A Holy Bible Wrapped in American Flag
Should clergy be sharing their political opinions with their congregation? A new poll shows church leaders are conflicted.

Conservatives say liberals are stomping on religious liberty. Liberals say conservatives are using Christianity to discriminate against marginalized groups. And nearly every day it seems a new religious controversy makes headlines on cable news and social media.

It doesn’t matter your political leaning; When you’re at the intersection of politics and religion, it can feel like you’re in a minefield.

You might look to your local church leadership for guidance on these tough issues– or you might want them to keep their political opinions to themselves. This disparity in what congregants want out of church leadership is giving some clergy headaches. While many faith leaders feel compelled to use the pulpit to talk about controversial religious liberty issues and influence how their congregants interpret these events, even more are afraid to speak their mind for fear of causing offense.

What’s a church leader to do?

Research Shows Clergy in a Quandary

Barna spent four years studying religious liberty, politics, and clergy members. The report, titled “Faith Leadership in a Divided Culture” asks important questions about Christian leadership and their role in an increasingly pluralistic society.

The grand majority of people of faith believe that “their faith is a force for good” (88%) and “is essential for society” (75%). In general, people of faith believe that their faith is a positive contribution to society. Similarly, clergy members surveyed by Barna believe that they also have a positive role in society due to their faith.

A full 90% of pastors believe it is their role to help Christians understand how the Bible views specific social issues. And yet 50% of clergy feel afraid to speak out on religious liberty issues for fear of offending someone. And that pressure to stay quiet on political and religious issues doesn’t come from outside the church; The Barna study found that it’s the people in the pews that drive the concern.

To add to the difficulty, 40% of pastors feel pressured to speak out about these very same social and cultural issues. Many pastors are walking a tight-rope because they are pressured by some in the pews to speak out, while being afraid to offend others in the very same congregation.

Per the Barna study, the most common topics pastors feel simultaneously pressured and limited in speaking about include: LGBTQ+ issues, same-sex marriage, abortion, morality, and politics in general.

For church leaders, weighing whether or not to speak on a political issue can be one difficult balancing act.

A House (of God) Divided

Roxanne Stone, Barna’s editor in chief says, “The pressure for leaders and especially faith leaders to satisfy everyone on all sides, and to avoid offense, is very real today, especially in the digital era…The public nature of social media only increases the stakes. As the research reveals, the issues pastors feel most pressured to speak out on are the same ones they feel limited to talk about.”

Society is changing. Clergy have to respond to cultural shifts to stay relevant, but it can be difficult. Stone continues, “As challenging as it may be, faith leaders must work to cultivate humility, discernment, and courage in the midst of a divided culture.”

What do you think? The political division in our society seems unlikely to end anytime soon. Should clergy members try to influence the politics of their congregants? Or should they stay apolitical and let their congregants come to their own conclusions? Sound off below.

80 comments

  1. Rev. Rene says:

    In past times the church has always attempted to be the top dog, under the guise of: ” God will disown you if His commands, as passed through His disciples, is not heeded!” This is why wiser politicians have tried to separate the functions and powers of church and state. Unfortunately this tries to forget human nature, the rich and well-connected as well as the power players of the church have a vested interest in how the people are governed and lives are controlled, riches are distributed. This will never change, not now, not ever!

  2. jude carole says:

    What a great question. I’ve often asked myself the same thing. I wish I had the answer. On one hand I think clergy should stay out of politics and then again, if I’m honest with myself , I’m only happy with them if they agree with my politics.

  3. Linda H Deaver says:

    queasy.
    the whole discussion makes me queasy. If you have to go through this much BS to be connected to god–maybe, just maybe, you should take up a different sport….

    1. Carrie says:

      Well said, Linda. It kind of makes me sick to hear what comes from a pulpit. I am a minister but, my political leanings are my own. Ask my opinion I will tell you what I think but, it is wrong for me to try and tell others what they should think. Faith isn’t supposed to work that way! We are here to give guidance and support through personal lives. I will try and change the world around me through acts of kindness and charity, not through being a bully.

      1. Tom B says:

        Carrie…well said…the only way we can meaningfully guide people is by our own actions, which are best as love, compassion and empathy…religion goes way beyond that, using “pulpit power” and freedom of speech to advance political goals (which are just illusory, anyway)…he only commandment that is necessary, and can be voiced, is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”…Peace…Tom B

        1. Lynn Gideon says:

          Tom B; The commandment that you speak of the only one that is necessary, is not a commandment but a small part of Jesus’ teaching on judgement. The first verse says it all.
          Look at all the judgement that is going on around us. Pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give unto your bosom(seat of emotions).

          Mt 7: 1-29 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

          2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

          3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

          4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

          5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

          6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

          7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

          8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

          9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

          10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

          11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

          12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

          1. Tom B says:

            Lynn…Respectfully…I do not know what you are trying to say…I stand by my belief that if everyone treated everyone else as they themselves would like to be treated, there would be no need for religion…think about it…Peace…Tom B

          2. Carl Elfstrom says:

            You better figure out the right way to ask for something, or don’t expect anything. Certain things might even require certain kinds of rituals…and the right correspondences, or don’t expect anything. [Remember Aunt Hagatha]. The right words must also be spoken in the right way. And you better make sure that you and the area of your ritual circle are free of negativity, before you address your deities. It might help to first psychically sweep the area with your besom. If you don’t have a besom, you better get one. Blessed be !

