Easter Sunday, 2013, Obama went to church at an Episcopal parish. Well, at least it was not a Muslim church (Always give credit where credit is due).
At this Easter service the minister referred to the “religious right.” In brief he said that they call for going back, going to the back of the buss, going back to your own side of the border, going back to the kitchen, going back into the closet.
He has the right to free speech and to his own opinion no matter how wrong it may be. Obama gives the same type of arguments. He says that right-wingers want dirty water and dirty air. Why? Because they do not agree with his ideas about how to clean them up.
The fact is, I do not know any conservative who wants dirty water or dirty air. However, I do know some idiots who do think the way this minister was speaking. I do not think these people to be the “religious right,” but “religious wrong.” Better terms for such people are: bigot, racist, misogynist…
When faith is used to enslave or impede the physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, economic or social growth or inclusion of a group or individual, that is simply not faith at all. Using the faith in this way goes beyond what Sacred Scripture teaches and contradicts the example Jesus lived. It is rather an expression of man, and not of God.
Rather, faith (Christian Faith) calls us to love all and to hope only the best for them in this life and the next. When we confine ourselves to Scripture and the example of Christ, we see that faith calls us to help and guide people to truth. Truth here means many things. The truth of Who made us and why He made us. The truth of morality. The truth of doctrine. The truth of Natural Law and the impingements it places on our moral life. The truth of science. The truth of history. The truth of our meaning and purpose in life. And the list continues.
Looking at truth then leads us to act in accordance with truth and to live truth in our personal, social and political life. It also calls us challenge and correct groups and individuals who are not in accordance with truth.
Truth is that people of whatever color, gender, race or nation of origin are all created by God in the womb at conception and are entitled to the dignity of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Anyone who says otherwise does not know their Christian faith.
Now – as to preaching and weather we can be political from the pulpit. Section 501c(3) says no, that we cannot or we lose our tax exempt status. Notice that this law does not prevent or make it illegal for us to speak in political terms from the pulpit. It only denies us tax exempt status if we do. Separation of church and state only prevents the state from enforcing a religion on the people. In other words, the separation allows the individual to determine what faith they will be, including no faith at all.
The law has no bearing on this discussion. Rather, we must simply look at what a sermon, homily or preaching is by its very nature and that will tell us what we can do from the pulpit. I will simply use the term preaching to speak of all three terms for this discussion.
Preaching is meant to do many things. It is meant to teach, explain, encourage, support, guide, chastise and correct, to name a few. It finds it origin in the Sacred Scripture and expands from there. It takes the personal, familial, ecclesial, social, and political all into consideration. It takes into account the physical, emotional, intellectual, psychological and spiritual dimensions of the person. To simplify the list of what preaching is meant to cover can be summed up by saying if it deals with the faith or person and it is intended to bring the person to the faith, then it is acceptable.
Think of these questions:
- Is abortion a political or moral question?
- Is slavery a political or moral question?
- Is homosexuality a political or moral question?
- Is misogyny a political or moral question?
These are all moral questions and so are very much in the purview of preaching. The church always has the right to speak on matters of faith and morals. To not speak of them, of what we believe about them and how we are to live in response, is for the preacher to miss the mark and to be a failure in the eyes of God. To miss speaking on such matters is to betray his very purpose and mission as a preacher.
The problem is that so many take these moral issues and politicize them for their own personal gain. This is an offense against God and man. Once they bring them into the political realm, they then try to tell the church that they are no longer allowed to speak of these things because they are now political issues. To get the cooperation of the church, they threaten them where it counts, in the wallet, where so many churches already struggle. This is to say that the church cannot speak unless they agree with the strong arm of the liberal political agenda.
And yet the church still has it’s mission, given to her by God to teach truth. The Constitution guarantees us this right. The IRS (with the “blessings” of government) threatens it.
The result of government taking our voice from us and enforcing their laws on us is to force a new religion. It is an old one called secular humanism, socialism, fascism… In the end, their goal is to enslave us, not liberate us as Christ came to do.
My assessment of this so-called preacher from Easter Sunday is this: He violated a fundamental principal of preaching. It was not founded in Scripture, tradition or doctrine. He was therefore preaching from the perspective of man and not of God. He was in the truest sense being political and not a religious leader with the salvation of souls in mind. He was not preaching, but campaigning.