Religion and Politics on Madison Avenue

“More Americans Back a Voice for Religion in Politics” proclaimed the headline of a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

The results of the poll the Journal was reporting indicate that, in fact, 49% of Americans think that churches should express views on political issues and 48% think the churches should keep out of politics. The real interest of the poll was that there are now “more” Americans on the positive side than there used to be.

Of course, both sides of the political spectrum are themselves divided: some conservatives and liberals favor intervention in issues they feel passionate about; others believe in strict separation of church and state.

My own view is that in all except the most extreme and important issues, politics should stay out of the pulpit. I recently expressed concern about the rise of anti-Semitism in a sermon, for example. But I have confined my views on gay marriage to this blog and to other forums where debate is possible. I believe Christians must oppose anti-semitism, while they might hold different positions on homosexuality.

All in all, I think the churches should be very careful about making pronouncements on controversial secular topics. —J. Douglas Ousley

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