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Why Pastors Punt on Political Issues

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The other day I was queuing up to speak at a conference about “Raising Righteous and Rowdy Kids in a Rank Day,” but because the last Tea Party I attended was so woefully deficient in pastors during these historic times I decided to switch my topic and put my crosshairs on the squishy, compromised pink flesh of the craven brethren.

Now, this screed is primarily for Christian pastors, but in the spirit of multicultural interfaith yumminess, leaders of other faiths may feel free to apply this message to themselves and send me hate mail as well. Except for the Muslims. This ain’t for ya’ll. We don’t want to tick you off, y’know … because of the whole “kaboom” thing.

Before I give you the master list of reasons why some ministers are limp biscuits, let me go on record as saying that a silent pastor in today’s paranormal climate is about as worthless as a pitch pipe is to Yoko Ono. Look, I don’t care how much the minister likes kitty cats, candy canes, or if he weeps at Celine Dion concerts. If he’s not a part of this crucial societal throw down—pointing out what’s putrid and cheering on what’s proper—then he’s Judas Iscariot in my estimation.

Now, given the upcoming 11/2 elections and that the culture-dividing issues are more obvious than Joan Rivers’ last lip implants, it is mind-boggling to me that many ministers are mute or side with parties, policies and principles that are antithetical to the Christian worldview.

So, why does a large segment of the clergy run from these mondo issues and duties? Herewith are my 10 reasons why pastors punt on political issues and thus aid and abet evil:

1. Fear of man: If you purport to be a man of God then your regard for God and His opinion must trump the trepidation of the creature God created from spit and mud. Pastor, don’t fear us; we’re weird and fickle weathervanes of what’s en vogue. You’ve got to lead us. Therefore, go to the mountain . . . get a fresh dose of holy terror and move into Moses mode and command us to be and do what is holy, just and good. The Howdy Doody approach doesn’t seem to be stemming the current flood of cultural phlegm.

2. Ignorance: Most people are not bold in areas in which they are ignorant . . . always excepting Keith Olbermann, of course. I know keeping up with the major pressing political and cultural issues is maddening for the Nancy Christian, but that’s life, brother, and if you want to be a voice in society and not just an echo, you have got to be in the know.

3. Division: I hate division. Hate it. Not all division but the current non-essential divisions in the church. Squabbling over the color of the carpet, who’ll play lead guitar next Sunday, who’ll fill Eddie Long’s spot at T. D.’s conference, or who the Whore of Babylon is (which I believe after this year’s VMAs it’s a toss-up between Lady Gaga and Chelsea Handler) is stupidity squared.

4. Last Days madness: Many ministers do not get involved in political issues because they believe that it just doesn’t matter because “the end has come” and Jehovah is about to run the credits on this failed earth flick. These defeatists believe that any war, the gulf oil spill, earthquakes, a warming globe, the success of a corrupt politician, and Jessica Simpson’s cleavage are “proof” that God is getting really ticked off and that His only recourse is to have Christ physically return like some celestial Ted Nugent and kick some major butt. Thus, any stab at a better tomorrow is simply an exercise in futility for the end of the world crew.

5. Sloth: Classically defined, sloth is lethargy stemming from a sense of hopelessness. Viewing our nation as an irreparable disaster in which our exhortations, prayers, votes and labors will not produce any temporal fruit leaves one with all the zeal of a dude who’s forced to kiss his sister (Angelina Jolie’s brother excluded, naturally). If you’re wondering why your flock is so apathetic, Señor Eeyore, ask yourself if you have stolen the earthly hope that their valiant efforts can actually prevail in time and not just in eternity.

6. They don’t want to lose their tax-exempt status: Many pastors have been cowed into inactivity by the threatened loss of their tax-exempt status if they say anything remotely political. This fear can make pastors who don’t—or won’t—get good legal advice about as politically active as Howard Hughes was during the flu season. The church may, among other things, register their members to vote, pass out voter guides, invite all candidates in a race to speak (even if only one of them shows up) and speak directly about specific issues. And by the way, in his personal capacity off the clock, the pastor can endorse and support (or oppose) whomever or whatever he wishes, just like any other citizen. Duh.

7. They bathe in paltry pietism: Pastors avoid politics and cultural issues because such concerns are “unspiritual”—and their focus is on the “spirit world.” Yes, to such imbalanced ministers, political affairs are seen as “temporal and carnal,” and because they trade in the “eternal and spiritual,” such “worldly” issues get all the attention of Larry the Cable Guy’s 8-Minute Abs DVD. I’m sure Saul Alinsky and his idol, Lucifer, are so proud. Thank God Calvin, Bonheoffer, Wilberforce and Booth didn’t believe that bunkum.

8. They have bought into the radical Muslim comparison: Pastors have muffled their political/cultural voices because they fear being lumped in with Islam by the politically correct thought police. The correlation made between Christians’ non-violent attempts at policy persuasion and al-Qaeda’s “silence! I kill you!” campaigns is nothing more than uncut, specious doo. Christian, please blow off the tongue-wagging blowhards who try to intimidate you into silence by making the ludicrous analogous leaps in equating the implementation of a gracious, biblical worldview with Sharia Law. Rock the Casbah.

9. They can’t say “no” to minutiae: Some ministers can’t get involved in studying or speaking out regarding pressing issues simply because of the ten tons of junk they are forced to field within their congregations. Many ministers are lucky if they get to study the Bible nowadays—much less anything else—because they’re spending time wet nursing a 30-year-old guy who can’t face life because he didn’t qualify on American Idol or consoling the 40-year-old lady who’s heartbroken that the recession has wiped out her funds for the weekly waxing of her undercarriage.

10. They likey the money: The creepy thing about a lot of ministers is their unwillingness to give political or cultural offense when offense is needed purely due to the fact that taking a biblical stand on an issue might cost them their mega-church (which means their Aspen summer home, their Bentley and their Gulfstream V). Oh well, what do you expect? Christ had His Judas, and Christendom has its money loving harlots.

If the ministers within the good old US of A would crucify the aforementioned then maybe . . . just maybe . . . we’d see their righteous influence cause our nation to take the needed sharp turn away from the progressives’ speedily approaching putrid pit. God help us.

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