According to a “just released” poll by the Pew Forum of Religion and Public Life, a small majority of Americans feel churches should steer clear of politics. The pollsters observed some interesting trends in the way Americans think religious institutions influence politics. You need to read the article, “Americans Feel Churches Shouldn’t Meddle in Politics,” for yourself.
While I can understand the reasoning why a church shouldn’t endorse a specific candidate, I do think local churches play an important role in politics. Politics is more than a candidate, it’s about the personal values and beliefs of the candidate in contrast with those of the electorate. Religious institutions help minds develop frameworks and processes for making decisions. Values traditionally taught and discussed at church are based upon biblical principles and precepts. The church has a responsibility to teach God’s values and his plan for living a fulfilled, content, and meaningful life. Where else will people learn about life giving values if the church doesn’t teach them? As a pastor, I have a responsibility to communicate biblical values to those I shepherd.
The church plays a unique role in assisting believers, seekers, and even non-believers to develop a values system by which to prioritize life – to help instill biblical values which build rather than cultural perceptions which eventually disappoint. There are great issues at stake in this election; values are being discussed between the candidates. It would only make sense that I’d support a candidate promoting and demonstrating core values most similar to my own. You want a leader with a core of values which represent you. Values driven leadership describes a leader who makes and administers decisions based on an appropriate set of values or value system.
So where does the church and politics collide? The church’s role is to communicate appropriate biblical values to its congregants to assist them in make better decisions. A voter who votes values is a voter who votes principled. We need more principled voters and more principled candidates. I guess we’ve got our work cut out for us.