What is their goal? Is it to drum up support for one candidate in a tight race? Is it to guide their congregants to a more educated decision come November? No. Their stated goal is to incite a court fight with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation which forbids tax-exempt entities like churches from doing such things. (See "Pastors Buck Ban on Pulpit Politics" for the full story.)
Perhaps the IRS regulation is unfair or unconstitutional. Perhaps not. Regardless, this surely isn't the best way to engage the issue. As a Church-loving follower of Christ, I am disturbed for a couple of reasons.
First, this stunt is stupid. I wish I could think of a more eloquent way to say it, but I think "stupid" works well. The actions of these pastors put their churches in jeopardy of losing their tax-exempt status. If that happens, they will rob their congregants of the tax break that they would have earned from their contributions.
Even beyond the stupidity, this stunt runs contrary to the ministry calling. The call to ministry is a call to unite, not divide. And it is a call to engage all who need the Gospel. Don't we want to minister to Democrats or only Republicans? By endorsing Senator McCain from their pulpits, these podunk pastors slam the church door in the face of all the Democrats in their community.
This self-serving, self-glorifying stunt is a not-so-subtle reminder that there is still a cohort within the church that aligns itself with a particular political party and alienates those who don't fall in line. These people act with utter disregard to the message of the Gospel, the ministry of Jesus Christ, and the consequences of their actions within the community. Sad.
What do you think?