Why I will not endorse a candidate for president

Well, it looks like some pastors spiced up their sermons a little yesterday by endorsing (or disparaging) a candidate for President of the United States.  The pastors are part of an attempt to challenge the IRS rules on what non-profits can do regarding a political campaign.  Is that really smart?  I mean, the IRS has a gadzillion lawyers and, of course, unlimited resources to enforce their regulations.  Talk about David and Goliath, and I’m not sure this David even has a slingshot.

So, I won’t be endorsing anybody for president this year (or any year) because I think it’s a really dumb thing to do.  First, you alienate all of the members who are not voting for the candidate you endorse.  Awkward at best.  Secondly, the IRS yanks your tax-exempt, and charitable contribution ticket.  That means that your members can no longer deduct their tithes and offerings from their income tax.  While I realize that is not why we give, it can impact how much people give.  So, big disadvantage if you’re in a building program or have a healthy-size budget.  

Finally, we’re pastors, not politicians.   Don’t we read in the New Testament that some of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day forgot they were pastors, priests, and prophets, and became politicians?  And, finally, finally, I’m tired of pastors who are so naive that they get used by somebody’s political machine, which is exactly what happens everytime.

So, I won’t be endorsing anybody for anything this year.  What do you think?  Do you agree or disagree with the actions of this group of pastors?  Why or why not?  Should be interesting….

12 thoughts on “Why I will not endorse a candidate for president”

  1. Ethically pastors, teachers and similar leaders should not endorse a candidate. Encourage people to vote, yes. Many will simply follow the lead of a pastor or teacher without praying and/or thinking about the situation.

  2. I think it deserves more discussion.

    My first instinct is to say, “No, don’t endorse a candidate. It’s unethical,” but then I’m quick to realize that it’s really an American mindset.

    The whole idea of tithing for a tax deduction or not speaking out against certain politicians’ stances or speaking for other political positions (pro-abortion, helping the poor, etc), is not Biblical. It sounds more like the Pharisees than anything else. – trying to win the approval of men.

    I’m undecided on the issue, honestly. But those are the first things that came to mind.

  3. I agree with not endorsing a presidential candidate from the pulpit. I don’t think we are placed here on earth to push our own opinions, but rather the love and teachings of the Lord.

    The tax thing isn’t the issue. Actually, our family won’t use deductions for our tithing. But, that’s our own conviction, not a doctrinal call.

    Thanks for making us think about this! I’ve been debating this one with folks for some time! Have a blessed day!


  4. Amen brother! I’m frustrated because, while I am a conservative Republican, I hated the disparaging remarks made against the “religious right.” It’s hard to “make disciples” when people are only hearing “politics” even if they are legitimate issues. Now I see a resurgence of the “religious Left” and they are using the same tactics they hated 10 years ago.

  5. Great comments from everyone! Seems like there are more issues involved than just tax-exempt status. I hadn’t thought about that perspective, and you guys have made me consider other angles. Thanks. -Chuck

  6. Great post Chuck! We all need to remember Jesus is not a Democrat or a Republican! In Murfreesboro everyone talks like God is a republican and that is crazy to me!
    Happy Day!

  7. Looks like most comments here agree that pastors should not talk politics from the pulpit. Maybe that’s right, I’m not sure. But I don’t think the reasons given are necessarily the right ones. That the government says not to…pastors through the ages and around the world would say that’s not good enough (as would Peter and John). That it will preclude some people from thinking on their own…a valid point, but not a reason to be silent, otherwise every topic would be taboo. Pastors shouldn’t give opinions…I think Paul would disagree (which is why we have his opinion about marriage versus singleness). Common guys, there is more to this issue than that.

    Seems to me pastors should be talking about the things God cares about, and not about the things God doesn’t care about. Question is, does God care about the issues? Does God care about who the president is? Those are tougher questions, to be sure, but aren’t they the right ones? So…does he?

    If not, then we as church leaders can take this very difficult challenge off our list (and I will rejoice!). But if so, then the mere fact that it is a difficult challenge (i.e., HOW to talk about these things) should not keep us from doing it. It should drive us to our knees all the more.

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