Pastor Steve Hickey runs a poll related to pastors' politicizing their pulpits and gets results the opposite of mine.
I could add his poll results and mine and conclude that if you throw South Dakota blog readers together, you'll still find people opposing pastors endorsing candidates from the pulpit by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.. But I can't do that, since Pastor Hickey and I asked entirely different questions. My poll asked, "Do you want your pastor (rabbi, etc.) to endorse political candidates from the pulpit?" Hickey's poll asked "Should clergy (from their pulpits) be able to set forth the Biblical teaching on issues and show how candidates measure up to that standard?"
We also offered different answer options. I simply offered options for "Yes" and "No." Hickey's loaded options elaborated: "YES, the First Amendment/ Constitution trumps IRS code (i.e. 1954 Johnson Amendment)" versus "NO, the IRS is right to extend a benefit (tax exemption) to silence a certain kind of speech." He also included options where respondents could indicate whether they "faithfully" attend church. After some grumbling from me, Hickey added this option: "I'm not a church goer but believe Separation/Church& State means gov't must help pastors write their sermons."
Pastor Hickey acknowledges the weaknesses in his poll, as I try to do with mine. He also notes that Gordon Howie's risible effort to portray himself as the candidate of God in the GOP primary isn't flying with most pastors, who see no Scriptural justification to pick one GOP candidate over another (well, not counting Dave Knudson, according to some fundegelical interpretations).
I'm still waiting to hear any spiritual justification for any pastor to use the pulpit to endorse any fallible human candidate over another. The church should challenge political powers, not praise and promote them.
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