Both apparent candidates for the US Presidency have received considerable criticism in this election year over ties with church leaders. I posted earlier about Sen. Obama's now past relationship with the Rev. Wright here.
Yesterday's news included Sen. McCain's rejection of an endorsement of the Rev. John Hagee, a highly popular, albeit controversial Texas pastor. Hagee, in turn, withdrew his endorsement, citing the criticisms and attacks he has faced. And today McCain has repudiated Rod Parsley, another TBN preacher's endorsement.
Should pastors and religious leaders give their endorsements of political candidates? You can cast a vote on my poll. If you'd like to express your thoughts in a comment PLEASE stick to the question and don't launch into an attack against either candidates or religious personalities. The question is not about them, it's about Constitutional issues of freedom of speech and the relationship of religion, the political process and government.
As a pastor I ask this question over and over in my mind. After all, I am just as much an American as anyone else, so why should my opinion be censored? But then, my position as a spokesman for my church and as an "ambassador" for Christ demands my opinions be very thoughtfully chosen and expressed.
Some questions mulling through my mind...
If I put a candidate's bumper sticker on my car, am I violating some principle or even jeopardizing my church's tax exempt status? Why is it that some churches regularly invite candidates to speak from their pulpits, yet if other's do the same they are threatened and accused of violating some "church/state" laws?
Inquiring minds want to know.