Jim Garlow Discusses "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" on CNN: Worth a Moment to Understand the Issues
I've had the privileged to get to know Jim Garlow at Skyline Wesleyan Church, and I preached for him last year. Jim is a key spokesperson for a movement of pastors that are speaking out against the IRS regulation limiting the ability of tax-exempt churches from endorsing candidates.
Now, let me say that I am not a participant, and I think it is a bad idea to endorse candidates in church. As I mentioned yesterday, the vast majority of pastors agree and, as I blogged:
In case you are wondering, my view is simple: Pastors should preach something more important than politics-- they should preach Christ. They should preach Scripture. When they preach Scripture, they will indeed address issues that the world sees as political, but they distract from their message and mission when they start using the church to endorse candidates.
An old saying explains, "When you mix politics and religion, you get politics." When it comes to endorsing candidates, I believe that statement applies-- it hurts the mission of the church.
However, you should watch Jim's explanation-- he does a good job in the midst of some pointed questions. His argument is not that you should endorse (though he is going to do so), his point is that you should have the right to do so.
For what it is worth, I agree with Jim that churches should be tax exempt AND I also think that it is a mistake for the government to regulate the speech of pastors under the threat of losing your tax exemption. Churches had the freedom to do so for a long time (until the Johnson Administration).
So, I think you SHOULD NOT endorse, but I think the government SHOULD NOT decide if you can. (My stand is not particuarly bold as that is what most people seem to think.)
Take a look at Jim's comments and feel free to weigh in. Also, you can check out the movement's website here.