“My pastor doesn’t tell us how to vote! What he does is give out a score card that describes what the issues are and then shows what each candidate stands for. But then he tells us to make up our own minds!”
Anyway, that’s the word on the street.
The mid-term election is coming up on November 4; let’s look at two preachers in Anytown, USA, and put this method to the test:
Pastor Smith is guiding his congregation with a list of political issues that he has compiled. He puts in the left column: high taxes, the Second Amendment, American military superiority, gay marriage, the minimum wage, capital punishment, Common Core curriculum, and other issues. In the 2nd and 3d column he has put a sentence or two on where the candidates stand on each issue.
So, says Pastor Smith: “Who stands for God’s truth, Candidate Anderson or Candidate Benchley? I’m not telling you how to vote, I’m just giving you the facts!”
Across town, Pastor Jones designs questions about the environment, the Innocence Project, high military spending, labor rights, the Fourth Amendment, concluding: “I wouldn’t tell you how to vote, but who is closer to the Bible: Candidate Anderson or Candidate Benchley?”Both can claim “I’m not using the pulpit to tell anyone how to vote!” Both might be faithful to the letter of political neutrality, but both would be violating its spirit. And two congregations will go away believing that they know who is God’s candidate for the office – except that they will be backing different candidates.
Even when Pastors Jones and Smith don’t give you a political ANSWER SHEET, he or she is arranging a VOTER GUIDE or SCORECARD so that they lead to a specific end. The same thing happens when a news outlet brings on an expert to tell you The Truth – even experts have an agenda.
In fact, Pastors Jones and Smith might both put, oh, let’s say school lunch programs, voter registration laws, Iraq, the minimum wage on their charts (more…)