Baptist leader decries “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”



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I get tons of requests to publish “press releases” every day. Typically, these are relegated to “File 13″ because I am not necessarily interested in pushing someone else’s agenda. However, I found this one to be of particular interest. See below…

September 23, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The effort to recruit pastors to endorse political candidates from the pulpit on Sept. 26 is a misguided idea and a brazen attempt to blend the worship of God with electoral politics, said a Baptist leader, constitutional scholar and church-state expert.

J. Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, said the Alliance Defense Fund’s plan to provoke investigations of these houses of worship by the Internal Revenue Service could risk the tax-exempt status of the churches. ADF lawyers would then challenge the investigations in court.

Walker says “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” is a misnomer because pulpits already are free in this country. He calls the idea “misguided” because it is unnecessary, divisive and corrosive.

“Pulpit Freedom Sunday is entirely unnecessary. Preachers are perfectly free to interpret and apply scripture as they see fit, speak out on the great moral and ethical issues of the day, and urge good citizenship practices, such as registering to vote and voting,” Walker said. “The only thing they can’t do — in exchange for the most favored tax exempt status — is to tell the faithful how to vote.

“In every church I know of, it would be like setting off a bomb shell in the sanctuary for the preacher to tell the congregants how to pull the lever in the voting booth,” Walker said. “It would be incredibly corrosive of the church’s true mission to spread the gospel and be salt and light in the culture. As soon as the church throws in with a particular candidate or party, its prophetic edge is blunted. You can’t raise a prophet’s fist at a candidate or party when, with the other arm, you are locked in a tight bear hug. “

Food for thought, isn’t it? Freedom of religion is under attack in this country. Those who believe in the Judeo-Christian principles this country was founded on are consistently seeing their rights being subjugated toward a more “politically correct” worldview. Now with “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”, the boundaries between church and state are becoming even more blurry. The change in language that the current administration is using (“freedom of  worship” as opposed to “freedom of religion”) is another attempt to modify the standards that the Founders put in place 234 years ago and have served us well to this point.

Is it really necessary to have a “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” when, as the press release stated, clergy all across America have the freedom to discuss the issues of the day in the context of their faith on any given Sunday morning?

What do you think?

Mr. Man

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  • I have been away a long time, but reading your posts is just thing thing to make me want to start posting my political/religious banter again.
  • mrman
    Thanks, man!
  • It is sad that people think it is necessary. I know that I would seriously consider change congregations if my pastor started using his position to tell me how to vote.
  • You know that I am with you on this one.

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