Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dear Clergy, Please Keep Politics Off the Pulpit

Today I went to church for the first time in a long while.  I figured that Year of Jess probably should involve some spirituality, so I decided to branch out and try a different sort of church than the one I am used to.  I settled on one in downtown Salem.  I should have worn a t-shirt to explain these things, but I wasn't sure what the dress code of the church was.  Any who, there I was, finding myself enjoying the service.  The reverence.  The connection with God.  Prayers.  And then came time for the message.  These were my thoughts through the message:

Great point!
Le Sigh.
*wants to leave service and hit head into pew.

The clergyperson had decided to insert a very pointed political statement in the middle of the service.  Dear clergymen, women, priests, fathers, sisters, pastors, etc. please leave your politics OFF the pulpit! I recognize that my own faith feeds what I believe on various political topics--we all do this.  Our faith, no matter what we believe, shapes how we see the world.  However, when I enter a church, I am there to meet with a community that celebrates God/Jesus/Holy Spirit, not the fact that they hold the same political views as I do.  Perhaps my frustration is that, when politics are delivered from the pulpit, there is no discussion.  It is a close-ended statement, and I have no ability to say, "I object!" or, "Can you explain what you mean by that?" This is not to say that I don't think politics should ever be discussed at church--not at all, but it seems that the pulpit is not an acceptable place to do so.  In my experience, I have seen countless people of faith feel like their faith is less than, because I have seen it happen repeatedly.  The pulpit, in my eyes, should be a sacred place to talk about the Holy Text--it should not dictate who I vote for, or my politics.

What do you think?  Should the pulpit be used for politics?  Where is the line between a pastor sharing their opinions about politics, and it being defined as God's law?

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