To the readers of this blog I offer my sincerest apologies for not offering a post for two months. The pressure of publishing two books, and the constant demands of kayak fishing have kept me from fulfilling my commitment to you. While I plan to return to the study of the glory of God in the near future, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on the concept of the separation of church and state. Nowhere do we find this principle stated in the constitution, but it has been adopted from comments Thomas Jefferson made after the writers completed the Constitution and Bill of Rights. If I may take the liberty of paraphrasing, Jefferson said that the church cannot tell the government what to do, and the government cannot tell the church what to do.
Popular interpretation in the modern context is that the United States can never become a theocracy. That is a good and valid idea. The problem is that in this age of political correctness, many proclaim that it is unconstitutional for preachers to address political issues, and for the most part they do not.
I for one, seldom speak on politically divisive issues from the pulpit for two reasons. First of all our focus should be on the Lord Jesus Christ and having and developing a personal and intimate relationship with Him. Too much of an emphasis on the political realm can cloud that focus. The second reason is that Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians and any other people of a different political persuasion, need the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ, so that they might have an opportunity to be saved. I try not to offend anyone politically, so that they will be more receptive to what is most important.
However, that does not mean that I cannot speak my mind on any subject. Does anyone honestly believe that Thomas Jefferson would suggest that our first amendment rights should not apply to certain people because of their profession? I am a pastor by God’s calling upon my life, but being a pastor is also my profession, thanks to the generous support of my church family. Not only do I have a right to speak to any issue, I have a responsibility to address political issues from the perspective of a biblical worldview.
Consider our President’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright. Normally, left leaning pastors get a pass when it comes to political speech. Jeremiah Wright said some outlandish things and he was called down for it because of his association with President Obama. I was offended by some of the things he said, but I would fight for his right to say them.
Politics can accomplish great good, but the practice of politics can destroy a nation and its people if the politicians are not held accountable. The moral decline in our country is due, at least in part, to the weaknesses in our pulpits. Pastors are afraid of the government. They are afraid that if they speak out the IRS or some other government agency will come after them. Churches are afraid that if their leaders speak out politically, they may loose their tax-exempt status. What pastors should fear is the judgment of God for not speaking the truth and thus bringing light into the darkness. I for one, refuse to surrender my First Amendment Rights (or my Second Amendment Rights) for the sake of political correctness. I invite your comments for further discussion on this issue.