Here are 10 reasons why pastors avoid political and cultural issues:
1. Fear of man. If you purport to be a man of “the cloth”, then your regard for God and his opinion must trump the trepidation of the creature he created from spit and mud. Come on, man of God – don’t fear us. We’re ants with cell phones who’ll shoot Botox into our foreheads. We’re friggin’ weird and fickle weather vanes of the modern media. Lead us – don’t just follow us!
Man of God, fear God! Declare his will and his way and let the chips fall where they may. Within both the Old and New Testaments there are very unmuddled, eternal opinions on current political issues. These opinions should be embraced and shouldn’t be publicly curbed and bridled because some deranged deacon, some quacky congregant or a preening politician doesn’t agree with the scripture and might get their panties in a wad over a particular political issue. Never live for a nod from the congregation or some political twerp or a particular party, especially when said group is way off biblical base.
2. Ignorance. Most people are not bold in areas where they are ignorant … always excepting Michael Moore, of course. I know keeping up with all the pressing political issues is maddening but that’s life, Dinky, and if you want to be a voice in society and not an echo, you have got to be in the know. Staying briefed, running each political issue through the gauntlet of the scripture and determining God’s mind on a certain subject is par for the course, for the hardy world changer. It’s the information age. Get informed and watch your boldness increase.
3. Division. I hate the current non-essential divisions in the church as much as the next acerbic Christian columnist. Squabblin’ over the color of the carpet, who’ll play the organ next Sunday or who the Beast of Revelation is! Puhleese!
Dial down on the inconsequential seditiousness, okay, Jedediah? Relax. Go into the desert and get focused. The church is currently so divided and defeated with such minutiae that we can’t agree on which shade of white to use for our surrender flag.
4. Last Days Madness. Many ministers do not get involved in political issues because they believe that, “it simply doesn’t matter” since “the end has come”, and Jehovah is about to run the credits on this failed earth flick. These defeatists believe that any change in the jet stream, war, earthquakes, success of a corrupt politician, even a new Britney Spears video, is “proof” that God is getting really, really, ticked off and His only recourse is to have Christ physically return and kick some major butt.
Their only hope is in ‘The Rapture’. They see the church and themselves as impotent and having no real ability to change things culturally with any long-range ramifications. Thus, any stab at a better tomorrow is simply an exercise in futility for this crew. Attempting to right culture is, in their eyes, equivalent to polishing brass on a sinking ship. They are, therefore, content to simply pass out tracts, tramp from Christian rock concert to Christian rock concert, eat fatty foods, and stare at Christian TV.
5. Sloth. Classically defined, sloth is lethargy stemming from a sense of hopelessness. Viewing our nation and the world as an irreparable disaster, where our exhortations, prayers, votes and labors will not produce any temporal fruit, leaves one with all the fervor of a guy who’s forced to French kiss his sister.
If you wonder why your flock is so apathetic, ask yourself, Pastor Grim Carnage, if you have stolen their earthly hope that their valiant efforts can actually prevail in time, and not just in eternity. If you constantly pump the doom and gloom message, if you teach them that evil will ultimately triumph on our terra firma, if you spew messages that consciously or unconsciously convey “big anti-Christ and little Jesus Christ”, then you have effectively zapped what’s left of your parishioners passion.
6. Tax Exemption Pre-emption. Many pastors, priests and parishioners have been cowed into inactivity by the supposed loss of their tax-exempt status if they say anything remotely political. This can make folks who don’t or won’t get good legal advice as politically active as Howard Hughes during the flu season … but it needn’t.
First of all, there’s no need to have an IRS 501[c] tax-exempt charitable status to assemble and be a proper church. The church has been around a little bit longer than the 501 [c] statutes, right? We are afforded the right to assemble, by God and by the Constitution. Not having the tax exempt status simply means you’ll have to pay taxes at Costco when you buy hot dogs for the church picnic.
Secondly, 501[c] or not, we are called to obey God rather than men, and God has called his leaders to be involved in civic affairs, and to represent Christ and his word in all areas of society. And that entails expounding the biblical worldview all the time, including election time. Sometimes you have to rebel against unrighteous, limiting laws. There’s nothing wrong with proper civil disobedience when the need arises, especially if the government tries to stifle your scriptural rights and obligations.
