Alpine Summit

Monday, October 24, 2005

Churches and Politics = Oil and Water

Michelle Malkin links to a story about how a Democrat running for govenor has been giving and loaning money to black churches and has thus received the endorsement of the ministers at those churches.

"Blatant quid pro quo-ism," said Democrat Walter Fields, Jr., former political director of New Jersey's NAACP. "We have always had wealthy candidates running for office. What we have never had is that individual wealth being used in such a direct way, and somehow we're supposed to look the other way."

It's nice to see a principled liberal speak out against this. It's quite surprising, actually. I've said before how I think churches should stay out of politics. Their job is to provide for the religious requirements of its congregation. When a church takes an official stance on a political issue, it alienates part of its congregation (theoretically). Plus, Jesus was never concerned with the politics of the day. When asked about a controversial tax, he replied "give unto Caesar what is Caesar's, give unto God that which is God's" (Mat 22:21, Mar 12:17, Luk 20:25).

That said, Jesus also didn't like those who used people's faith as a way to make money (Mat 21:12 Mar 11:15, Joh 2:15). For a minister to use his/her position as a religious leader to make money is despicable. I'm absolutely amazed that this would even be going on! I only hope they see that what they are doing is wrong and correct their mistake. Churches all have money problems--to me, that's a good sign.

A church that is more concerned with staying in the black is not following Christ in faith. It's really amazing how a church can completely do the "illogical" thing when it comes to finances, but the lord provides for them anyway. Last week, I heard a sermon from a campus pastor at one of the Christian groups on campus about how his house was built. Several people came out of nowhere to donate their time and materials to have the house built. For example, the tile and tile work in the whole house was free! The pastor didn't have any money to afford a house, but stepped out in faith that the lord would provide, and he did. Such things conflict with my deist view of God, but then I never said I had all the answers either.

The Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, executive director of the Black Ministers Council and pastor of St. Matthew's AME Church in Orange, N.J., said black ministers have been making personal endorsements of candidates since 1981. The council does not make endorsements.

The problem with this defense is that the pastors are representatives of the church as a whole. A personal endorsement isn't much different from an official endorsement. Because of that, I think the church should end this practice. It's like the PR guy of a company saying "personally, I think what the company is doing is wrong, but officially I support the view of the company." It isn't the place of the PR guy to use his position to further his own opinion.