I have a lot of friends who are pastoring churches. I attend a fair number of different religious assemblies during any given year. I am privy to some of the backstage talk that pastors share with each other. Based on that, and the public postings of some of them on social media, I have to wonder where that Jesus dude went this past year? Because it seems to me that some members of the clergy can’t let it go that “their” candidate lost the election. As a result, they seem to feel that it’s important to take a swipe at President Trump every time they get a chance. Whatsisname is lost in the shuffle.
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Aside from the fact that I’m pretty happy with his foreign policy decisions at this point, I just like the fact that Donald J. Trump spends a bit of every day throwing grenades into the swamp. So it’s no secret that I’m a fan. Unapologetically, I might add.
Consequently, my radar sends out a return every time someone from the pulpit slaps at the president. These slaps come in the form of snide comments, outright accusations of bad behavior, accusations of racism, accusations of hypocrisy.. the list is virtually endless. For purposes of this blog, I include social media from people who publicly identify as clergy as being the pulpit.
You might ask what’s wrong with that? After all, Bonhoffer … etc. The fact is, if you have something legitimate, and can point to a specific instance, with proof, of something that he’s done that’s in opposition to my faith values, I’ll be glad to look at it. But if you want to repeat what you read on the MSNBC website, or take The Grio as your solid foundational base, I’m probably not all that interested. Unless you have video, and it’s in context. That part counts – the sound bites, and edited clips of him dumping fish food on orphans of color are usually not quite accurate.
Why, you might ask, am I holding the pulpit to a higher standard than I observe myself? That’s easy – I’m some bozo author and blogger. These people are charged with spiritual welfare, and their petty grievances against the sitting president are detrimental to my worship experience. As a matter of fact, if they are in a Christian church (With the notable exception of Hispanic Catholics) they’re hurting the majority of their parishioners. But since I like facts, perhaps you should Google the election results of 2016 by faith group. Never mind – here’s a pretty well written item for you.
The vitriol you carry out of the voting booth should not be a part of Sunday, Wednesday, or Facebook services. People listen to you if you’re any good, and your political differences should not be a part of the sermon unless it’s a fundamental issue of evil. Now, I know many of you don’t like the man, but actual, documented evil is not the issue in the cases I’ve seen. Boorish behavior? Not evil. Twitter rants? Not evil. His party removing the adoption exemption in the first budgeting round? Again, not evil, and not even his to own. The list is pointless to enumerate, but you get the idea.
What happened to the frequent citations of 1 Timothy 2? Did that go by the wayside when Obama left the Whitehouse? Is not that imprecation as valid now as it was twelve months ago? Or should you be condemning and judging from the pulpit, in contradiction of what you preached just a year ago?
I’m not asking you to like the man. I am asking you to let it go because of your position in the public eye. It’s not just rude, but it’s hurtful. I know more than one ordained member of the clergy who has broadcast their request to be unfriended if you voted for Trump. My friendship, fellowship, shared faith, and history with you is nothing in comparison with this one vote? I think more highly of you than to take you up on that offer.
Next time you think about saying some of those things you’ve said of late, reflect for a moment. Because if you’re showing the same animus from the pulpit as you did on Facebook (and some of you are) you’re not just throwing away friends, you’re throwing away members of your congregation. You’re throwing away souls that came to you for nurturing.
I know you can do better.
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