“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “…appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations”…and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Samuel 8v4-7 NRSV).
During my high school years, I became increasingly aware of the “pastoral political endorsement” as I like to call it. Pastors would get on stage and endorse a particular candidate or political party. It didn’t always come by bringing in the actual candidate, but it was more of “We must vote for this individual to promote such and such ‘Christian’ issues” (see past posts), or “If __________ is elected, abortions will go up, and (literally, this happened to me…) the end of the world will come.” This doesn’t just happen with fundamentalists. It happens with liberal pastors, as well, and all others in-between.
I don’t mind pastors being politically involved, but I’m afraid that “if my pastor says it, that must be who God wants too” will take place. Plus, many non-Christians believe churches are too politically involved. In a sense, they’re saying, “I don’t want to come to church to hear who I should vote for. I’m trying to find God here.”
I believe that God’s heart still breaks when his people promote a “king” to rule us, and, in a sense, we reject him. Many of us promoted Bush, and many of us promoted Carter. I’ve seen many embrace McCain, and I’ve seen others endorse Obama. As pastors, we must lead people to the true King – that is, Jesus Christ. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and this shouldn’t be taken lightly. (Hint: read Jesus for President)
I’m not saying “don’t vote.” I’m not saying, “You can’t have opinions.” I am saying, let’s be careful.