Random Firings of Neurons

The rest of your life is going to be spent getting back up after life has knocked you down again. You might as well just get used to it.

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Location: Round Rock, Texas, United States

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

On politicking from the pulpit

One of the things that the Dialectic Materialists (DM's) want to prevent with the mythical "seperation of church and state" is ministers endorsing certain candidates from their pulpits. While the US Constitution actually allows this, it would not be a Good Thing™ for the DM's. And it can be demonstrated that NOT allowing ministers to endorse specific politicians is un-Constitutional, if the "seperation of church and state" is actually Constitutional. But, the question that SHOULD be asked by Christians is, should ministers even be endoring politicians in God's House? I'll deal with all of these in today's Random Firings of Neurons.

First of all, ministers do not give up their citizenship in the United States of America by becoming ministers. So, they do not give up their rights, as citizens, to speak about whatever topic they want, just because they are ministers. So, if a minister so choses, he is allowed, under the US Constitution, to speak about ANYTHING he wants, even from the pulpit. The DM's don't want this. Because, if a minister actually knows the Word of God, he would be able to instruct his flock on what candidates and politicians are the closest to following God's will. If that were the case, then DM politicians, and their parties, would be opposed in an unregulated (for a reason) arena: the churches. So, DM politicians have rammed through some rather punitive laws, all aimed at taking away ministers, and only ministers, right to free speech. Those laws are aimed at revoking the tax-exempt status that churches get, if a minister so much as even MENTIONS a politician in a sermon. Although, to date, the only ministers charged under such laws have committed the cardinal sin of speaking ill of candidates from only one party, or speaking favorably of candidates from the other party. Three guesses which party has been spoken ill of, and the first two guesses don't count.

When a DM minister gets up to the pulpit, he almost invariably starts endorsing a specific candidate, for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the Word of God. Since DM ministers do this, they automatically assume that non-DM ministers also do the same thing. Which may be true in some cases. BUT, that has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether or not a minister, DM or not, has the RIGHT to endorse a candidate from the pulpit. ALL ministers, even the dreaded Dialectic Materialist minister, have the right to endorse, or not endorse, or even criticize, ANY candidate, even from the pulpit. To say they don't, based on "seperation of church and state" is preposterous. You see, ministers are still US citizens (unless they aren't), so they still have First Amendment rights. Now, Christians (I don't know about other religions, so I won't speak of them) are told to think of themselves as citizens of another Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. BUT, they are still citizens of their nations of choice. Now, taking away a minister's right to free speech, just because he is a minister, would seem to be based on the minister's citizenship in the Kingdom of God. THAT is a blatantly religious stance, and has NO legal backing. So, the assumption that a minister is a citizen of the Kingdom of God, so has no more Constitutional protection, is a violation of the "seperation of church and state", since the legal process originated from a definitely religious belief. Which, the DM's are quick to point out, is supposedly no way to run a government. And yes, I have heard Church-and-State-ers use that arguement. Christian church-and-state-ers, no less.

Now, on to the real meat of the thought. Should ministers be endorsing candidates from the pulpit? No. They should not. They have the legal right to, under the US Constitution, but they shouldn't exercise that right, just because they have it. Christianity is based on free choice, even if those choices are ill-advised. By endorsing a candidate from the pulpit, the minister is running the risk of having it appear that God endorses that candidate. Even if God did, He wouldn't interfere with our right to vote for the wrong candidate. In addition, a minister should have done his job well enough in the previous sermons to instill a desire in his flock to consult God DIRECTLY on the matter. It is possible, though unlikely, given today's political climate, that there may be two candidates who, while not perfect (who among us really is?), are still God-fearing men, and who want to do God's will in their political career. In that case, when Christian men and women prayed to God for guidance, He would probably tell each Christian to vote for a different candidate than the other Christians, simply because God had a different plan for that Christian. Who knows? Maybe God really did endorse one Christian candidate over another, but just wanted the other Christian candidate to get enough voter support to not abandon his political future? We don't know. Nor will we ever. All we know is that we are supposed to find out the Will of God, by asking Him, and our minister ain't the one to tell us what it is. He is supposed to only tell us where to look, or what God says on any given issue. Endorsing one candidate over another isn't what God does.

A minister SHOULD, on the other hand, speak to his flock about the issues of the day, and what God has to say about them. Because God does have a lot to say about just about any issue you care to name. And it's in His book, the Holy Bible. A good minister shouldn't ever have to tell his flock what to think. Because he should have already done the work to ensure that his flock knows WHERE to look to find out God's Will. If he hasn't, and has to endorse one candidate over another, then he has failed, and should seriously think about another line of work, as he isn't really fit to be a minister. Nowhere in God' Word is issuing decrees from the pulpit endorsed, and it one of the things that lead to the Protestant Reformation. At all times, God has endorsed persuasion to influence the flock, and knowledge of His Will to motivate His faithful. Not on a minister's say so, but on God's. I'm still not man enough to gainsay God on His own will, and I have never met a minister who was any stronger than I.

Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful, to God, Corps and Country