          3. Mike Stazzone says:

            Well as a minister myself I truly dislike the fact that preachers use the pulpit (bully) to urge their constituents to vote or believe one way or another … now my answer is that we just deliver WITHIN the dispensation we are in … which is FAITH AND GRACE … most preachers use the damnation of the Old Testament to move their flock or in this case sheep in one direction or another … now if we as minister’s just follow the words of Christ in the New Testament ( under faith and grace ) then we should encouraging our flocks to feed the poor help .. the sick … house the homeless and so forth … but to scare and intimidate and bully the flock to vote one way or another by using hard core Old Testament views is ridiculous… we are to encourage our flock to love and give and serve those that are in need and by those standards There should be no democratic independent or republican view … only view is what party is behind the REAL VALUES CHRIST TEACHES AND IF IT DON’T include helping …loving …clothing …feeding.. treating folks equally and teaching them to do so then you should be sanctioned as a preacher or minister… we are not governed by THE LAW BUT BY CHRISTS VIEW OF HOW WE SHOULD ACT AS WELL AS VOTE … we don’t need preachers to SCARE OR MAKE THE CONGREGATION FEARFULL of their actions

          4. Rebecca says:

            Tom B I agree with you

          5. Tom Blumenthal says:

            Rebecca (5/1/2019)…thank you…that is the way I truly believe we all should live…Peace…Tom B

        2. BILLY J GROSS says:

          I don’t believe I have read in the Bible, Qur`an or The Torah Were any Disciples Were of a Republican, Democrat, or Independant following. I keep my political views to myself. Church is not the place to deliberate Politics. Bless you all !!! Amen and may Peace be with you all. Rev. Billy Joe Gross

      2. Jean Bakula says:

        That’s wonderful Carrie. I think our political leanings are our own too. Giving guidance and support is hard enough when so many are in need of it. I wish more people tried to change the world through acts of kindness and charity. You sound like the kind of minister we need in in these times. Why add to the confusion around us?

  4. Dr.Rev. Annie says:

    Most religions are political in nature to start with. They support the candidates who support their views on things like abortion, prayer in schools etc. Religion should be about faith not politics, but the fact is, that religions want what any individual wants, someone in power to represent their point of view. I don’t think you can ever stop religions from telling their members who to vote for, but it would be nice if people could really think for themselves, and not just blindly follow their religious leaders. Might as well wish for common sense.

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      Jesus may have stated the golden rule, but he wasn’t the first person who ever did. It can be found in the Wiccan Mysteries which predate Christianity by thousands of years. The best book I would suggest anyone read on that subject, which addresses the golden rule is called The Wiccan Mysteries, by Raven Grimassi. Blessed be !

    2. Patty says:

      Chaplain Patty

      1. Patty says:

        I am under some awesome pastors. I personally know their views because I’m close to them however this is what they teach. Study the Bible book vote biblical. They leave both sides for everyone to read. They say we are not going to tell you how to vote but get out and vote. And I do vote and I am so glad the President Trump brought prayer back into the White House that was taken away and the Muslims were brought in

    3. David Ciambrone says:

      I think churches meed to stay away from “telling” people how to vote and taking positions. But if they insist on doing it, then they should lose their tax exemptions. They should pay all applicable taxes, income, property, sales et al.

  5. Carl Elfstrom says:

    The solution to this seems easy to me. It can be called a marquee, or a bulletin board. If you don’t have one in front of your church put one there. And on it state what your specific sermons are going to be about during specific services, so your congregants will have a choice, and only go to the services when you are preaching about what they want to hear. That ought to make everyone happy, and put more money in the collection plate.

  6. Carl Elfstrom says:

    I’ve been using this blog as my main pulpit, and classroom for going on two years. And the good ol’staff of the ULC have been my main teachers, directing me in what is appropriate and inappropriate to preach about, by not posting my inappropriate comments. As I get better at ministering to others they will post more of my sermons (comments), and someday I’ll get so good at it that I’ll open my own church. Too many ministers went to seminaries for too many years, and didn’t learn nearly enough, if anything at all about what their sermons should consist of, but think their training and ministerial credentials gives them the right to spout off about anything, however they choose, and you better listen and obey their every utterance, or find another church. As an interfaith minister, I’ve studied numerous religions, believe in all of them, throughwhich I’ve come to truly believe and take to heart that we are all truly children of the same universe, mere thought forms in the mind of The All, so I seek to minister to others in accordance with their beliefs, in a way that will benefit them, instead of preaching to them about my personal beliefs, and religious/spiritual path, which is only for others of my faith, and not meant for anyone else. Politics, and other ways of this world have nothing to do with it, so I try to keep that to myself, except in addressing some of the weird topics they give us to discuss on this blog, which I suppose will make us better at ministering by doing so (or at least I would like to think so).

  7. kim says:

    Hank Hanegraaff states his political opinion quite often on the Bible Answer Man program. And, he does an excellent job of it in spite of the fact that his religion is highly flawed. I find myself agreeing with him on politics and not on religious issues. I’d say that we as religionists tend to agree more on current national political issues than on many religious issues. I opposite would be preferable because the Bible says to glorify God with singularity of mind and voice rather than “agreeing to disagree”.

