Let Your Voice Be Heard
Passivity or activity - the choice is yours.
I recently saw a cable news show interviewing a pastor and a priest concerning the pros and cons of clergy speaking out on political issues and policies. In particular, when it's appropriate and when it's not. One of the ministers took the position that it's never appropriate based on the fact that you're a minister whether you're in the pulpit or walking down the street. The other stated that just because he took on the responsibility of entering the ministry, it doesn't mean he laid down his first amendment rights. I would agree with the latter.
Granted the government does have some stipulations as to what a pastor can and cannot say from the pulpit concerning the endorsing of any one particular party or candidate, and those that cross that line would be in jeopardy of losing the organizations tax exempt status. But even that's being challenged by some pastors of late apparently for conscious sake, and not without historical precedent.
Bill O'Reilly recently interviewed Timothy Cardinal Dolan, former Archbishop of Milwaukee and now serving in the same capacity for New York. Though the interview centered around ObamaCare and the contraception issue, he was asked directly as to whether He would ever say to American Catholics "Don't vote for President Obama" (based upon the intrusion into Catholic doctrine and policies). His answer was interesting. He said:
"I would never myself say don't vote against or don't vote for a particular candidate. For one it's counterproductive. I would probably be doing the opponent a big favor if I would. Because even our -- even -- even very faithful Catholics, Bill, don't like their bishops or priests telling them how to vote, a person or even on a particular issue. They like us to speak about principle, they like us to get clear and cogent and compelling. They don't like us to get very personal. So I wouldn't -- I wouldn't say that, no."
Obviously, the Archbishop was trying to walk a tightrope, given the interview was asking his opinion concerning the policies of a sitting president. He also said something earlier in the interview that I think is worth noting. When asked by O'Reilly if the Catholic church wanted to be a player in American politics, this was his response:
"To think that there is a Berlin Wall between one's religious convictions and one's political activity is crazy, it's ludicrous. It's not only non-Catholic, non-Christian, non-biblical, it is also un-American. Because -- you're a better historian than I am Bill, you know that every great movement in -- in American history has been driven by people of religious conviction.
And if we duct tape the churches -- I'm just not talking about the Catholic Church -- if we duct tape the role of religion and the churches and morally convince people in the marketplace that's going to lead to a huge deficit a huge void."
I would tend to agree. Religion in general, and churches in particular, are the conscious of the nation. This is not the point in our state or nation's history to create a moral vacuum through passivity or tacit approval.
During the Revolutionary War, the Black Regiment was instrumental in rallying the fledgling nation.
The "Black Regiment" was a group of patriot-preachers from virtually every protestant denomination located throughout Colonial America who courageously preached the Biblical principles of liberty and independence in defiance of an increasingly oppressive British government. The name "Black Regiment" comes from the wearing of the long, black ecclesiastical robes in their pulpits. Some even led their men into battle.
The Rev. Jonas Clark fought alongside his flock at Lexington green.The Minutemen very often found their leadership in elders and deacons of the churches. Ever wonder why "one if by land and two if by sea" was to be signaled from Old North Church tower? It wasn't just an issue of visibility.
Why the questions? Why the quotes? Why the history review?
I'm only bringing this up to encourage every eligible citizen to exercise their God-given privilege and responsibility to vote in all of our up-coming primary and election opportunities whether recall or otherwise.
Vote with your values and your convictions.
Vote with your conscious.
Vote with your moral compass in hand.
Vote with your vision of what your community, state, and nation could and should look like and function as. Find the person you believe can best lead, then get behind that person and encourage them with your voice, and with your support.
If you do these things, I promise that you'll feel better about being part of the process, and potential solution, rather than a victim of someone else's initiative and motivation.