Pastoral Advice For Pastors Regarding Politics During Pastor Appreciation Month

One week from today there will be an election. According to the pundits, this will be the most important election – ever!!1!1!11!!

I get it completely: it is important to voice your opinion and vote. Except stupid people. Not everyone should vote. People who go and vote without knowing any of the issues, or anything beyond what party they are supposed to vote for, are a danger to the Republic and should stay home eating fatty foods and taking drugs. We’d all be better off that way, IMLTHO (In My Less Than Humble Opinion.)

But for those of us voting, I should like to submit that the last thing I want to/need to hear is a religious leader telling me how to vote. Any religious leader. (This rant is not directed at my pastor – want to make that clear.)

Here are some of the problems I have with that whole deal based on attending dozens of different services with different preachers over the last 14 years:

You can’t stand in the pulpit every week and tell me God has it covered and then tell me that the boogeyman from the other party will ruin everything.

You can’t ask me to pray for our leaders during one administration and then tell me to oust them during the next.

No sermon should ever have the terms “Jug-eared Fool” “That Horrible Orange Man In The White House” “That Racist, Misogynist” or any other derogatory term toward the President of the United States.

Period.

For 8 years there was a man in the White House that I didn’t agree with in any way, and I didn’t say a word to my fellow congregants. Nor, for that matter, did I hear any pastors speak out against him. But now it’s just fine, almost expected, to criticize the man in that office because – well it’s a long list very short on specifics. I marvel at how Donald Trump went from being a hero for his race relations and philanthropy in 2014 to being a demon who hates everyone that doesn’t look like him in 2015. Funny that. And when I ask for specific examples, people either stop talking or come back with something the media said he said. Donald ain’t perfect, but he’s not a racist. (I’m still waiting on Omorosa’s tape.)

In the highly-paraphrased words of Michael Jordan, Republicans go to church as well. And they listen to the preacher’s message every week.

I know some of you will grind your teeth and tell me what an awful person I am for this blog today.

I don’t care.

For me it comes down to the same set of goals you should have when creating good writing/movies/music. How is that? If you can make me suspend my disbelief and buy your story, you’re doing a good job. If you keep putting jet airplanes in a story about 1936, I’m calling shenanigans on you, and thinking about Googling that thing I was pondering before the service. Same goes for interjecting your political opinion into a sermon. Praising any president for a job well done is nice, but not appropriate from the pulpit. Same for condemnation. If you’d like to do that, take to another platform. If you serve communion there, it should be a politics free zone. It’s that simple.

Recently I was listening to a young preacher really bringing the word. He was doing a great job of energizing the crowd, telling his story, lifting us up. Scripture right at the front, scripture all throughout the first part of the message. About 10 minutes into the sermon, he took a few seconds to slap at President Trump with name calling. It didn’t even fit in the message. I got really busy thinking about other things while he went on talking. Truly a shame, as he’d been doing pretty well until that moment.

But he had to go there for some reason. Maybe because the preacher thought the audience needed to hear it to cement the speaker’s bond with the audience. Maybe he’s got Trump Derangement Syndrome. Maybe he’s just too immature to realize that Republicans go to church as well.

In the end, you get a choice as a pastor: you can be a political activist with a clerical collar, or you can be a pastor to a flock. Doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion, but if God is really sovereign, what does your opinion have to do with His message in his house?

So with one Sunday to go, how about all of you in the pulpit just talk about Jesus? You can encourage your flock to vote, but don’t tell them how to do it. That includes eye rolls, hand gestures, and snotty remarks about the President.

That is all.

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Joseph Courtemanche

About Joseph Courtemanche

I'm a conservative Christian author who's been happily married for over 30 years. I am a Veteran of the United States Navy, Naval Security Group. I speak a few languages, I have an absurd sense of humor and I'm proud to be an American.
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