go to a service and hear about the candidates, where they stand, and what my pastor had to say about it all. After all, if pastors are who they say they are: mentors, teachers, guides, men with insight from God as to how to live a righteous and holy life, then why would I not want the input from such a man?

Perhaps I come from a jaded background. I spent time attending Dr. Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church. I received a regular dose of political input as a part of Dr. Falwell’s Sunday sermons. I was educated about what issues were relevant to me as a believer, where God stood on these issues in accordance with the Bible, and which candidates stood right in line with the beliefs I held sacred as a believer. Such time served as a springboard for my life as a growing believer. It became clear to me that if a man as used of God as Dr. Falwell believed it was important to speak on these issues then it was important for me to stay abreast of the political climate in my town, state, and country. And stay abreast I have ever since.

My Catholic friend expressed his frustration when pastors “stray from the moral to the political.” But can we really separate morality and politics? Alexis de Tocqueville once said, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” I have to agree. I have yet to find any verse, or reference in Scripture which alludes to a separation of pulpits and politics. Some have said that even Jesus told us to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s….” (Matt. 22:21) But to say that supports the separation of church and state, or even the idea that pastors should leave the politicking to the politicians is an egregious misinterpretation of the text. Quite literally Jesus was simply telling us to pay our taxes and honor our government and to obey the laws of the land (as long as they don’t violate Scripture).

In fact, all through Scripture we can read where prophets, priests, and others spoke directly to kings, government officials, and rulers. The first example I can think of is when Nathan the prophet went to David the King and told him he had sinned. Samuel the priest helped to choose Israel’s King (Saul). Paul stood before many a politician and did his best to win them for Jesus. Several Apostles did the same. All this exemplifies for us that men called by God to lead His people also have a responsibility to hold government leaders accountable, and to lead their flock in the right direction. Pastors are called shepherds after all, and, what kind of a shepherd would knowingly and willingly allow his flock to make a dangerous decision such as the wrong candidate for office; which could affect their very freedom to live as believers?

My frustrated Catholic friend made one mistake, in my estimation, saying that only two churches have ever lost their tax-exempt status for too much political involvement. My research, according to the Family Research Council, Alliance Defense Fund, and Liberty Council says that NO church has ever lost its tax-exempt status. And in fact, these religious freedom fighters report that more often than not the IRS backs down when a church fights them in court. This tells me that it’s the politicians who are scared that pastor’s will speak up. It’s the liberal who claims to be a “Christian” but whose voting record says otherwise that is afraid to be exposed. The media will certainly not expose the truth. But a pastor standing on the Word of God with a holy conscience certainly will. And with pastor’s having the undivided attention of thousands across America each Sunday, a formidable force for right and truth is possible.

But the only way for such a strong force in the political arena to be realized is for pastor’s to come out from behind their pulpits, mount a foundation of absolute truth in Scripture, and speak loud and clear into their microphones for the whole congregation to hear. The article in the Journal Sentinel later stated that “Birth, death, marriage, what Jesus would have driven – all are now issues.” Or, in other words, the sanctity of human life and the foundation for civil society are among the hottest, most controversial issues we hear about today. Do we really think that Jesus would simply avoid these “taboo” issues so as not to offend a person or political agenda? God forbid. Jesus would lovingly address these issues head on, unwaveringly, unashamed and unapologetic for His belief, which is established upon the truth of Scripture. 

My slightly mistaken, frustrated Catholic friend was right about one thing when he said that churches “perform, without profit, a vital public task that government shouldn’t get near. We exempt them not as a reward but as a means of insulating them from governments’ power.” Amen. The Constitution of this land is clear: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Pastors have every right, and indeed a responsibility to address political issues and candidates, and government has no right to say otherwise. To say anything less or contrary would do violence to the text of Scripture and the Constitution, and those are two documents I personally hold sacred for their freedoms and liberties in this life and the life to come. 

Consider Sharing This Post:

add to : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Nathan A. Cherry holds a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity Theological Seminary.  Nathan provides leadership in discipleship, culturally relevant teaching, and outreach as Associate of Ministry at Central Chapel in Hedgesville, West Virginia.




Written by Jeremy Dys

October 8, 2008 at 2:35 pm

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] A. Cherry has this post on the Blog of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia discussing the relationship between politics, morality, and the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: