Today is election day! I suppose Facebook will be “a-buzz” with political rhetoric, some of which will generate more heat than light. So I thought I’d chime in, join the fray, and offer just two points for your consideration. One point is especially for preachers and elders, and the other for all Christians.
Point One: Keep in mind that God expects us to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13:1-2). In order to fulfill that command, preachers need to keep politicians out of the pulpit if they desire to maintain their tax exempt status. Why? Because it’s the law!
According to IRS regulations, churches are prohibited from endorsing political candidates while maintaining their tax exempt status. That is not to say that the IRS has the right to silence churches on issues. This is not an “obey God rather than man” issue (Acts 5:29). A church can speak out against any moral issue, even those that have been politicized (i.e. abortion, homosexual marriage, social injustice, war, etc.), it is just forbidden to bring the names of candidates into the discussion. Actually, that statement needs clarifying. The IRS is not even prohibiting a church from endorsing a particular candidate; if a church wants to do so, they may, but they must forfeit their privilege of holding a tax exempt status if they do. [IRC Section 501 (c) (3) www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf].
So elders and preachers, decide what course you wish to pursue. Do you wish to uphold the gospel, while respecting the tax-exempt boundaries? Are you willing to address “issues” rather than “candidates?” If not, fine, but then forfeit your tax-exempt status. Just don’t break the law by endorsing a candidate while maintaining your tax-exempt status. Don’t place yourself in the indefensible position of breaking God’s laws while you preach to others, telling them to obey the laws of the land.
Point Two: I am forced to wonder how God’s people can be so moved by politics, but not by the religion of Jesus Christ. On this election day, I find myself wishing…
- That more Christians would be as vocal about their Christianity as they are their politics.
- That more Christians would be as willing to promote Jesus Christ to the lost as they are their presidential candidate to their neighbors.
- That more Christians would be as willing to defend the doctrine of Christ as they are the platform of their political party.
- That more Christians would feel the need to be involved in their local church as they feel the need to go out and vote.
Do you not find it strange that God’s children can be moved to be so vocal and involved when it comes to politics, but so timid and uninvolved when it comes to Christianity? Brethren, our actions betray us! Passion is driven by love, and a lack of passion for the cause of Christ betrays our waning love for him.
So today as our nation selects another president, please be mindful of these two points, and remember this final point. God rules in the kingdom’s of men (Daniel 4:17), and we have citizenship in a kingdom that will never be destroyed (Daniel 2:44), and it is ruled by the King of kings and Lord of lords.