Church and State

Much has been written and spoken about during this campaign season about the role of religion in politics. There is a great line from the West Wing where Martin Sheen is speaking with Alan Alda about Church and State. Martin says that the Constitution says there should be a separation of church and state but it does not say anything about a separation of church and politics. Candidates use church and yes my friends church uses politics as well.
The Establishment Clause of the US Constitution only guarantees that there will be no state religion it does not say that religion and American life should not be intertwined. The framers of the Constitution were very religious and many, if not all, were avid church goers.

I was listening to NPR this morning and the coverage of the Obama win. They interviewed a woman about why she switched from Obama to McCain and she said it was because of the comments made by Obama’s minister in Chicago. Well first off that is a stupid reason for not voting for someone. I cannot imagine that anything I would say would influence any candidate, if I had one in my church. Yes if you don’t like what I say you can leave the church, but then you don’t understand the nature of church! The Church exists not because of the preacher, and the members of the church do not always agree with everything that the preacher says. I have said things that my parishioners do not agree with so should they leave the church because of it?

Now on to the role of religion in politics. Should religion influence politics? I believe the answer is yes. Should preachers preach politics? I believe that answer is no. The preachers job is to teach what the church teaches on same sex marriage, abortion, war, peace, homelessness etc. The church should not preach a certain party affiliation. I was listening to a podcast from EWTN with host Fr. Mitch Paquawa. He said he is not the priest of the Republican Party of the Democrat Party he is a Roman Catholic Priest! Good for you Fr. Mitch! We clergy have an obligation to teach our flock. We are not called to be politically correct, we are called to preach the truth as our denominations see it, if we don’t want to do that, then resign from the pulpit and run for office. Clergy should not run for office either. I serve my town in an appointed capacity on the Historical Commission in the town. We deal with keeping the down town area nice and historic and that is it. I did not run, I was appointed. Okay maybe splitting hairs but that’s how I see it. I also feel that churches should not host candidates and allow them to speak to the congregations nor should church halls be used for debates and other rallies.

So there you have my thoughts on politics. I will continue to preach the truth because I can do nothing else! I have an obligation to do that, that’s my calling in life. Preach politics, no, vote for who you want but it should be someone who shares your values and your views. One last thought, I am not a single issue voter either. If I was there would be no one to vote for!


  1. Precisely. Upon hearing the Chicago minister spew his hateful comments, one had to wonder as this woman may have, what Obama and his wife represent? Not blaming Obama, Questioning. We see him largely capable of delivering a well written speach. What of his experience, and character? We are in the processing of learning. I would also hold back my vote “if” I thought the change he speaks of was not positive. My Country is that important to me. Is it possible that she is just taking a step back to reevaluate? The truth always comes out…Marie

  2. we all have common sense and if your sitting in a church and your clergy is spewing hatred then its time to think about what sort of religion your being taugh. according to st.paul we need to be cautious of being taught false religion. clergy is required by God to teach the good news properly because at the time of their judgement they will be held to a higher account.anne

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