Most Americans Want Pastors to Remain Silent on Politics

It does not surprise me that data collected from the General Social Survey indicate that most Americans, 71 percent, do not want their religious leaders getting involved in politics. (Story here.) This simply reflects many Americans view on religion. Religion is something you do when it is convenient and is to be kept locked in our own little religious box.

This is really a sad view on the state of religion and Christianity as a whole because the deeper issue is that many Christians live as though Jesus died on the cross to save them, but not to redeem them. What I mean by this is that they see the death and suffering of Christ as a means to provide eternal blessings in the future, and peace and tranquility in the present. The cross for these people is just an add on like so many apps on an iphone. They don’t want the pain and suffering that the believer is called to as we are conformed to Christ’s image. That is just too much Jesus for these people as they seek to keep religion compartmentalized.

Yet when Jesus calls a man, He bids him come and die,” Dietrich Bohnhoeffer.

Christianity is not a religion that we compartmentalize. To do that we must ignore the truth of taking every thought captive, including those thoughts in the political realm of life as well as the religious realm of life. I believe one reason the American church is in such a pitiful state is because for far too long pastors have remained silent on issues political and economic. The pastors of this country have gone on far too long not speaking the truth about the political world as we are called to do. We have not been faithful in the smallest or largest areas of life and the church is weak because of that. We wanted to stay silent because of some ill-perceived rule that tax-exempt churches would lose that status if they spoke on the issues of politics. “You mean, we might actually have to suffer in order to speak the truth?

Every prophet God sent to the Israelites suffered because he spoke the truth. Remember what Jesus said about the prophets that the Israelites loved: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” Let’s be abundantly clear on this, Jesus was pronouncing doom upon those who mimicked the false prophets and sought the approval of men instead of God.

This is what those pastors who do not speak politically are doing today. The pastor needs to be free to speak freely on all issues of life, including politics. Can you imagine what would have happened if men like John Newton had remained silent on issues like slavery? Newton and his colleagues spoke freely on the wickedness of slavery, got involved in politics and brought that heinous institution to an end.

Yet today, we want to remain silent so we don’t lose… tax-exempt status… pathetic.

O that the men in the pulpits every week would boldly proclaim the gospel that not only leads us to salvation, but is to redeem every area of life… including politics.

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5 thoughts on “Most Americans Want Pastors to Remain Silent on Politics

  1. J. R.

    (This is a post on this topic I posted elsewhere in 2009. I just found your posting, and say Amen to your comments. We apparently agree completely on this.)

    “At a time in which many of the Christian faith wonder what has happened (at breakneck speed) to our traditional, moral culture in recent years, one has to also ask the question, ‘What happened to the influence of the Church, which guided in large measAt a time in which many of the Christian faith wonder what has happened (at breakneck speed) to our traditional, moral culture in recent years, one has to also ask the question, “What happened to the influence of the Church, which guided in large measure the founding of this Republic?” I can tell you what happened: the church sold its voice and influence for little more than “thirty pieces of silver.”

    Historically, the church in America has always been more or less tax exempt. But in 1954, changes were made to the US tax code which specified that “non-profit” organizations, which include the churches, would only remain tax exempt if they refrained from endorsing candidates for election. In accepting that exemption, the church allowed itself to be muzzled, and “the world” rejoiced. No longer could the church point out who were the most moral candidates for office, and who did not deserve the church’s endorsement. From that restriction evolved further self-limitations, resulting in the church nervously avoiding ALL comments on political matters, fearing that the precious exemption could be endangered. Eventually, those unchurched candidates got elected, and voted for laws and judges that diminished the positive influence of the Church in America. Remember, the church was not forced to accept these conditions—it was always free to reject the exemption, and speak freely on any issue. It still is. Unfortunately, the leadership believes the church will bring in more donations if the church remains tax exempt, and the almighty dollar remains paramount, ahead of the church’s influence in a lost world. Whatever happened to “God will provide for the faithful?”

