VIEWPOINT: Cowardly Clergyman?

Since when does a church or its pastor have to remain silent when addressing moral and social issues from a biblical worldview? There is no shortage on those who would like to squelch the voice of the church, especially during a political season.

Now is not the time for the church and its pastor to turn passive with regard to addressing critical social and moral issues from the pulpit. The pastor must speak with conviction based on the authority of the Scripture, not with results from the latest opinion poll. The pastor must challenge his congregation with the truth of God’s Word without regard to the views and opinions of political parties or candidates.

The pastor must do all he can to provide insight to moral and social issues based on God’s Word. Shying away from or avoiding certain issues for fear of offending a particular political candidate or political party member is acting as a cowardly clergyman.

Pastors have every right to preach on moral and social issues and to encourage their congregations to become active in civic affairs. Pastors should never endorse a candidate on behalf of the church. Nor should they use church funds or services to contribute directly to candidates or political committees. The pastor should never distribute materials on church premises that favor any one candidate or political party. However, the pastor does have the right to address moral and social issues being addressed by candidates and political parties.

The church has every right to encourage members to voice their opinions in favor or against legislative issues. A church should never endorse or oppose a political candidate or make contributions to a Political Action Committee. Nor should churches conduct fundraising for political candidates. However, the church is an excellent place for the community to learn more about the political process and legislative issues.

Unfortunately, too many churches and pastors are standing on the sidelines allowing those with a secular worldview to dominate public affairs and critical legislation. Our silence has been perceived as agreement. We must clear our throats and be heard without concession.

We are not skating on thin ice when it comes to taking a stand regarding moral and social issues. We must not be intimidated by those who desire to silence the church. We are called to proclaim the truth. May Joshua 1:9 serve as our guide as we seek to address the moral and social issues of our day. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” May the Lord find us strong and courageous as together we seek to make a difference within our culture.

It is time to speak up, pastor. Take a stand with God’s Word as your guide! Churches, stand with your pastor as he proclaims the truth of God’s Word with regard to sensitive social and moral issues of the day.

Church members, beware of allowing your political persuasions to compromise your biblical convictions. Know where candidates stand on the issues and support those who share your values as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ.

This editorial is adapted and reprinted with permission from the April 10, 2008 Oklahoma Baptist Messenger.The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission works to educate Americans about the importance of voting, among many other moral and social issues we face in today’s society. To learn more about this important issue, please visit our Web site at

The following statement came from the Focus on the Family’s “Pastor’s Weekly Briefing,” dated October 4, 2007:

“This week, a coalition of five Christian organizations released a joint letter to help educate pastors and churches on how to speak on issues relevant to the 2008 elections while staying within the lawful boundaries set for nonprofit organizations. Focus on the Family — along with the Family Research Council, Alliance Defense Fund, Concerned Women for America, and the James Madison Center for Free Speech — is encouraging pastors and churches to become acquainted with their free-speech rights, and to not be intimidated by threats from liberal watchdog groups.” [Click here to read the letter.]