Thursday, October 07, 2004
Pulpit Politics: Unholy Double Standards
This is a very interesting article from Paul Kengor over at the National Review Online.
President Bush's critics have belittled his faith in God, his religion, and his profession of his faith. There are cries from the left of "right-wing, religious extremism" in the White House. John Kerry has gone so far as to suggest that Bush's faith is impeding science by "banning" stem cell research (the truth is that Bush has limited Federal funding of such research; private companies are able to perform the research as far as the free market will sustain it).
President Clinton is a frequent church goer... in election season. The Reverend Al Gore made frequent visits to churches during the 2000 campaign, and has been doing more of the same this year. Even John "I'm Devout Catholic, and the Vatican Can't Tell Me Not to Take Communion" Kerry has been going to churches on the campaign stump this year.
The media, by and large, ignores this. There will be a blurb here or a mention there of the candidate's visit to the church, but that is usually the extent of it.
Before I continue, allow me to share my views on politics and church. I believe firmly that churches are places of worship, not places of politics. Churches should teach their members correct principles, and then, in the words of my church's leaders, "urge members to study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully and then vote for those they believe will most nearly carry out their ideas of good government."
Earlier this Spring, President Bush's campaign requested membership roles from various churches so that campaign materials could be directed to a demographic that would be, understandably, prone to support the President. The howls came echoing from the Left about "separation of church and state"--even though at the time all campaign funds were from private donations. Whether any churches complied or not, I do not know.
I do know that my church has a long-standing policy that Church "facilities, directories, and mailing lists are not to be used for political purposes." That means no Reverend Algore lecturing me from the pulpit, no phone calls encouraging me to vote, and no postcards... not even from President Bush. I believe that it is in the best interest of churches to remain politically neutral regarding specific candidates; else they risk offending the very congregation members that they seek to fellowship--if indeed that is their goal.
Imagine if President Bush went campaigning in a church. Kengor is right, the media coverage and outrage from the Left would be non-stop, 24/7, and unrelenting. So the question arises: why is so-called "separation of church and state" an issue only for Republicans? Why the double standard?