Pastor's are ruining the politician's chances of winning...or at least that seem to me what is implied in articles such as this. McCain sought help from Rod Parsley of World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio, and now some of Parsley's comments are being used against McCain. Rev. Parsley refers to Islam as a "conspiracy of spiritual evil." Barack Obama, as we have seen, had his own trouble with comments made by his pastor. McCain, like Barack, now feels it necessary to distance himself from the pastors in question.
There are several ways to view this:
1. We assume that politicians holds the exact same view as the pastor.
2. We assume that politician may hold some views in common, but not all.
3. We assume that the politician was simply using the person to wedge into a particular demographic.
I am likely to believe that Barack Obama falls into the second category because Rev. Wright (no relation) is one of the pastor at the church where Obama regularly attends. McCain, on the other, was seeking to court a few extra religious votes when Huckabee was pushing toward the candidacy. Then, again, I may be totally wrong.
I do have a problem when politicians of any party or level begins to use the church to further his/her own political agenda. I have more of a problem with a church that allows itself to be used as a political pawn in an election match.
It is not that I believe the church should have nothing to say in the political realm. I believe the church is a VERY political entity; especially when we talk about concern for the poor, war, abortion, etc. Jesus message of a rival Kingdom was a very dangerous political message. The biblical assertion that "Jesus is lord!" was a profoundly political statement in the face of Roman occupation. Caesar was the only one who they were to refer to as "lord."
We cannot afford to remove the church from the political realm. What we must do is remove the church from the partisan realm. Politicians on both sides must be challenged by the Church.
I found this quote from Pope Benedict XVI, "Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted. Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel." I think that is a very appropriate way to think about a Christians involvement in politics.