What May the Church Do in Politics?

I know, you are not supposed to talk about religion or politics at the table, so if you are talking about both at the same time, you are really pushing it! But fools rush in where politicians fear to tread, so here I go. We have a heavy political season ahead of us, and Allan Bevere at RedBlueChristian provides some helpful answers to the following question:

What exactly is the church allowed to do publicly when it comes to politics?

Although churches are not allowed to directly endorse or oppose a political candidate, “indirect” participation is allowed and includes the following:

  1. Pastors may personally endorse a candidate.
  2. Pastors may personally work for a candidate and contribute financially to his or her campaign. No church may contribute to a campaign.
  3. Pastors may endorse a candidate in print. The pastor’s title and specific church affiliation may also be listed for the purposes of identification.
  4. Pastors may preach on moral and social issues (abortion, gay marriage, economic matters, etc.) which may by implication throw support behind one candidate over another. Churches may also take official positions on such issues, as long as they don’t directly endorse or oppose a candidate in the process.
  5. Churches may organize voter registrations and drives as long as they are directed at all eligible voters and not only toward voters of one political party.
  6. Churches may hold forums where candidates address the issues.
  7. If a candidate visits a church during worship, he or she may be introduced publicly.
  8. Churches may host candidates who may speak from the pulpit, as long as that candidate is not directly endorsed or urges the congregation to vote for her/him.
  9. Churches may distribute non-partisan voter guide giving information on where each candidate stands on the issues.
  10. Churches may use their premises as voting stations.

Those are Allan’s points in brief, but if this is an area of interest or concern for you, I encourage you to go to RedBlueChristian and read the whole article. Of course, what is legally allowed for a church and what is wise are two different issues. What are some of your thoughts on pastors, churches and political involvement?

5 Comments

  1. Bethany says:

    I am both a church member and a political animal, so this topic truly spoke to me. 🙂 It’s good to know that Christians/churches don’t have to quash their political views in church. However, from a congregational member’s standpoint, it’s awkward to hear both the pastor and many congregants “trash” your party or beliefs. As a pro-life Democrat, I’ve been in more than one church where the implication has been that “God is a Republican” and if you aren’t, your faith is somewhat suspect.

    So, I’m all for expressing personal views, but hope that within the church especially, that people will lovingly hear and respect all voices.

  2. Barrie says:

    Bethany, I am also a registered Democrat who is Pro-Life. I know the problems in the Democratic party very well but I feel that if I stay attached to it I can be part of it to fix it. I too am for expressing personal views. It is amazing how intolerant people can get when it comes to politics.

  3. Bethany says:

    Barrie – It’s always nice to know I’m not alone. 🙂 There are probably many Christians that are Democrats, but maybe we’re just not as vocal.

    One of my favorite organizations is Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) which supports and promotes pro-life Democratic candidates. There are actually quite a few in local, state, and even national offices.

  4. Ray Fowler says:

    Bethany and Barrie – Hey, I don’t mind y’all being Democrats as long as you don’t mind me being a Republican! Besides, my sources tell me that there won’t be any political parties in heaven. Just one big party celebrating Jesus Christ as Lord! (Can’t wait!)

  5. Bethany says:

    As I noted in my email, a non-partisan heaven will be… heavenly!!!

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