Recently a certain candidate for the office of president announced her campaign and plans to attain our nation’s highest office. Immediately after her announcement via social media there was a flurry of responses and reactions. Naturally, being a minister, I follow all kinds of different clergy from around the country and their reactions were mixed. Some were elated and some were disturbed. But one in particular stood out to me. Referencing Hillary Clinton’s new campaign logo (an arrow that goes through the middle of two bars to make an ‘H’), a pastor said that the arrow would be a direction sign to Hell.
Now I’m not here to endorse or degrade the former Secretary of State, but I certainly believe that she deserves respect for her long and distinguished career for this country. It got me thinking, as a pastor, how should we act during election season? Here are three points that might help us consider the circumstances our nation faces.
- Remember, whether you like it or not, people are watching you with a magnifying glass. Your interpretation of the political climate, who deserves to be president or who doesn’t shouldn’t make its way into your pulpit or into your congregational care. I try really hard to shut political conversations down after learning the hard way that they can hurt everyone involved. The sacred responsibility we pastors have in our pulpits and in our positions is to proclaim that Jesus is Lord. And that same Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” In our time and our place, as Baptists who value the separation of Church and State, we must remember that that is a two way street.
- Pray for those running for high office. I love the Episcopal tradition that during the prayers of the people they often say, “We pray for __________ our president, _________________ our governor, and all those in elected office.” Ultimately the intersection of our faith and politics should be in prayer. Not for someone to win or lose but that they might have strength, peace, and unity of mind to take on such a responsibility.
- Finally, I’m reminded of the movie Anchorman, in which Will Ferrell’s character Ron Burgundy would sign off his newscast with, “Stay classy, San Diego.” Pastors, stay classy. Your office and work requires you to be true to the people you serve, and I am positive you serve a vast array of people. People who are conservative and liberal, Democrat and Republican.
Practice what you preach, be brave enough not to endorse a candidate on social media, or from your pulpit, and in so doing may we all be smart enough to let our wisdom be our silence as it says in Job. May we be brave enough to face into the situations we as a nation are confronted with in faith that God is working still. May we be brave enough to say, even still, come Lord Jesus. Thanks be to God.