This past weekend, a group of pastors around the country observed “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” They spoke about the moral qualifications of candidates for public office, with a freedom that they maintain the IRS is wrongly taking from pastors.
This effort is not about bringing politics into the pulpit; it’s about getting government out of the pulpit. It should be Church authority, not government authority, that determines the criteria for how pastors should address politics.
When a preacher goes into a pulpit, he does so under the command and authority of God, to preach God’s word. Now God’s word cannot really be God’s if the government can limit or censor it. Moreover, if preachers didn’t historically have the freedom to challenge government authority, we would have neither Christianity nor the United States of America.
My advice to my fellow priests and pastors is simply this: Don’t have a knee-jerk reaction to the actions some pastors took this weekend, simply dismissing such actions as inappropriate. Rather, think about whether you are fully exercising the freedom you already do have under the law, and think about how much you are not doing simply because you fear legal entanglements.