Speaking the Truth in Love This Voting Season
Attorneys John Mauck, Richard Baker, and Whitman Brisky
Voting time is fast approaching and congregations are often misinformed regarding which candidate has the best interest at heart concerning family values and policies that protect our rights as parents and as Christians. What’s more, this issue is often an unintentional consequence of misinformation from our pastors.
Though pastors are loving in advising their congregation this time of year, basic economics courses aren’t necessarily part of the core curriculum in earning one’s Master of Divinity degree. They often end up advocating for candidates asserting their compassion without realizing that those same candidates may pose some threat to people of faith and their values, thus pastors sometimes advocate political positions counterproductive to edifying social policy. Many other pastors are silent on the topic of voting or endorsing a candidate, but it is the duty of our pastors to speak out. Ezekiel 33:6 says, “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.”
As a law firm that stands for the freedoms of families and churches, it is our desire that pastors be well-equipped and well-educated when election time rolls around. We understand that opposition against family values is strong; transgender bathroom and locker room policies in schools and pastors being prohibited from counseling against same-sex attraction, to name a few. Christians, especially those in leadership positions, need to express educated opinions and proper endorsements. Ultimately the opposition is trying to silence us and remove our free speech on issues affecting society. School choice for parents through charter schools is hugely important for our children especially in the inner-city. One Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, has gone so far as to say that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” to end opposition to so-called abortion rights.
We want to encourage Christ followers, especially those in leadership roles, to become educated and prepared to inform their flock on the best candidates who stand for values we hold dear to as Christians, and as Americans. Here are some ways you can stay informed and be in the world but not of the world:
- Stand for freedom and have Biblical insight, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it is part of your duty as a leader in the church.
- Learn about and tell your congregation where each candidate stands on the issues important to you, such as religious freedom, Christian marriage, transgender bathrooms, and abortion.
- Get a 6-month subscription to the Wall Street Journal. Read the editorials and opinion articles. They frequently publish op-eds and vouchers that still reflect the truth that God is our ultimate source of authority. Be well-versed in current policies and understand the many angles that media represents them in. Ideally you will be able to know the answers to your members’ questions before they ask.
- Know your rights. We encourage you to read our Politics from the Pulpit article printed in our March newsletter this year. It summarizes what political speech or activities you are allowed to do without jeopardizing your tax exempt status. For example, if you are speaking or acting on behalf of a church or other tax exempt organization, IRS rules prohibit the “publication or distribution of written or printed statements or the making of oral statements on behalf or in opposition to a candidate.”
- An even more cautionary position is articulated in an article by Christianity Today, which states according to a recent Report by Lifeway Research, “For the most part, Americans with evangelical beliefs agree that pastors and churches should abstain from using their resources—including the pulpit—to campaign for a particular candidate. Seventy-three percent say pastors should abstain, while about 65 percent say churches should abstain.”
- Mauck & Baker disagrees. We believe God’s warning to the watchmen in Israel in Ezekiel 33:1-20 applies to attorneys and preachers who are followers of Jesus and that Scripture overrides any conflicting position of the internal or public opinion surveys from Americans with evangelical beliefs.
- Share our newsletter and have others subscribe to it via our website. We strive to inform our readers on those laws and their rights, as well as calling them to action when those rights are threatened.
Posted on Tue, October 4, 2016
by Mauck & Baker filed under