January 7, 2008

Politics in the Pulpit

As we enter the new year and look forward to the next presidential race, Out of Ur and Christianitytoday.com has a very informative article about Politics from the Pulpit.

Allan R. Bevere, author of the post, lists the things a church may and may not do:

1. Pastors may personally endorse a candidate.

2.Pastors may also personally work for a candidate and contribute financially to his or her campaign. No church may contribute to a campaign.

3. Pastors may even endorse a candidate in print, such as in a newspaper ad. The pastor's title and the church s/he is affiliated with may also be listed for the purposes of identification.

4. Pastors may also preach on moral and social issues (abortion, gay marriage, economic matters, etc.) which, depending on the pastor's views, may by implication throw support behind one candidate over another.

5. Churches may organize voter registrations and drives as long as they are directed at all eligible voters and not only toward voters of one political party.

6. Churches may hold forums where candidates address the issues.

7. If a candidate visits a church during worship, he or she may be introduced publicly.

8. Churches may host candidates who may speak from the pulpit, as long as that candidate is not directly endorsed or urges the congregation to vote for her/him.

9. Churches may distribute non-partisan voter guide giving information on where each candidate stands on the issues. Churches should be warned about using guides that come from outside sources as they may be deemed to be partisan.

10. Churches may use their premises as voting stations.

As we enter the political season, I remind myself that the Church, while it has a responsibility to vote and participate in the election, should not expect a political candidate or government program to do its job. God calls us to care for the poor, the widow, the orphan, and to start a grassroots movement of holiness. Since morality moves from the inner person to outer practice, changes happen only when the inner person is transformed not an exterior law enforced.

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