  8. John Owens says:

    On religious issues–

    Most people think religion is just a combination of ritual and philosophy, associated with some deity. I suppose it would usually include those things, but more than an ideology, it is supposed to be a way of life– don’t buy things you don’t need and can’t afford, don’t try to outdo your neighbors in everything, don’t talk too loudly, don’t steal, don’t be a staggering drunk, brawler or a screamer, help people in need, tithe, don’t have multiple sex partners, gossip, be a bully, practice the golden rule, etc. Those practices transfer over into one’s political views, as they should.

    Some values don’t transfer into politics– some gender issues, Holy Days/holidays, views on medicine, welfare, crime and punishment, etc.

    If we practice a modicum of self-restraint remember the golden rule, and try to be helpful and not aggressive toward others, there is no reason we cannot be sensible when it comes to politics and religion.

  9. Rev. Dr. Marion Ceruti says:

    When people come to hear me speak they do not expect a political diatribe. My meetings are 100% spiritual in nature.

  10. Rev. Brien says:

    As a person, you are free to vote and speak your opinions. We may not agree, but I will always defend your right to speak. In much the same way I consider religion. As a pastor, or reverend, or priest, or counselor, you are tasked with helping others in matters of siritual beliefs, what ever they may be. You are not there to force opinions on them, nor are you there to think for them. Freedom of, and freedom from religion must be observed. If not, we are bound to make the same mistakes that have been made all through history. As you help people with their spirit , perhaps we should all bind ourselves to a simple creed, DO NO HARM. Be well.

  11. kim says:

    Mark 15 King James Version (KJV)
    15 And straightway in the morning Pelosi and Shumer held a consultation with the democrats and the media, and resisted Donald Trump, and carried him away, and delivered him to Mueller.
    2 And Mueller asked Trump, Art thou the President? And he answering said unto them all, Thou sayest it.
    3 And the media accused him of many things: but he admitted nothing.
    4 And Mueller asked him again, saying, Answerest thou to nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee.
    5 But Trump yet admitted nothing; so that Mueller marvelled.
    6 Now at that investigation he released unto them one politician, whomsoever they desired.
    7 And there was one named Hillary, which lay bound with them that had run for President as well, who had committed crimes in the election.
    8 And the multitude crying aloud began to desire Mueller to do as he had ever done unto them.
    9 But Mueller answered them, saying, Will ye that I exonerate the President?
    10 For he knew that the democrats had delivered him for envy.
    11 But the democrats moved the people, that he should rather exonerate Hillary unto them.
    12 And Mueller answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the President?
    13 And they cried out again, impeach him.
    14 Then Mueller said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, impeach him.
    15 And so Mueller, willing to content the people, exonerated Hillary unto them, and delivered Donald Trump when he had not exonerated him, to be impeached.
    16 And the democrats led him away into congress, and they call together the whole media.
    17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,
    18 And began to address him, he’s not our President!
    19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.
    20 And after they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to impeach him.

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      After his impeachment, and he has left office, will it be legal for us to say “Crucify him!”

      1. kim says:

        Acts 2:36 Therefore let all Americans know assuredly, that the 2016 election hath made the same Trump, whom ye have impeached both legal and President.
        37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Barr and to the rest of the DOJ, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
        38 Then Barr said unto them, vote, and be conservative every one of you in the name of democracy for the remission of politics, and ye shall receive the gift of freedom.

        1. Rev CH says:

          I’m not sure what the point of the initial post was, but Trump is not, nor ever will be Christ. No human will be. To suggest he is or is like Him in any way (other than perhaps being male) is not consistent with any reference from the Bible. There are churches out there teaching that Trump was appointed by God or chosen by God to do His will, and yet again, there’s no basis in the Bible for such statements. It is this kind of teaching that gives religion a bad name. And as for whether or not churches should be political…first, as tax-exempt organizations, they are not supposed to be political. Based on the Establishment Clause, separation of church and state is supposed to be the law of the land. Does that mean churches can’t take stances on issues that happen to be political? No. If your church is anti-abortion or anti-homosexuality as a deeply held religious belief, then by all means, practice your belief. That’s what freedom of religion is about. That said, when churches use their influence support specific candidates, that would seem to cross the line. It also goes without saying that mega churches that fund hate groups or accept funding from political PACs, they’re obviously well beyond crossing a line.

          1. Patty says:

            I don’t know where you got Pres. Trump is a God. Trump is not a God but he brought pray back to the White House. He is trying hard to make sure the church doesn’t have its rights taken away like what was happen. Is he perfect no. But he has been trying really hard to make our country safe. However I fill the church has a right to voice there view. Every one else dose in our country.

          2. Shane Lowrey says:

            Patty

            Of course they can. But, they will have to pay their taxes if they want to endorse or oppose a candidate.

            Personally, I don’t understand why they don’t pay their taxes anyway. But that’s just me.

  12. Carl Elfstrom says:

    So far, it seems to me that the most open and honest of them all (two of the best characteristics of a leader), is named Buttigieg. I bet he’d even admit to having chopped down a cherry tree. Of course, the same might be said of Biden, but Buttigieg is far less likely to ever put his hands on a woman at all. Just food for thought.

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      I’m not even a democrat, but don’t always vote for my party. It seems better to vote for a morally astute leader of any party (morals being an individual’s set of principles, as it states in the dictionary), if even a bleeding heart liberal, than a tyrant of even my own creed.

