Clergy and Politics

Recently I priest that I went to seminary with sent out an email blasting Senator Obama and saying we, as Christians, Should vote for Senator John McCain. I disagree with this email. Not on who to vote for but that clergy should be sending out such things.

Clergy should not preach politics from the pulpit, email, or blog. Now I may cross the line from time to time but we need be careful in this regard. We are supposed to preach what the church teaches and that is it. We can teach what the church teaches and inform the people so they can make up their own minds on who to vote for without ever mentioning a candidates name or a political party. I also disagree with the phrase I am saying this as a private citizen. We are not private citizens, we gave up that right when we were ordained to the holy priesthood.

I am planning a call this fall on ethics and I have asked my parishioners to suggest topics that we can discuss not from a Democrat or Republican position but from an Orthodox position. If there is not Orthodox position well we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Our bishops have spoken on topics such as abortion, stem cell research, homelessness, poverty, the environment, etc. We do not need to know what the Dem or Rep position is just what the church position is and then vote accordingly.

I will say this about politics as well and I believe I have said this before. We need to be informed about what the candidates say. Not what others say about what they say but about what they say, no spin as Bill O’Riley is fond of saying. Read the speeches for yourself and inform yourself.

On another note, I believe the IRS has some pretty strong opinions on what we can and cannot say from the pulpit.

Now back to our regular program.


  1. Someone at Holy Cross was that conservative?!?!?! Sounds more like St Tikhons…


    Seriously, though: you are right. I’ve never heard an Orthodox priest mention a party from the pulpit – and for this I am unfeignedly thankful. I have heard some (in conservative, sectarian publications) call the Democrats, “the Godless Party”, but I prefer to refer to both parties as “the stupid party and the evil party” and let the reader decide which is which.

    (The evil party is the one furthest away from one’s ideas, the stupid is the one not close enough.)

  2. Are you mad because he didn’t appear to vote for your candidate? Really, often both sides are for love and peace caring and sharing because that has nothing to do with politics. It is better not to talk about politics because unless the other party is on the same page, you are ofending someone else with your view, as he may have been, and that is unorthodox./Marie

  3. the problem with politics is it is becomeing more and more dirty, any thing any person may have done in their life time becomes public. who wants to have their life smeared by something they did when they were young and foolish. so then your stuck with the only people who want to run and can cover up their past well enough. none of us is perfect so how can we expect our politicians to be perfect either.
    i feel it is not the place of the church to get mixed up in politics but it is ok for the clergy to discuss what we has christians beleave and do not beleave and why we hold these beliefs.anne

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