Monday, October 06, 2008

Church and state

One of the best takes on the role of religion in the public spectrum, in my assessment, comes from Rev. Beth Long in this article on Rev. Jody Hice's endorsement of John McCain ...

It's important for us to weigh in on public policies and their implications, but not on particular candidates. I don't do it because of our (tax- exempt) status, but I also don't do it because I have members in this church from all across the political spectrum, and I love each of them. I want them all to feel at home here.

And that's about right. I don't understand the rationale that churches should completely avoid politics, particularly seeing how much of the great social movements in our history have been spurred by religious activism (women's suffrage, civil rights, etc.). If people of faith are called to not accept the way the world is, then they have a responsibility to voice their concerns over the pressing issues of the day.

Whether or not that translates into the direct endorsement of a candidate is another thing, largely for the reasons Long laid out, but also for one she did not ... and that's because there aren't any 'perfect' candidate to be endorsed. While one may feature issues on, say, poverty that reflect one minister's interpretation, another might have views on the economy that are more closely in-tune.

And this is why advocacy for individual issues is more acceptable.


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