Democrats or Republicans? Or King Jesus?

Earlier this year I received an email from one of my alma maters encouraging me and other graduates to support a political candidate who also happened to be a graduate of said institution. I know the man personally and have high regard for him. I would've voted for him in the primaries but was not registered with his political party. I told myself that if he won the primary I would probably vote for him in a general election. He lost the primary so is not a candidate in November. However the problem with the email solicitation was that I and others were encouraged to recruit our Republican friends in our churches to support the candidate. 


Underlying the request in the email was the assumption that most people in our church were Republicans, read white, middle-class, and with a conservative agenda. That might be true in many evangelical, middle-class, suburban churches. In our church we don't have Republicans or Democrats. And we don't endorse any political agenda. Of course many are registered with a political party but we have no interest in that, none. Believers of all parties or no party are welcome to worship with us. Political candidates are welcome to visit with us or if they are believers worship with us regardless of their political or denominational affiliation. We would recognize them. We would not promote them or encourage people to vote for them.


What's ironic is that many Christians who object to the idea of social justice are all too ready to use the church to further a conservative political agenda. Our political affiliation has no bearing on our fellowship, on our worship, on our new life and new identity in Christ. I wrote to the email sender and told him that in my opinion it was inappropriate to ask Christians to use church membership connections to gather support for a candidate, any candidate. I never received a response. Wonder why?


Does that mean that Christians shouldn't vote or shouldn't care? Of course not. But we have a King, His name is Jesus! As God’s people we have an agenda. It’s God’s agenda. However, while we don’t promote political candidates we do pray for elected officials, for President Obama, for Mayor Nutter here in Philadelphia, and for others. Pray for them. Don’t promote them.


5 Responses to “Democrats or Republicans? Or King Jesus?”

  1. Is this a fair statement?

    In one's role as Pastor it is wrong to promote a political candidate
    But outside of that role, it is proper to support – even promote (say send $ to a campaign or have a yard sign) – a candidate



    Is it wrong for a pastor to promote a candidate? At the least it is unwise. I can only speak for myself but I do not think a pastor in his role as pastor has any business promoting a political candidate. What he says in conversations or in response to questions might lead him to express his opinion on a candidate. But promoting a candidate too easily leads to or looks like a chummy relationship and agreement with a political agenda. It needlessly alienates those who are of other political persuasions.

    A couple of years ago members of a church were putting signs on their lawn in support of a certain candidate. I was asked if I would put up a sign. I wouldn't and won't today. I wouldn't do it even if I wasn't a pastor but that's up to individuals to decide. I don't want to be known as the guy on the block who supports so-and-so. I want to be known as the guy who talks about Jesus.

    As far as financial support I see no reason why a pastor could not contribute to a candidates’ campaign. That’s a personal choice. The other day at a Police Clergy meeting a local candidate asked my brother John and me for a contribution to buy radio time. John gave him $20, $10 for each of us since I didn’t have any money (good thing J). He considers us his friends and we want to be his friends. He also wanted to come to or church and appeal for votes which we told him we would not allow. He can come but he can’t solicit. BTW, he told us that if the Lord told him to give us a million dollars for the church that he would do it if elected. We’re not holding our breath but told him that we don’t want him giving us taxpayers’ money.

  3. As a Pastor (16 years), I never promoted a candidate from the pulpit!
    But I supported candidates!
    I actually think it is good to support candidates financially.
    I <a href="">recently voted by absentee ballot</a>. For each of these I also provided financial support (small potatoes financially!)


  5. Thanks for your comment and blog link, Jim. We actively participate in community events which usually have a political presence. We will befriend, witness to, and serve alongside of politicians of different stripes for the good of the community. We promote good citizenship but as a church we won't promote candidates.

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