Off the clock, in his personal capacity, the pastor or priest can endorse and support – or oppose – whoever or whatever he wishes, like any other citizen. There are no limitations to the individual; the ones which do exist under the 501[c] statute are only for the church entity and/or the pastor in his official capacity, not for the pastor or the members who make up the church.
7. Paltry pietism and the separation from the world mentality. Pastors and priests avoid politics because such concerns are “unspiritual”, and their focus is on the “spirit world”. Yes, to such imbalanced ministers, political affairs are seen as “temporal and carnal”, and because pastors and priests trade in the “eternal and spiritual”, such “transient” issues get the same attention from them as Rosie’s AbBlaster does from her.
What drives this type of clergy and Christian? Well, this brand of believer desires a “personal relationship with Jesus only” type of religion. This bunch is primarily into heavenly emotions and personal Bible study, tucked away from society and its complicated issues. Being preoccupied with looking inward and upward, such solipsistic saints inadvertently chain themselves to the never ending treadmill of spiritual introspection. They forget that they are commanded to be seriously engaged with our culture. The effects of this type of “Christian” separatism/pietism proved disastrous in pre-Nazi Germany, and aided and abetted Hitler in mounting his hellish warhorse.
8. The Thought Police have Tali-banned us. Pastors and priests have muffled their political voice because they fear being lumped in with the radical Muslim extremists by the politically correct thought police. The correlation made between Christians’ non-violent attempts at policy persuasion and Taliban’s kill-you-in-your-sleep campaigns is nothing more than pure uncut crapola. Here’s what I’m talking about: A minister who wants to protect the unborn, preserve the Biblical and traditional view of marriage, maintain our nation’s basis in some semblance of Biblical righteousness all of the sudden gets grouped up with Osama and his nuclear-suitcase-carrying cabal.
Ministers, please blow off the tongue wagging blowhards who try to intimidate you into silence by making quantum ludicrous scat laden analogous leaps in equating the implementation of a Biblical worldview with the Taliban’s cross-eyed perspective.
9. Mothering the Minute. Ministers can’t get involved in studying or speaking out regarding political issues simply because of the ten tons of minutiae they are forced to field. Spending time wet nursing 30-year-olds without a life and being bogged down in committee meetings over which shade of pink paint should be used for the Woman’s Aglow ministerial wing of their church, ministers are lucky if they get to study the scripture nowadays, much less anything else.
In the unending, need-driven narcissistic American church, pastors work overtime for spiritually overweight parishioners regarding issues that ultimately are inconsequential. This is both the fault of the ministers (messiah complex) and fault of the congregants (me-monkey syndrome), and both have got to have an exorcism or something if the church is going to tackle pressing cultural issues.
10. It’ll cost them Money. The creepy thing about a lot of ministers is their unwillingness to give political offense when offense is needed, simply because taking a biblical stand on a political issue might cost them their time share in Aspen and their Chrysler Mini-Van. Oh well, what do you expect? Christ had his Judas and evangelicalism has it cheap prostitutes.
Anytime a pastor takes a sturdy stand on a substantial issue, it usually ends up offending some people. If a congregant gets angry because you have just barbequed his favorite ideological golden calf, his cash will leave weeks before his physical body departs to find a church that’ll tickle his ears.
Never fear, pastor. Even though nailing your colors to the mast during putrid political times might cost you a parishioner or two, don’t sweat it. There are also tens of thousands of serious parishioners who are looking for leaders with the ‘nads to lead the church to make its proper stance during days of declension. So, my advice to you, Mr. Minister, would be to stay the Biblical course against the secular corrupters. I guarantee you four things:
God will send you better soldiers of the cross,
He will supernaturally increase your revenue to labor for His cause,
You won’t have to look the other way when you approach a mirror, and –
You will sleep better at night knowing that cash couldn’t buy your convictions.
If Christian ministers would crucify their fear of man, get solidly briefed regarding the chief political issues, not sweat necessary division, not get caught up in last days madness, maintain their hope for tomorrow, understand their liberties under God and our Constitution, not become so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good, focus on the majors and blow off bowing to cash instead of convictions, then maybe … just maybe, we will see their influence cause our nation to take a righteous turn away from the secularist’s putrid path.