Warner: Act Like Men, Part II

Talking politics to the religious

Part One of this series was published in yesterday’s Vermont Daily Chronicle

by Aaron Warner

Here in the Upper Valley the leadership among the local churches has a variety of approaches to leading their congregants, so far as teaching the Bible and sharing the gospel.  Some churches and their leaders take a traditional approach with acoustic hymns and worship styles followed by line by line exegesis of the scripture.  Others prefer fully amplified music with radio friendly worship songs followed by topical preaching intended to help you live a better life with God, while others blend a mixture of musical and teaching styles.  All of them are concerned with faithfully carrying out their calling – to reach and save the lost and to edify the body of believers.  

Despite their numerous denominational, doctrinal and stylistic differences, one thing they all seem to agree on is avoiding politics in the pulpit.  Why is that? 

Though the very first amendment offered in the Bill of Rights clearly protects the freedom of speech and the right to redress grievances, the modern understanding bends toward the “wall of separation between church and state” written by Thomas Jefferson to the Dansbury Baptist church in Connecticut, which he meant as a protection for the minority religious body (Baptists) from the state sanction Congregationalist church.  Rather than offering liberty to churches it’s been used to silence them in political matters.  

Added to this pressure to remain politically neutral is the tax exemption clause for 501(c)(3) religious organizations.  The stipulations disallowing churches or religious bodies from enjoy tax exemption are: 

  • The organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific or other charitable purposes;
  • Net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder;
  • No substantial part of the organization’s activities may involve attempts to influence legislation;
  • The organization may not intervene in political campaigns;
  • The organization’s purposes or activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.

Clearly the federal government (i.e. state) has no problem influencing the liberties protected for the church and its leaders on the basis of money, and herein lies the rub.  This is the equivalent of moral bribery conferring power to the state by quieting the likeliest source of its accountability – the faithful men (and women) who are called to minister to the culture via the pulpit. 

This two-pronged approach to curbing political speech from within the largest source of cultural persuasion has effectively neutered the call from God to “be the light of the world” (Matthew 7:14), a light called to “have nothing to do with the fruitless evil deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).  

Having spoken to and confronted several local church leaders, ones who are keenly aware of the Marxist based culture war, it stuns me how quickly they trot out the notion of avoiding politics, either in the pulpit or outside of it.  One chooses to avoid it by saying it’s not their calling, while another says the great commission to “make disciples of all the nations” is intended to be fulfilled by singular one-on-one evangelism.  Still another leans on the Calvinist doctrine of predestination with a shrug, since it’s bound to happen.  Perhaps the most prominent church in my area simply ignores any admonition while walking the hi-wire of political correctness in designer shoes set to a Top 40 beat. 

Meanwhile, child grooming explodes, God’s command to be fruitful and multiply is assaulted, and women are left alone to defend themselves yet again. 

It seems the cleverness of the enemy reveals itself again by getting those called to “be strong and courageous and act like men” (Joshua 1:9; 1 Corinthians 16:13) in the face of evil to instead punt in order to stay in the game and keep the butts in the seats.  

Jesus said, “You can’t serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) yet somehow the American church at large, including here in the Upper Valley, has figured a way to defy that edict. 

A closer look at the prohibition for 501(c)(3) puts primary focus on political campaigns and candidates.  Alliance Defending Freedom has sought to remind churches of both their right and their calling to speak truth to power with Pulpit Freedom Sundays by encouraging their preaching on political issues.  “This is designed to provoke a response from the IRS that would permit a constitutional challenge to the IRS regulations. To date, the IRS has not taken any formal action against participating pastors, and no legal challenge has been filed.”

Acts of provocation are a staple among the political left, thanks to Alinsky’s urging:  

Rule #13. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Drag Queen story hour, Dylan Mulvaney, Target’s pride displays in the front of store, street protestors stopping cars on the way to work, classic works of art being destroyed, pride flags being hung on state buildings, and schools allowing porn among children are all types of mid-level violence intended to provoke. 

Yet the leaders of the churches in my area remain passive, as if to model the lamb who was slain.  

Ironically they forget He is also likened as a lion, who provoked the political and religious leaders of His time by confronting them with authentic manliness by beating money changers in the temple, confronting tax-collectors, and rebuking churches for being overly tolerant of sexual immorality.  

Yes, He turned the other bloodied cheek, He wore the crown of thorns, and doesn’t bruise a withered reed. 

He is also coming back to sort out the sheep from the goats, and the goats include the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, the adulterers, liars and…

…the cowardly. 

The author is a VDC columnist and Upper Valley regional reporter. He lives in Hartford, VT where he owns two award-winning small businesses. He is a graduate of Leadership Upper Valley class of 2010.

Categories: Commentary

4 replies »

  1. I fear too many of our surposedly religious leaders have become too comfortable in their position that they do not want to upset the applecart! Instead of preaching about killing babies or all the other evils going on in the country today, they worry about maybe loosing one or two of their flock and making themselves look bad to the rest.
    Standing up to evil takes guts and the situations of today will be judged by the Almighty of tomorrow!

  2. Fifty two out of fifty five signers of the Declaration of Independence from British rule were committed Christians, one being a church Pastor. If RIGHTEOUSNESS can’t speak at political gatherings what are we left with ? There is only two sides on any subject, and it’s not about political parties. The two sides are Righteousness vs Unrighteousness. Anyone sitting on the fence, become a sympathizer to Unrighteousness regardless if they know it or not. The old saying, “Evil thrives when good people say nothing” has never been more true today. For the church followers who stand under a Romans 13 ; if your government has gone rogue and making laws that violate God, and HIS kingdom, and HIS law are NOT BOUND by Romans 13 !

  3. The socialist left has a complete disdain for Christians. There is an all out front to intimidate and ridicule any individual or groups who identify as Christians. The left is also famous for their feel good slogans such as , Tolerance, coexist just to name a few. The hate is growing on the left just as it did in the 20’s and 30’s of the Nazi Socialist Peoples Party towards the Jews. This same approach is also used in communist countries and those of Islamic run countries. Unfortunately it looks like it is only going to get worse for those who profess their Christian faith. The current regime along with other out side groups not only support this disdain for Christians, but are also being financially supported to do so . Now more then ever is the time to pray for this country and the world at large.

  4. However, the influence of Woke is evident in a number of churches, including the United Church of Christ and UU.

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