    I have to ask, “What would Jesus think of this?” If Christians think He is happy seeing His Church hiding its light under a bushel, in exchange for a tax exemption, then I believe we are sadly mistaken. I cannot imagine this was His plan for America, but since 1954, don’t you think we have suffered mightily in this “bargain?” Do we trust God, or do we trust out tax exemption?

    ure the founding of this Republic?’ I can tell you what happened: the church sold its voice and influence for little more than ‘thirty pieces of silver.’

    Historically, the church in America has always been more or less ‘tax exempt.’ But in 1954, changes were made to the US tax code which specified that ‘non-profit’ organizations, which include the churches, would only remain tax exempt if they refrained from endorsing candidates for election. In accepting that exemption, the church allowed itself to be muzzled, and ‘the world’ rejoiced. No longer could the church point out who were the most moral candidates for office, and who did not deserve the church’s endorsement. From that restriction evolved further self-limitations, resulting in the church nervously avoiding ALL comments on political matters, fearing that the precious exemption could be endangered. Eventually, the unchurched candidates got elected to office, and voted for laws and judges that diminished the positive influence of the Church in America. Remember, the church was not forced to accept these conditions—it was always free to reject the exemption, and speak freely on any issue. It still is free to reject the exemption! Unfortunately, the leadership believes the church will bring in more donations if the church remains tax exempt, and the almighty dollar remains paramount, ahead of the church’s influence in a lost world. Whatever happened to ‘God will provide for the faithful?’

    I have to ask, “What would Jesus think of this?” If Christians think He is happy seeing His Church hiding its light under a bushel, in exchange for a tax exemption, then I believe we are sadly mistaken. How can we be the salt if we have given up our flavor? I cannot imagine this was His plan for America, but since 1954, don’t you think our society has suffered mightily in this “bargain?” Do we trust God, or do we trust our tax exemption?”

    Preachers, as our spiritual leaders need to pick one, I say.

    Like

  2. J. R.

    There was apparently a problem with my entry. The screen kept jumping ahead as I typed. Here is the proper essay:

    J. R. on August 26, 2011 at 11:26 am said:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    (This is a post on this topic I posted elsewhere in 2009. I just found your posting, and say Amen to your comments. We apparently agree completely on this.)

    “At a time in which many of the Christian faith wonder what has happened (at breakneck speed) to our traditional, moral culture in recent years, one has to also ask the question, ‘What happened to the influence of the Church, which guided, in large measure, the founding of this Republic?” I can tell you what happened: the church sold its voice and influence for little more than “thirty pieces of silver.”

    Historically, the church in America has always been more or less ‘tax exempt.’ But in 1954, changes were made to the US tax code which specified that ‘non-profit’ organizations, which include the churches, would only remain tax exempt if they refrained from endorsing candidates for election. In accepting that exemption, the church allowed itself to be muzzled, and ‘the world’ rejoiced. No longer could the church point out who were the most moral candidates for office, and who did not deserve the church’s endorsement. From that restriction evolved further self-limitations, resulting in the church nervously avoiding ALL comments on political matters, fearing that the precious exemption could be endangered. Eventually, the unchurched candidates got elected to office, and voted for laws and judges that diminished the positive influence of the Church in America. Remember, the church was not forced to accept these conditions—it was always free to reject the exemption, and speak freely on any issue. It still is free to reject the exemption! Unfortunately, the leadership believes the church will bring in more donations if the church remains tax exempt, and the almighty dollar remains paramount, ahead of the church’s influence in a lost world. Whatever happened to ‘God will provide for the faithful?’

    I have to ask, “What would Jesus think of this?” If Christians think He is happy seeing His Church hiding its light under a bushel, in exchange for a tax exemption, then I believe we are sadly mistaken. How can we be the salt if we have given up our flavor? I cannot imagine this was His plan for America, but since 1954, don’t you think our society has suffered mightily in this “bargain?” Do we trust God, or do we trust our tax exemption?”

    Preachers, as our spiritual leaders need to pick one, I say.

    Like

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