Sunday, January 27, 2008

You Decide...No, Really!

I love Presidential campaigns. I love watching the news each night this time of the season, catching up on the big moments and hot sound-bites of the day. It's fun to sort through the various outcomes of each debate, caucus and primary, imagining all the while what the final ticket might look like. To me, the primary season is better than March Madness.

In recent years I have noticed that the evangelical church in America has become consumed with the political process. More and more we see denominational leaders, pastors, and other respected individuals in evangelical Christianity putting tremendous effort and resources into the political arena. In my next blog I'll share some thoughts on the Church's role in American politics, but today I would like to hear from you.

Does the Church and/or its leaders put too much energy/attention into the political process in America?


Jenny said...

That is a difficult one - since we have the whole issue of separation of church and state. I don't think a pastor should talk about a particular candidate from the pulpit, but I do think that many people need guidance in the political process and they go to the wrong places to get it. I feel that if they are asked about a candidate, a pastor should be able to share their opinion, but not force it on others. I do think the church should encourage their members to vote since so many people have the opinion that their vote doesn't matter.

Brad said...

Historically, hasn't the church typically been involved with the political process in general? I think America went through a period in the 80's and 90's where the secularists essentially shouted down the church and made Christians feel like they should have no say in the direction of our country. Unfortunately, this position has been fortified by the IRS code for exempting churches from paying taxes. This is why every other imaginable association of people are allowed to endorse candidates, but the church is not.

As for my personal opinion on whether I believe the church is too involved in politics, I would say no. I somewhat agree with Jenny in that I believe the local church is a family, and that we should be able to discuss any topic in the world and encourage our family members to uphold the family name, that is the name of Christ.

However, I believe the real problem is deciding who speaks for the family of Christ. Is it James Dobson? Is it Joel Osteen? Is it T.D. Jakes? I can find exception with almost any "evangelical" that steps forward to make a political statement, so evangelicals are essentially left without a single unified political position. And that is one reason why I believe evangelicals shy away from any involvement in politics. There is much more to this issue though.

Guy & Julie said...

Thanks for stopping by our blog! I'm loving getting back in touch with friends through blog--it's so good to see what everyone is up to!

beckymcp said...

Wow, what a complex issue for this tiny little comment box!
I'm thinking that the church as an organizational body has little to gain and much to lose in placing too much emphasis on politics. (Hey, we can't even agree on music styles and carpet could we ever hope to achieve unity on political issues?!) To risk losing our focus on the God-given task of evangelism through over-involvement in the divisive world of politics would be a tragedy.
On the other hand, the church is people--and the Bible doesn't exactly offer individual Christians an excuse to "opt out" of the world they live in. On the contrary, the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us compels us to act for the good of those around us....and for some, that may be a clear call to get involved in the political process. The movie "Amazing Grace," which tells the story of William Wilberforce's relentless fight against slavery in 18th & 19th century England, illustrates this effectively.
To me, there is a big difference between individual Christians getting involved in politics as a way to live out their convictions, and "the church" or "evangelicals" endorsing a particular candidate.