Should pastors be allowed to discuss politics?

There are some pastors on the left and the right who seem to do little else than rant about politics. I am one of those who has strong opinions about politics but will not publically endorse any candidates. I also do not "do politics" from the pulpit. For some, abortion and the sanctity of marriage are political issues and should therefore be off the table of pastoral discourse. But for a pastor to ignore the abortion outrage or the threats against a biblical construct of marriage would be pastoral misconduct.

One of the reasons I write this blog is to bring a biblical frame of reference to a whole variety of issues. In short, I am trying to "do" biblical worldview on this blog. That means, in part that I must deal with something as consequential as the election of our next president. It makes a difference who leads the most powerful nation on the planet. It would be ludicrous for me as a Christian and a pastor to act as if I had no thoughts on the matter or that Scripture was silent concerning such important issues.

On this blog I have made no secret of the fact that I could never vote for a pro-abortion candidate. I know that there is no such thing as the perfect candidate. We are all sinners and deeply flawed. But abortion is a non-negotiable for me. We all have them. None of us, thankfully, are pure pragmatists.

One of the things I am already noticing about the northeast is that there seems to be a very dismissive attitude toward those from the south and midwest. As a native Texan who lived and pastored in Wichita, KS the last nine years I am sure that some of my bretheren in Pennsylvania have a "bless his heart, he's never seen a Democrat" attitude toward me. The fact is, Kansas has one of the most liberal governors in the U.S. Also, the neighborhood in which I lived (College Hill) had a higher percentage of Obama campaign signs than any neighborhood I have seen since first visiting Philadelphia in June. What is more, I have brothers and sisters in the church I pastored all those years who proudly voted for Barack Obama.

As a follower of Jesus I must regularly interact with men and women with whom I have significant disagreements. It is a reality in which I live every day. I think, by God's grace, I do a pretty good job of agreeing to disagree in a loving manner. I don't expect my brothers and sisters in Christ to agree with me about everything. To my recollection that has never happened. I have worshipped and served with people who disagree with me about President Obama. Since politics is not my life I don't lose any sleep over that. I would hope that my brothers and sisters would extend to me the same love and acceptance.

I certainly have disagreements with our new President. But I will treat him with far more respect than President Bush was afforded over the last eight years. Barack Obama is my president. I will pray for him and hope for his success. I will not slander him. In addition to praying for his safety and that of his family I will also pray that the ideas of men like Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers do not find their way into his administration. This seems to me to be an honorable, indeed biblical position.