I had another post planned for today, but after reading about this story from all over the place today I have decided to chime in.
On Sunday September 28th, 2008 (2 days ago), 33 pastors from around the country endorsed one Presidential candidate or the other during their message or sermon during a Sunday morning service. This whole idea is organized under the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) as a “Pulpit Initiative”. HERE is a good news video about the story. One pastor who was a part of this organized effort said, “If we [pastors] can tell you what to do in the bedroom, we can certainly tell you what to do in the voting booth.”
Here is the catch (that many of you know about), all of these pastors broke U.S. tax code and are putting their churches in jeopardy of losing their tax exempt status. ADF says, “It is time for the intimidation and threats to end. Churches and pastors have a constitutional right to speak freely and truthfully from the pulpit – even on candidates and voting – without fearing loss of their tax exemption.” Generally speaking, the ADF represents what I would consider very conservative, and in some cases fundamental, Christianity.
Here are some of my thoughts:
- I believe the heart behind all of this is very, very good. Many people want to hear from their pastors on where they stand on certain issues and what the Bible has to say about it. Many Christians need guidance in political areas because politicians confuse them greatly. Most politicians muddy the waters, so to speak.
- With that said, I could not disagree more with the decision to move forward with this by these 30 or so pastors. Their main desire is for the IRS to revoke tax exempt status and for there to be a court case over this issue. I find the move to be incredibly selfish.
- This goes back to the idea of whether God promotes partisan politics. I believe he does not. No where in the Bible to we hear about whether God promotes top down or bottom up economics, or if God would raise taxes or install a large financial bailout package. This idea that God would always vote for the Republican or Democrat is ill-founded and wrong.
- I can only imagine the kind of unspoken division this will create in those churches. If you support the candidate other than the one supported by the pastor…are you less of a Godly Christian then, or should you have to repent of your sin? I feel badly for those people who were thinking those thoughts on Sunday.
- Because this has been a bigger news story than anything on this issue before (many other pastors have endorsed from the pulput but few have received this kind of fanfare for doing so), it would be stupid for the IRS not to do something. I think these pastors are going to get what they asked for.
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