      1. Marcelo says:

        I believe Church and State should be separate. I do not find anything wrong with promoting the positive general sense and ideas of religion that encompass ALL people, no matter their upbringing, as long as it does not infringe upon their personal religion, identity and family systems. For me, it’s about looking out for the welfare and wellbeing of everyone. Helping each other out and giving a hand to anyone who is in need. Of course, it’s also about giving people a hand in a morally, empathetic and societal fashion so that they may be able to fend for themselves…”give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”.

        Also, understand that not everyone is in the same frame of mind as you and their reality is different to yours. Speak, guide, advise people while being aware that their strengths, weaknesses, life situations, abilities, both physical and cognitive are different to yours and focus on what you have in common and binds you to each other. We too will one day need someone to give us a hand to help us get up, lend us an ear to listen to us or provide a shoulder to lean on.

        We as ministers, spiritual guides and leaders, friends and family members have a responsibility to pause, think and respond instead of reacting in a way that hinders and suppresses others. May you all be well. I send you all my love and best wishes now and always.

  13. Mark Hannon says:

    I know churches that refuse to use the book of James because they feel it is too socialist and doesn’t confirm the deity of Christ enough.
    For myself I like the book of James.

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      I know of churches that refuse to use the entire Bible for anything other than making paper airplanes, and rolling joints, which are supposed to take them higher, closer to Heaven.

  14. Jeff says:

    An educated populace should never have to be “told” by any leader how to vote or stand on an issues. Churches should educate everyone to the tenants of the Bible, provide the teachings for a strong moral compass and trust that will direct their lives and, in turn, their politics. If any church decides to become a branch of any political party, strip them of their tax status and assign them the name of a political lobby.

  15. mark marcelis says:

    Clergy should stay out of p[olitics…always..

  16. Albert A Hernandez says:

    It’s a tough question, really. But if gays can enter the political arena, then we need strong Christian ministers. America has deviated too much from God’s laws and principles, and we are paying for it. Perhaps you should read my book, “The Audacity of Truth,” available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon. It’ll answer a lot of these questions and comments. God bless all.

    Rev. Albert A. Hernandez, D. Div.

  17. Lo says:

    Separation of church and state; or taxes paid and political views accepted.

  18. Blendena says:

    I feel that Church and State/Federal stay separate. Especially the wild eyed stuff that is spewing out of supposedly religious people translating the bible to fit their hates.

    1. Donald Redfield says:

      Yes, we are to love one another and Christ has loved us. Looking for reasons to hate is far away from the message of the Christ.

  19. Bro. James the Apostate, OSHSF says:

    Just from one perspective, Jesus spent the majority of his supposed three year ministry exposing the hypocrisy of the religious [political] leaders of his day (in the little red-lettered words). There are tax codes to enforce should a pastor feel “led by the spirit” to become too active in partisan politics. Although many preachers go into ministry for honorable reasons, those who feel they “speak for God”, especially pertaining to politics, have been smitten by their own egos.

  20. Paulette Gagnon says:

    I believe the ideal of separation of Church and State was for good reason. As we can see now, more than ever, not only are many evangelists turning “religion” into big business which they most of all profit from, but are touting a party line from the pulpit. They also are discriminating against other religions to their congregants…so unlike the love thy neighbor philosophy religion was intended to be. Also many politicians are now identifying with a religion hoping to garner support from those evangelists and their congregations. This linking of politicians and clergy, to me, only serves to delegitimize the religion being represented. No wonder so many of the youth of our country are disillusioned with organized religion. In many cases the message from the pulpit can be bought by politicians who come and go, which then cheapens the true Message which was to be everlasting.

  21. manuel Valle says:

    Clergy should stay out of politics. We now have prominent clergy, and others (the latest, Trumps campaign manager) declaring Trump the new messiah.

  22. Charles Jenkins says:

    Clergy should stay out of politics. Founding fathers penned separation of church and state for a reason.

  23. Humphrey Mosley says:

    If it is acceptable for so called “Stars” to pontificate on Political subjects, and in the process show their ignorance on the subject; then why is it not acceptable for men and women of the cloth, who are educated and have experience of ‘real’ lives to give their opinions?
    Hatred shown by some in place of reasoned argument is in my opinion the major cause of the divide in this country.

  24. TK says:

    Everyone can speak and everyone should be paying taxes as well.

  25. Humphrey Mosley says:

    Actually, the Founding Fathers wrote no such thing! The First Amendment says
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
    So to make a law about separation of Church and State would violate the Constitution. There are many such myths about the Constitution quoted by people who have never read it.

  26. Rj Levesque, Jr. says:

    A church or church leaders have no business in politics AT ALL!

    1. Albert A Hernandez says:

      You are very right. The church is comprised of the saints, those who believe in God and salvation through Jesus Christ. Politics is comprised of liars, those of the devil.

      Albert A. Hernandez, D. Div.

      1. Kim says:

        Politics is where good moral leaders are needed. Instead we see the stupidity of removing the very thing needed in politics

  27. Oldaabill says:

    My High Priest does not claim a tax exemption as a religious organization. He speaks about any issue He wants to talk about, even if it is political. He serves God not money. He requires his followers to pay money or respect to whom it may be due. His rules are simple and easy. What could be better?! The issue of preachers being able to talk about politics is based on whether or not the preacher (his church) wants to be exempt from taxes.

