Fuzzy thinking has once again invaded the pulpits of America, this time thanks to an initiative by the Alliance Defense Fund.
Wrongly, the Alliance Defense Fund claims to be “Reclaiming pastors’ constitutional right to speak Truth from the pulpit”. Sorry, guys, I have that freedom already, thank you very much. The main reason I don’t endorse a candidate from the pulpit of my church is that I understand what the pulpit is for, and it’s not engaging in partisan politics. When I step out of that pulpit, and have private conversations with my parishioners, and I’m asked for whom I’m voting, I have no problem answering the question (it’s already happened twice this election season, and I’ve answered straightforwardly and unapologetically). But the threat of losing a tax exemption has nothing to do with why I’m not telling people, from the pulpit, to vote for John McCain; it’s because I understand my calling to preach the Word of God from the pulpit, and not to allow politics to encroach upon that, that I refuse to endorse any candidate in that forum.
Though I’m no defender of the U.S. government typically, it’s only reasonable that if the government is going to exempt churches from paying taxes (as it should, I believe), then there are some very minimum standards to which churches ought to be held. This is an appropriate one. Pastors can say what they want–they have the freedom to say anything from the pulpit–but they should also understand that with freedom comes responsibility.