Pastors, Priests, and Politics -- Part I

Posted: Jul 17, 2004 12:00 AM

As I see it, The God job has two fronts: to reach out to and lock in lost souls and to righteously leaven our current cruddy culture for Him.

First, Pastors and Priests are to study and teach the word of God carefully and apply it to our lives practically, so we don?t end up knocking on the pearly gates castrated, in a Star Trek uniform wearing Nikes and asking where the hell the Hale-Bop comet went.  Additionally, they are called to help their congregants graciously implement God?s way and will, to build the good society in their nation. 

Hear me, man of God: your job does not end when the sinner secures his soul and is guaranteed that he?ll go to heaven, walk around in a peignoir playing the harp, aglow in the promise that he?ll never be in jeopardy of eternally roasting on Dante?s Viking Grill.  Yes, your vocation also entails taking the saved ex-sinner and equipping him to change this planet into something approaching God?s taste.

Ministers have massive influence woven into their job.  Instead of using it to fleece their sheep, to molest altar boys, or simply to dole out clich?like an over-medicated Oprah Winfrey, why not re-align with the scripture and focus on fixing this mucked up culture?  What about using your powerful impact to establish this nation in righteousness, according to biblical standards?

This means you must divide your attention from evangelism and weigh in on all things which effect our culture, i.e., Business, Entertainment, Education and yes, Politics.  All the aforementioned directly affect the health and wealth of the people you are trying to reach and require that you have a biblically based opinion on each category, in order to influence them in ways which honor God.

Given that this is a presidential election year and that the culturally dividing issues are more obvious than Courtney Love?s last lip implants, it is mind-boggling that many clergy are mute or side with parties, policies and principles that are antithetical to what scripture clearly states is holy, just and good. 

With the clear ?secular versus sacred? issues, how can a minister stay silent when he should be at the forefront, challenging evil policies and the politicians and judges who are trying to enforce them, the way Elijah challenged Ahab and Hillary ? I mean, Jezebel. 

In some kind of ascending order, it seems to me there are 10 reasons why pastors and priests avoid political issues, and why they remain silent.
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. 

That said, however, there?s a time and place for a biblical throw-down and an ecclesiastical split from political policies and parties:

· when the taking of an unborn life is the issue, or
· when marriage is being redefined, or
· when runaway judges are attempting to expunge God
and his law from our country?s national life. 

For a minister to seek unity when secularists are trashing and rewriting scripture with impunity, is to side with evil and allow darkness to succeed.  On these kinds of issues, the minister cannot group hug the secular or quasi-Christian thugs who profess them.

? And those are just three of the reasons for the muted ministry.  Stay tuned for the rest and for my ClashPoint!

Doug Giles? latest book, ?Ruling in Babylon?, is available via . He pastors a church in Miami and hosts two award winning radio programs [].