  28. a druid says:

    The first amendment prohibits the government from interfering in religious matters. It may be implied from this that religion is expected to keep to religious issues.
    Religious organizations are left out of taxation and are therefore not expected to behave as political action groups.
    It is egregiously improper for pastors to take political stands and especially wrong for pastors to invite politicians to speak directly to their congregations.(often for an “offering” or promise of future faith based initiatives.)
    The founding fathers were honest gentlemen and expected the same from the clergy.
    Just an observation.

  29. Liam Wilkinson says:

    The Bible is the syllabus for what should be taught in Church. We are not to be “of this world” and should not involve the church in political matters. Lead by the example we were given. NOT by legislation or affecting the vote.
    The Constitution is very clear on this matter in Amendment 1 and Amendment 14 and was written well within the parameters of what the church should be doing… teaching scripture, spreading the gospel, ministering to the sick, the elderly, and the needy. Advising those in crisis of faith. Bringing the youth up as Christians.
    Teach to live as we have been taught to live and not how to “get out the vote”.

  30. MONIQUE L PROULX says:

    Separation of Church and State.

  31. kim says:

    Once can scream “separation of church and state” all one wants but that’s not the intent of the constitution. Nor is it intended to keep religion out of politics. Donald Trump has a lot of parallels with what happened to Jesus. A raging elitist mob resisting someone who gave up everything to serve the people and not their establishment. As with Jesus, I find great respect for what Donald Trump has done but that doesn’t mean Trump is in any way the Messiah. In actual probability, he will eventually fail to stem the tide of insanity this nation has fallen into. But, I’m going to laud his effort and support him while I still can.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…..says NOTHING about religion staying out of politics.

    1. Rev. John D. Partin says:

      Kim, keeping religion out of politics is implied right there in that Amendment because government infiltrated and saturated by religious people and Christians, especially, can’t have a Congress that refrains from making a law or many laws respecting an establishment of religion and preventing the free exercise thereof, since religion combined with government is what we had during the Middle Ages in Europe and resulted in the Inquisition and what we had in Salem, Massachusetts and 18th century America and resulted in the Salem witch trials. That is just what government combined with and controlled by religion does and can’t help doing!! The Pilgrims fled to this country from England and the Church of England’s domination of the government and society there, not allowing freedom of religion, so that they could have freedom of religion. They didn’t go through all of that struggle of coming here and building a new life here, just so that they or we could start the same thing that they fled from here all over again!! Religion combined witb government is called theocracy, such as they have in Iran!! We don’t need that kind of tyranny and restriction here, which is inevitable when religion saturates government and is combined with it. So, by all means, let’s keep religion out of government and government out of religion and those two separate. They aren’t a very good mix at all!!

      1. Rev. John D. Partin says:

        Correction: Religion combined with government is called theocracy, such as they have in Iran!!

  32. Secretary3rd says:

    Rules in 501 (c) (3) says a religion does not speak for any political matter. If you do the IRS voids you status.If you want to speak for any hack do it outside of your church. Remember Rev. Jesse Jackson running for POTUS and the trouble he got in with the IRS. They read the riot act to him, threaten his lost of the 501 (c) (3) status. So be warn while you might serve God The IRS is more powerful.

  33. kim says:

    free speech is not restricted by 501 (c) (3). If a pastor has an opinion and voices it, that has nothing to do with running for office while holding his 501 (c) (3) status.

  34. kim says:

    church is the BEST place to discuss politics. Especially concerning antibiblical and/or anti-moral laws and dictates proposed by those who seek to be political leaders.

  35. Amber says:

    No. There are already too many crazy things going on in politics to throw religion into it. It was constitutionally designed to keep each out of the others pockets and it should stay that way.

  36. ?Rod Gesner says:

    While Ministry can have many Facets To help To heal.. Etc…
    To Ignore Evil and Avoid Speaking against it; is as Politically Enabling as Promoting it..

    “For Evil to Triumph all it takes is For Good People to Do NOTHING”

    So Speak out against Evil and Hate Filled People;
    Educate ALL To What it means To Walk in The Light of Understanding, Compassion, and Forgiveness…

    But Keep the Promotion of Political agendas; and More Specifically Candidates and Parties; out of The Church! out of the SERMON!..

  37. Reb TK says:

    I think we expect too much from religion, as we do any other institution we have set in stone.
    We tend to be concrete in our thinking, and we lend our concreteness of thought to the exclusion of the great reality of creation around us: everything we could possibly think, imagine or want is right here before us… but we don’t allow ourselves, or others, the wriggle- room to enjoy creation… we are particularly peeved when we perceive that others seem to be enjoying creation before we do… how dare they? Response? We better reel those folks in…!
    Religion serves its purpose… it’s meant to be only what it’s meant to be: ways of interacting with and interpreting what surrounds us. The same can be said for other areas of study which altogether could take us far…If we weren’t so concrete.

  38. Dawn Pisturino says:

    Ministers should speak out on issues that are immoral according to the laws of God. If they do not, they are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

  39. Reb TK says:

    And while Jewish and not a Christian… there is something to be said on the political side which I do not think I have seen posted yet, though I could be mistaken. Something about “render unto Caesar that which…” and “render unto g-d that which… and etc.” Peace.

  40. Shane Lowrey says:

    The Rule of Thumb is simple (and, also the Law for non-profits tax exempt status in the US), you can speak on issues, but, you can not endorse or oppose a candidate, in print or from a pulpit, nor, can they contribute to candidate’s campaign.

