It’s pet peeve time, and this peeve has to do with politics in the pulpit. So I will be as succinct as possible.

Stop It.

I think that about covers it.

We all know there are preachers who like to get in the pulpit and talk politics. We hear them on TV and in our neighborhood churches. And not just general mentions about using our best judgment when picking a candidate. I’m talking about everything from promoting a political viewpoint in the pulpit to inviting politicians to use the pulpit to make speeches. So, just so there is no misunderstanding, I want to make sure we understand each other.

Such churches should lose their non-profit status on the spot.

Uh-huh…I bet THAT got their attention.

The fact is, the pulpit is a sacred place. It is the place set apart for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the place where those who have been called by God stand to say to the people in essence, “This is what God said to me. This is his message for us.” and dragging politics into the pulpit bastardizes that holy space.

The church’s purpose, as it has always been, is to worship God, work together to become disciples of Christ, and work to spread the message of Christ to the world (or our part of it). As it says in Acts 2:42, “And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

You see, the church is not a building. It is the people. Those people who hold to the tenets of Christianity wherever they are and in whatever they do. And Christians (like those of other religions) have a gathering place also referred to as “the church” (though there can be a church without a building). And that gathering place is a sacred place, though sometimes we don’t act like it. Even so, there are sacred spaces in a church building, and that includes the altar, the sanctuary and pulpit.

And before you start saying, “Yeah brother…separation of church and state,”  all in the world separation of church and state is, is the fact that the government cannot create a state church; it can’t dictate what church you should attend or to what religion you should belong.

But that should work both ways. If for no other reason, what if the person in the pulpit is wrong? What if they have their own agenda? And all too often it happens…but it has no business happening in the pulpit. If the church has a role in politics it is to provide a moral (not political, but a truly moral) base. It should be a place where the tenets of Christianity are held uppermost, where Christ is truly the head of the church, and leave the people to make their own decisions about politics and everything else based on their morals, their beliefs, and their common sense.

And yes, I know Christ confronted the religious leaders of his day, but he was not the instigator, and religion and politics were intertwined like a pea vine. We have (hopefully) progressed from that point. Even so, Christ never took it to the extent we do.

The pulpit is no place for politics. And please don’t start the tired old argument of how different various church traditions are. We who make up the church were all born from and commissioned by the same Jesus who was tortured to death (yes…his wasn’t a swift death He was tortured for hours and eventually suffocated to death) on our behalf  and rose three days later. THAT is all our tradition.

So how dare those who tout politics from a holy place turn his sacrifice into a vehicle for political gain or the furthering of an agenda other than Christ’s.

My prayer for this Holy Week and Easter season is that we will all hear the gentle whisper of the one who died for us. The one who says to us all, believers and non-believers alike, I did this for you because I love you.

Dear God, teach us to love.

  1. Thomas Smith says:

    Thanks Kathy. It’s one thing to say, Don’t forget to vote” but this is what my relatives call “a whole ‘nother animal.” I appreciate the kind words. Happy Easter.

  2. Well said. I have been in these type of churches and while showing how politics may or may not correlate with what is going on in the world may be important to some, does it matter? It never did or will to me. What matters is bringing people to know Jesus. The sky could be falling, but if you know Jesus your saved. Thanks for the post. I loved it.

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