Politics and the Pulpit

Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms have transformed how we communicate and keep in touch with friends. It is great to be able wish a friend happy birthday, congratulate a buddy on his or her promotion or meet the latest addition to a growing family. I actually do enjoy seeing what someone had for dinner, the skunk the neighbor encountered in the backyard, or a family marveling at a beautiful sunset on a beach in Florida, while I stare at the winter clouds out of my office window. The jokes, the memes, the funny animal tricks and the inspirational quotes help not only to brighten my day, but also keep me involved in the lives of the people I care about. Recently, however, the social media platform has become tainted and politicized with ugly comments and mean spirited remarks. Friends and family members are now attacking one another either over their political stances, or gloating over the misfortunes of their political adversaries. Social media has lost its appeal because of this, and what was previously an enjoyable form of communication, now incites anger. Individuals have “unfollowed” friends, and others have blocked their own family members. Some have even completely deleted their accounts! The current political climate has only made things worse.

Imagine if such politicization were to occur in our churches. There is now a movement in our government to repeal the Johnson amendment, which was created to prevent non-profits from using their organizations to peddle political influence. A surprising number of church leaders want this to happen so that they can campaign from the pulpit! Wealthy corporations and individuals could make tax-deductible donations to churches and other tax-exempt organizations who in turn could use those funds to campaign for the candidates of their choice. Church denominations and congregations would begin to be identified with political parties rather than the unity of Christ. Individual church members would no longer feel welcome in their church families if they didn’t support the same party as the majority, and would have no other choice but to go elsewhere, or worse, drop out altogether. Keep in mind that repeal of the Johnson amendment also means that all tax-exempt non-profits, including Planned Parenthood, among others, could ultimately become platforms for political campaigns, supported by your tax dollars. Is this what we really want? What do you think?