    I would expect all clergy to speak on issues. I will report any who endorse (or oppose) a candidate. The IRS is not hard to contact.

    Private conversations aren’t covered. Voter education drives, if nonpartisan in the courts view, are permitted. (Lots of wiggle room there.) Candidates can speak on their campaigns at a church, provided all cadidates running for that office are invited, and, they are presented in a nonprejudical manner.

    The law is the Johnson Ammendment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnson_Amendment It’s named for LBJ, before he was President, inacted in 1954! It has never been an issue until quiet resently.

  41. Tony says:

    If a political issue crosses the line into faith, I think discussion of the issue is appropriate. Abortion would be one example. Simply to rant about politics or support a particular candidate is not a reason. Address the issue and let people decide who to vote for. Everyone likes a candidate for various personal reasons and we should respect their right to free thinking. At best most politicians are hypocrites. At worst, most politicians have less of a clue than their constituents.

  42. SGT. JOHN JOSEPH DAWBER USMC says:

    OUR CONSTITUTION CLEARLY STATES, FOR THE GENERAL WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE. THE FIRSTAMENDAMENT STATES THE GOVERNMENT IS NEUTRAL ON RELIGION . THERFOR WHEN ACTUTE SITUATIONS OCCUR. SOME SITUATIONS MAY BE HANDLED BY THE CIVIL GOVERNMENTS. SOME SITUATIONS MAY BE HANDLED SUCH AS PRAYING IN FOX HOLE.HOLE!RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED. JOHN JOSEPH DAWBER USMC SERGEANT OF MARINES.

  43. Maurice Slaunwhite says:

    The Lord God said to pray for your government he did not say to judge the government. If a pastor does the right thing guide the government this way by telling them to do everything According To the will of God and you will have a good government. Remember In God We Trust. A Quote That was by President Abraham Lincoln. God bless you all and may the United States of America have a Godly Government President Donald Trump.

  44. Fenix O'Dell says:

    It is ok for clergy to state their personal opinions when no acting in an official capacity. It is absolutely not ok or appropriate to talk politics under any circumstance when acting as an official because you are straying to far from the topic you should be on. You can not properly teach and lead in your religion if you are using your influence to alter opinions that have nothing to do with the religion.

  45. Zob says:

    Jesus answered this question in his Sermon on the Mount. The “Religious Right” of his day were trying to trick him by asking him if his followers should pay taxes to the government. That was when he replied, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.
    In other words… obey the secular laws, pay your taxes, and keep your religion separate from your politics.

  46. SHAUN says:

    FACT IS THAT WE ARE TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOURS – AND SO WE SHOULD 1/ GET PROPERLY INFORMED – OR YOU WILL BE A PAWN OF THE DEVIL*. 2/ AND USE EVERY PLATFORM WE CAN – ESPECIALLY WITH THE SATANICLY INSPIRED (LIBERAL LEFT GLOBALISTS/SO-CALLED ‘POLITICALLY CORRECT’/ SJWS/FEMINISTS/ETC) MAKING WAY FOR THE SATANICLY INSPIRED (ISLAM)….*SEE YOUTUBE RED ICE TV, LAUREN SOUTHERN, PAUL JOSEPH WATSOM, MARK DICE, MILO AND (EXCEPT FOR RELIGION – AND HES A BIT SWEARY) UNDOOMED. AS FOR SITES SEE THE IRONICALLY NAMED http://WWW.RELIGIONOFPEACE.COM AND http://WWW.CHICK.COM

  47. Brian Balke says:

    Spirituality is the negotiation of the boundaries between the “I” and the “we.” Culturally we have two institutional expressions of that process. Religion seeks to merge us back into the Unconditional Love from which we emanate. Politics seeks to organize us under laws made by men.

    That may not seem entirely contradictory, but it is: Unconditional Love is permissive; it judges nothing and heals everyone (“God sends his rain upon the good and the evil.”). Law is repressive – it defines what is allowed, deploys executive power to prevent wrong-doing, and punishes those that succeed anyways.

    The proper role of a religious authority, then, is to seek conciliation and healing among those divided by evil. In analyzing political pronouncements, the pattern is then: what wrong-doing motivated this policy? How do we achieve healing? If we succeed in the goal of healing, would this policy still be necessary? OK – let’s focus on the healing.

    After all, isn’t it better to have the clearest case possible that it is through the support of the Divine authority that we have achieved our aims, rather than muddying the waters with political authorities?

    The most impressive political confrontations in the Bible were always by men of faith standing up to politicians that challenged their faith. Moses, Daniel, and of course Jesus and the Apostles are all wonderful examples, but not the only ones. I would like to see this happen more often. Great examples in our age include Gandhi and MLK Jr.

