Can I get an Amen?

By Greg Metzger:

[Bishop Harry] Jackson was making a salient political point that many other non-ordained political commentators have made, but the fact that he is a Christian leader gave the article added weight and appeal. Of course, a month and an abundance of allegations later, with Cain having withdrawn from the campaign, Jackson’s article reads like a politically opportunistic broadside of the kind we are accustomed to seeing from the chattering class. The obvious difference is that Jackson is not merely a “talking head”; he is bishop of more than a thousand congregations worldwide. We owe it to those congregations, and to the countless other congregations led by dual role men and women, to respectfully ask, in the words of Volf, if their efforts are a “proper functioning” of ordained Christian ministers or a type of what we might call “Protestant clericalism.” To ask this question is not to yield to a “naked public square” but rather to seek to guard the integrity of the Church’s voice.

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  • Pat Pope

    “They have flocked to the polls for figures like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, whose liberal views on social issues have little relation to their own.”

    As an African-American, I would disagree with this part of Jackson’s statement. The African-American Church is as diverse as any other. While traditionally, African-Americans have not approved of say, homosexuality, some of our churches have long had homosexuals in them. For those churches, it’s been a kind of live and let live philosophy. I use that issue as just one example. To say that Clinton and Obama’s views have little relation to those of African-Americans is not entirely true, in my opinion. I think people have been willing to stay with the Democrats as they perceive that party as a whole as being more sympathetic to issues they care about than the Republicans.

    As for Jackson and others entering the political discourse, the African-American church has long been vocal if for no other reason than to ensure their congregations were educated on the issues and exercising their right to vote–the right that many of their forbears fought for. While I’m not a fan of being told how to vote or to shameless pandering, I do believe in educating the Church, black or white, so that we can all make informed decisions. The trick for clergy is to walk that fine line.

  • Chris Miller

    Amen and amen. (Another amen, otherwise the comment is too short to post, I discover.)

  • Peter

    I found the significance of the above paragraph much easier to grasp after reading it in the context of the entire article linked above. Thank you.

  • Jon Altman

    Some of us (such as myself) don’t know who Bishop Jackson is or what he said. Can you enlighten me?

  • Jon #4, Metzger’s article describes Jackson’s stature here in MD as the Bishop of a large church, and leader of a group of churches he formed.

    I appreciate how Volf deals with these issues. Thanks for pointing us to Metzger’s application! Amen!