Most pastors get a bit squeamish when the subject of politics and the pulpit arises. For at least 33 pastors this past Sunday, the subject was tackled from head-on:
33 Pastors Flout Tax Law With Political Sermons
By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 29, 2008; A02
CROWN POINT, Ind., Sept. 28 -- Defying a federal law that prohibits U.S. clergy from endorsing political candidates from the pulpit, an evangelical Christian minister told his congregation Sunday that voting for Sen. Barack Obama would be evidence of "severe moral schizophrenia."
The Rev. Ron Johnson Jr. told worshipers that the Democratic presidential nominee's positions on abortion and gay partnerships exist "in direct opposition to God's truth as He has revealed it in the Scriptures." Johnson showed slides contrasting the candidates' views but stopped short of endorsing Obama's Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain.
Johnson and 32 other pastors across the country set out Sunday to break the rules, hoping to generate a legal battle that will prompt federal courts to throw out a 54-year-old ban on political endorsements by tax-exempt houses of worship.
Asked why he felt the need to discuss the candidates by name and to be explicit in rejecting Obama and his pro-choice views, Johnson said he must connect the dots because he is not sure that all members of his congregation can do so on their own.
The congregation greeted Johnson's reasoning and his criticism of Obama with applause.
"When things of the world don't line up with Scripture," said Ed Kraus, 61, who executes reverse mortgages for a living, "he has a right to say they don't."
Ruth Stiener went a step further. "He has a duty," she said. "Heaven forbid that that is ever taken away from our pastors."
"Senator Obama is a committed Christian and a man of deep faith," said Joshua DuBois, Obama's national religious affairs director. "And the notion that there is only one way to address issues like abortion, or that people of faith cannot support full civil rights for all Americans, is absurd."
Read the rest here.