  48. Rev J says:

    Election 2016: Time To Decide
    October 16, 2016—It was only a matter of time. As the political season
    continued to unfold, and the nonsense and crisis at the top of the ticket began
    to mount, I knew that it was to be my duty at some point to speak about it at
    our Masses.
    Now there are those I know who say that political talk does not belong
    in the pulpit and they cite the separation of church and state. They are wrong.
    In fact, a recent article by a leading historian in the The New York Times
    1
    called
    for this phrase to be removed from the public discourse since it does not
    portray the intent of our Founding Fathers who had fled an oppressive
    government that dictated their religion in order to build a home on these
    shores that allows the basic human right of religious freedom. The separation
    of church and state means that those who govern can not and must not tell
    us how, who, and where to worship.
    In fact, those early leaders welcomed the voices of religious leaders in
    all matters political. Oddly enough, I never hear a whimper of complaint from
    our Southern friends (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and their band of rebels)
    when certain political leaders are invited to stand in Southern Protestant and
    2
    black church pulpits to spread their message. This includes the present
    Democratic nominee and her husband when they rally those same church
    crowds to their cause. Hence, our discussion here in this church this morning
    of the critical matters of this election is just about as American as it gets.
    Let me make this very clear, I am no fan of Mr. Trump and the recent
    media firestorm over his inappropriate and vulgar words is reprehensible. But
    he is not running for Pope! And let me remind you that his vulgar comments
    reflect a vulgar society. Our world has all but collapsed because of behavior
    that is now acceptable—behavior that you and I often turn a blind eye to in
    our own families and in our own homes.
    Have you ever been stopped at a red light with the car next to you
    blasting music that uses every foul word imaginable over and over again?
    Have you gone past the Halloween costume store on Airport Road or near the
    malls and watched the people going in and out and wondered whether they
    were buying costumes or already wearing dark costumes? Have you heard the
    First Lady’s reflections about the bands and music that she and her daughters
    listen to only to realize that they are fans of rappers? This is music that speaks
    of violence and death to police and is laced with vulgar words and phrases—
    words that make one cringe and offend those of us who are trying to live
    3
    decent and kind lives. Our society has gone off the cliff and these pre-election
    days are proving it.
    But let us get to the topic at hand: in just 23 days you and I and citizens
    of patriotic devotion across this nation will step into voting booths to choose
    our leaders on both a local and national scale. I am asking that you not leave
    your Catholic faith at home. Bring it with you to make those choices. I am
    not asking that America be Catholic. I am asking that Catholics be Catholic!
    As for our president, I cannot vote for the Democratic nominee who
    believes that abortion, right up to the very moment of birth, should be legal.
    It’s called Late-Term Abortion and it’s a platform of her campaign and an
    example of her brand of democratic principles. I find it shocking and
    disingenuous that a woman who touts her life and campaign as one dedicated
    to women’s rights would support and mandate the killing of women, since
    more than half of those innocent little ones that end up in a garbage bin are
    girls. I cannot vote for Mrs. Clinton since my immortal soul would be in peril
    by cooperating in the destruction of innocent human life.
    Further, a vote for her will also allow her the power to recreate the
    Supreme Court in the years ahead. And our laws, already on the cliff of
    immorality, will go over the edge for this generation and for the next. And
    4
    let’s be clear that she, her party, and her leaders (including the current
    administration of these past eight years) hate us. They hate Catholics. Let
    me say it again: they hate Catholics. They hate everything that we stand for
    and the virtues and values that we hold as sacred. They hate the Church and
    the Divine Master that we love and serve. And we have the evidence of this in
    the email traffic from her top leaders saying that they must infiltrate and
    topple the Catholic Church, and do it from within, to bring us up-to-date with
    their immoral principles and ways of living. How despicable and bold is that?
    That in our country built on the basic human right of religious freedom, these
    potential leaders who claim to be liberal and accepting of all things would
    draw the line on Catholics like you and me.
    In fact, the President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops for our
    nation, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, when discovering the intent and content of
    these emails said this:
    “We … expect public officials to respect the rights of people
    to live their faith without interference from the state. When
    faith communities lose this right, the very idea of what it
    means to be an American is lost.”
    5
    As for Mrs. Clinton’s years of public service—another platform on which
    she builds her campaign—well, as you know, a few weeks ago I finished a
    military career of 36 years. I would never have reached that milestone had I
    done what Mrs. Clinton did with classified material when she served as
    Secretary of State. I would have been court-martialed and perhaps even jailed.
    The only people the Clintons have served are themselves and their spirit of
    unbridled entitlement as they line their coffers with cash from donors who
    stand against us and openly oppose our values. Do you want more evidence?
    Take a look at the lawsuit brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor in
    Washington, D.C. who refused to apply the Obamacare mandates of
    contraception and abortion coverage to health coverage for their employees
    and won the first round before the Supreme Court.
    My friends, these are critical decisions. These are critical days. You and
    I must use the power of our vote as Catholics informed and supported by our
    faith to make the correct decision and to rescue this republic from the abyss
    of destruction. As the late great Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said,
    “What the world needs most is a voice that courageously
    speaks the truth, not when the world is right, but a voice that
    speaks the truth when the world is wrong.”
    6
    The time is now to speak the truth, vote the truth, and save the nation
    that we love and we call home.
    My friends, my name is Father Bob Marciano and GOD approves this
    message!

