I don’t speak on political issues in my church.
I don’t support candidates.
I don’t address legislation.
I never take a side on controversial news items when I'm behind the pulpit.
And I’m tired of being called a coward because of it.
On behalf of myself and many Christians like me, I’d like to make a request.
Stop accusing fellow Christians of doing nothing just because we’re not called to do what you’re called to do.
We may not preach on political issues, but that doesn't mean we're sticking our heads in the sand. There are other options.
(UPDATE: This post generated a lot of questions. You can read my responses to them in Why I Don’t Preach Politics (A Follow-Up with Q & R).
Quiet ≠ Cowardice
I'm not a wimp in the pulpit. Preaching from Scripture often means taking an unpopular stand on hard moral issues. Sometimes those stands correspond with current affairs. Sometimes they highlight problems we're ignoring because we're being distracted by the shiny sin-bauble currently in the news.
When I preach, I try to take my cue from God's Word, not the current obsession of the 24-hour news cycle.
But I know what's coming. The next election will be called "the most important decision of our lives." The next (or current) moral issue will be labeled "a defining moment for the church." I’ll get phone calls, emails, Facebook pleas, and drop-bys from people with flyers, petitions, and upcoming rallies they want me to promote.
I’ll be told that if I don’t re-post their meme, promote their cause, or denounce their enemy, I’m
- Ignoring the issue
- Letting the other side win
- Compromising on the truth
- or part of the problem (my personal favorite).
But none of that is true.
Just because I’m not responding to the current cultural/moral/political/social issue the way some people think I should, does not mean I’m ignoring it.
One Person at a Time
Recently, a bunch of pastors were having a heated yet civil Facebook discussion on a moral issue. Several were decrying the silence from our pulpits on it. I commented that I don't mention it from the pulpit because we're ministering directly to people who are suffering from it.
The response was strong and fast. Caring for individuals is fine, they said, but we're not changing things unless we denounce it regularly from the pulpit.