These days, something new is in the ecclesiastical air: pastors are insisting that “I have the right to be political from my pulpit.” It’s a freedom of speech thing, they say.
The IRS responds that you certainly do have that freedom, so long as you dont mind giving up this little thing called Tax Exemption.
Methinks some pastors are about to find the cost for exercising this freedom is more than they want to pay.
My father has been in Heaven for almost a year now, but he had a perspective on this issue that some of our pastors could benefit from.
One Sunday, Dad drove 50 miles and attended the church my brother Ron pastored in Graysville, Alabama, just north of Birmingham. This was some 10 or 12 years ago, during the Clinton presidency. Ron had a well-known guest evangelist in that day and Dad wanted to hear him.
Later he told me what happened.
“The preacher got in the pulpit and spent half his time slamming the liberal Democrats and cracking jokes about President Clinton.”
Now, my dad was a lifelong coal miner–he worked in the deep pits of Alabama and West Virginia until forced to retire at the age of 49–and a confirmed union member. That almost automatically made him a Democrat, too, at that time. But anyone who thought Carl McKeever was a liberal needs to find some new definitions for his political lexicon! Dad was anything but liberal, and had a low tolerance for fools, whether in politics or any other part of life.
After letting his report on the visiting evangelist’s folly sink in, Dad said to me, “What if there were unsaved people sitting in that church that morning and they happened to be Democrats? How would they have reacted to what that preacher said? They won’t listen to a thing he said about Jesus because they were so upset at what he said about their politics.”
He added, “That’s why a preacher has no business bringing politics into the pulpit.