Question of the day: churches and politics.

I was browsing around over at Stuff Fundies Like again (I promise this is not becoming a habit with me) and I decided to read some of the articles under their “news” section. That is where I found this particular article:

Rick Santorum tells Knox crowd: He’ll repeal Obama health-care reforms

Which is all well and great. Then I kept reading…

“Wednesday’s rally was held in the sanctuary of Temple Baptist Church in Powell, not on the campus of nearby Crown College as initially advertised.

Weather delayed the candidate’s arrival by about an hour. The Crown College choir warmed up the crowd with such songs as “God Bless America,” “In God We Trust,” and the hymns of the armed forces.

Federal law allows churches to host appearances by political candidates under conditions that bar endorsement by the church. Pastor Clarence Sexton welcomed Santorum — who asked for the crowd’s votes and donations — but made no endorsement.

Members of the crowd waved pro-Santorum banners, jumped to their feet for standing ovations about half a dozen times throughout the hourlong speech and occasionally booed at the mention of Obama and Romney.

Hundreds lined up afterward for photos and autographs. Attendees included former Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison and County Commissioner R. Larry Smith, who provided rental space for Santorum’s local campaign office.”

Here’s this week’s Question of the Day…

Do you think it’s appropriate for churches (regardless of what their denomination is) to host political rallies in their auditoriums?
Or do you think a church auditorium should be reserved strictly for worship services, church-affiliated events, funerals, and weddings?

No fighting. Be respectful of others’ opinions. Back your opinions with Scripture!

Oh, and if the dude that freaked out on me the last time I mentioned  Stuff Fundies Like on my blog is reading this, please turn off your caps lock and refrain from calling me a liar and someone who “lusts after pedophiles.” That would be super. Thanks.  :]

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Posted on August 27, 2012, in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I don’t have a problem with it. What I do have problem with is pastors not being allowed to speak about candidates and/or endorse them from the pulpit.

  2. Very complex question, isn’t it? On one hand, churches have a long history of acting on behalf of good causes, and making changes that have benefited all of us. Examples in include abolitionists in the 1850’s, and civil rights advocates a century later. These can be considered political changes because laws needed to be changed in order to make these reforms stick.
    On the other hand, we see that Christians can, on occasion, be more concerned about making a stand (i.e. giving the finger to the world) than doing something of substance (I am speaking directly to those who complain about the people at Target saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, or those who went to Chick-Fil-A on Aug 1).
    The problem I have is when Christians take strong positions on issues that are not directly church-related, or simply are not addressed clearly in Scripture, and pretending there is a link to their faith. Gun control being exhibit A.

    By the way, Anthony: pastors are, in fact, allowed to endorse candidates. They will lose their tax-exempt status if they do it, but they are not prevented from speaking or endorsing anyone.

  3. Seeing as we are in the NT dispensation and God does not dwell in temples made with hands; but the in temple of the believer, it is irrelevant what the sanctuary/auditorium of a physical building is used for. Except that certain activities may cause you to sin against your conscience, the church sanctuary is as important to God as is your local Burger King: except when members of his Body are there.

  4. Interesting topic -and I love the “Back your opinions with Scripture!” condition.

    On the one hand, I understand that as Christians we are not commanded to surrender our civic duties but to actively and lawfully participate in the democratic process as outlined in the law of the land (Rom 13:1).
    Also, as a Christian I would rather not seeing certain things happening (i.e. my kids being taught that laziness pays better than hard work; or encouraged at school to explore homosexuality; or that sex before marriage is ok; or being forbidden to talk about Jesus), and I think I personally and the church as organization, can contribute to stopping or delaying these and other issues from happening by voting and participating in the process wisely and with Biblical principles in mind (see tiny.cc/Vote4Mormon). (some more thoughts at tiny.cc/whypolitics). Therefore, why not doing things like lending the building to a political event?

    However, someone (tiny.cc/ArtieOnPolitics) made me thing hard and deep recently and I am still wrestling with this: although we have the right to be political, what if the exercising of our right hinders our influence of sharing the gospel and reaching out to the lost (Matthew 28:19-20) -which is our most important goal? (see tiny.cc/themostimportant )

    Is it worth winning the election and losing the souls?
    Is there a middle point?
    Maybe some are called to reach souls through politics (and lending their buildings) and some others through the abstinence of it.

  5. “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and render unto God the things that are God’s.” ~Mark 12:17

    My initial gut-response is that the two should be separate: the invitation given to a politician to speak in the pulpit of a church can be, and often is, an endorsement of their political platform, party, and/or candidacy. Religious fervor has a way of messing with people’s freedom of choice in the voting booth (“My church/pastor/denomination says I should vote for So-and-so. If, after thorough research and careful consideration, I believe I should go against their choice, am I going against The Will of God?” And, an even worse scenario: “Pastor likes So-and-so, so that’s who I’m gonna vote for, period.”) So much can, and does, go wrong when mixing the political and religious arenas in any way. (See the life of Al Sharpton for details.)

    This is not to say that the believer, even, and especially, the ordained believer does not have the right to express his political opinion. But, I believe the pulpit is a “thing of God”, and it should never be confused with a “thing of Caesar’s”.

  6. Tony Brown, Thoughts with Accent and Rodalena all made excellent points. I’m with them.

    1.) Now that Christ has torn the veil with His sacrificial atonement, God no longer dwells in buildings, but in believers themselves. The auditorium itself that the church chooses to meet in is inconsequential.

    2.) Someone can talk all they want about not endorsing a particular candidate, but when they allow them to hold a rally from behind their pulpit – they are just talking out of both sides of their mouth. Clarence Sexton was clearly endorsing Santorum. He just did it in a way that would legally protect his tax exempt status. Sexton’s flock was more than likely enamored with Santorum after that rally.

    3.) This runs a risk of alienating people of different political persuasions and may or may not have closed doors to evangelize them. The real issue in people’s lives is sin, the Gospel and their relationship with God. These are eternal things. You cannot create righteousness in people’s lives through political policy. That is done by the Gospel alone, which has power in any political setting. Putting politics in your pulpit muddies these things and too many people focus on the temporal and miss the eternal. I don’t think it’s worth it.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Christians should stay out of politics. I just don’t think it is the wisest thing to put it in the pulpit. That’s my two cents.

  7. As an atheist, I wanted to offer my opinion…and I hope my comment is welcome too!

    From an outsider’s perspective, I don’t see a problem with it at all. If a candidate decides that a church is where he or she wants to meet, that is their prerogative. The candidate should be careful, though, to avoid blurring lines between spiritualism / religion and the public discourse. Theocracy is bad for everyone.

    Also, James hit the nail on the head at the end of his comment above, in response to Anthony. Church leaders can participate in the political process at will if they choose to waive their tax-exempt status. And this doesn’t apply only to religious organizations. For example, I work at a not-for-profit hospital and we’re are not permitted to officially participate in any political functions, even though those functions could have a profound impact on healthcare.

  8. Praying in one accord You may call the prayer line (865.938.PRAY) for updates and to hear requests submitted by our church family and others. Hospital information and prayer requests are also posted daily.

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