Rev. Billy Graham has come out and essentially endorsed Mitt Romney for President. Not long afterwards, statements calling Mormonism a cult were removed from Graham’s organizational website.
Next thing you know breaking headlines are going to announce that we are all God’s children, Mormons and Muslims, alike. Who would have thunk it?
I have the utmost respect for Billy Graham.
Except when it comes to politics.
That is where he and I part ways.
Come to think of it, politics is where I part ways a lot.
I can tell you exactly when I first started thinking for myself in these matters.
It was during the presidential election of 1984. It wasn’t like the incumbent wasn’t going to get re-elected. Mondale didn’t stand a cockroach chance in daylight of beating the effervescent president. Even so, the pastor at the rural Baptist Church I attended stood in the pulpit and told the congregation the only godly choice for president was Ronald Reagan.
I remember that day because I turned to my husband and said, “I can’t tolerate anymore of this.”
I rose up and walked out of that church.
I did not believe then and I do not believe now that pastors ought to be proclaiming politics from the pulpit.
That is not to say that I don’t think pastors ought to address the ills that face our nation. If you want to preach about our nation’s soaring debt crisis. Preach it. If you want to preach about our climbing homeless problem. Preach it. If you want to preach about the breakdown in family in this nation. Preach it. If you want to preach about the societal ills of social media. Preach it.
It is your job as a pastor to help educate and inform your people.
It is your job to encourage your congregants to read, to think, to study, to vote.
It is not your job, however, to tell your congregants what to think or how to vote.
There is a humongous difference between those two.
One is a shepherd.
The other is a tyrant.
One leads gently.
The other through fear.
The other berates.
One leads thoughtfully.
The other only wants to tell you what to think.
When did you first realize that you could think for yourself?