    When speaking from the pulpit one is speaking to the supposedly faithful parishioners. Not to the general population of the country. Being that we of the faith, which ever that may be for you, this is the speaker’s crowd. In other words we follow the same guidelines and beliefs together. And yes it is up to all pastors and ministers to remind all of the faithful to be bound by their commitment, that they took to be one of the faithful, and to run your life and to vote accordingly. Here Father Bob is not asking all voters in general to vote by the Catholic church teachings, but he is reminding us that all professed Catholics vote Catholic. A very important distinction here is it not? If you profess your allegiance to anything then to abandon it means you are, in this case, a C.I.N.O. or Catholic In Name Only. I am a Vietnam conflict era male and it was a saying among our armed forces, If you your gonna talk the talk you need to walk the walk. If you do not do so you are a sham and a liar. I am also of native American decent and it has always been said by native Americans that the white man speak with forked tongue. If you talk the talk then you better walk the walk. Why is the Catholic church in so much trouble today? Because they are very good at talking the talk but they do not walk the walk. Filled with liars and sham shepherds.
    God Bless
    Rev J

    1. Doug says:

      Father, I appreciate your post. As a Canadian Catholic, most of what you have written also applies to Canadian Catholics.
      Why is the Catholic Church in so much trouble today? I believe it is because our shepherds do not preach on the specifics of our faith. Homilies that preach peace and love are all very good, but avoiding specifics regarding abortion, contraception etc. leaves the impression that these can be a matter of conscience, which they are not as far as the Church is concerned. The subjective tailoring of the Catholic faith, due in large part to an avoidance of the proper catechizing of the faithful, has diluted the adherence to the true faith.
      Not everything in the world today is of Christ and God. Some things are bad; our society’s insistence that they are good is wrong and if we ignore it, then we’re agreeing that the emperor’s wearing clothes. If he’s not, then he’s not. Saying he’s clothed so as not to offend someone is foolish.
      Regarding the point of this column, whether ministers should be political, is related to my response to you. We should all be promoting our faith and educating the faithful in the tenets of our faith. If that means that a candidate fails to measure up, then so be it. But that’s for the faithful to decide in the voting booth. If a minister points out that one party is pro-life while another is not, for example, I don’t see that as a problem, though.

      Vivat Jesus!

      Doug

    2. Mike Stazzone says:

      I think your being to hard on Christians in general (non catholic) let’s just take that late term abortion subject you threw out there … you never mentioned that it’s to protect the life of the mother who is actually living In The real world supports a family yet you feel that she should die to reenforce your anti abortion rule then do nothing for the child after birth … the hypocrisy is almost funny …. a woman’s right to chose is her right and for any MEDICAL REASONS saving her life to continue to support her family outweighs your needless concerns about abortion later or early when all you
      Do is pass the child off to who knows what where or who ….. quit feeling so self Persecuted because your a catholic…. we’re all “gods kids “ read the book oh and read the Bible once in awhile as well

  49. Kristin Carpenter says:

    Absolutely not! When you mix politics and religion, you’re gonna cause a massive storm, and the fallout will be incredible!!! Of course, religious leaders can voice their political opinions, and politicians can voice their religious opinions, but I feel that church and state should be left separate. When you throw religion into the mix, people start doing all kinds of stupid stuff and they can get away with it by saying, “God told me it’s ok. In god’s name…”, and that’s how people get hurt! Look at all the wars that are and were fought “in God’s name”, and look at the devastation that was left in it’s wake.

    I feel that politicians will use religion to bend the law or pass laws or bills to line their pockets, make things easier for them and their friends, or otherwise make things more difficult for the people that are seriously affected by their choices. And I feel that religious leaders can take advantage of the 5th amendment and how protected it is, to warp the laws and bills being written and passed to make people worship, or pray, or whatever else, when they don’t want to. Like how some schools make kids pray in the morning, even if they’re not raised in a religion, or they have a religion where they don’t pray or don’t pray the same way others do.

    Maybe if the world wasn’t such a living hell, then maybe we could combine the 2 to make the world a better place. But everyone is suing everybody for some stupid reason or another, people are still being killed, maimed, bullied, excluded, or discriminated against bc of their religious or political views and preferences, so what makes people think it’s a good idea to combine them in the world today?? They are both highly combustible topics, and I think mixing the 2 would make for an extremely volatile environment. I look back when church leaders were in charge. And I think about all the innocent women who were killed for witchcraft, people who were crucified, beaten, hung, whipped, stripped of their land, money, and titles, exiled, &/or killed because they didn’t practice the same religion as the heads-of-state or government officials did. And I think about all the cultures, tribes, other religions, and people that were nearly or completely eradicated because they were different. And still are! Most of those choices were made because politics and religion were hand-in-hand, so in order to keep history from repeating itself, we’ve got to learn from past mistakes, and learn how to go down a different road and not make the same choices as people before us!

    I’m not saying that politicians and government officials shouldn’t be religious or have faith, and I’m not saying that religious leaders and church goers shouldn’t be political and have a stance on their government. I’m just saying that it can be incredibly dangerous for them to be in bed with each other again.

  50. fred says:

    Well fellow thinkers , I must admit to live by a myth then to guide people to great beyond is all fine .but to force your world view on myth believers in a way to effect them in the real world is just plain silly. Have to really think on it, if your town is taken over by people put in office by their group of like minded thinkers . Kind of leaves everyone one else out right, Hold up have to get late up date from the voice in my head telling me what to impose to prove I am right never does the voice disagree with how I feel. WHY SHOULD YOU!!!!! ? come on to let the controller of the myth be able to have any power outside their house of worship is very dangerous. like I say history is never written by the loser. but the memes live on thanks to the myths. some look at religion as a slave to self imposed denial of life and knowledge. in favor magical thinking all can be made right with a few kind words. look around see what will happen in a THEOCRACY. where questioning is not allowed to kept the myth alive. until the next group puts in it’s way. I VOTE HELL NO!!! FREEDOM FROM RELIGION WILL TAKE ON NEW MEANING when you are denied to think freely and question openly no religion wants free thinking.

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