07 May, 2005

Partisan Churches Give Religion a Bad Name

I had a through-the-looking-glass moment reading this: "Democrats Voted Out of Baptist Church" in today's New York Times (off the AP wire):

''If these reports are true, this minister is not only acting extremely inappropriately by injecting partisan politics into a house of worship, but he is also potentially breaking the law." ...A member of [the church], said God doesn't play partisan politics... ''God doesn't care whether you're a Republican or a Democrat. It just hurts to see that going on.''

It does sound pretty sad. To paraphrase one of my favorite pastors here in New England, "the best spiritual leaders are above partisanship, even as what they have to say is often inherently political. Jesus was political - but not partisan." It's a fine line, to be sure.

That said, I don't see the NY Times or the Boston Globe expending much energy ferreting out liberal preachers who rail against the war in Iraq, global warming, social security reform and a dozen other issues that are essentially clever, coded ways of appeasing an audience eager to hear variations on the theme of "Republican priorities are evil. I hate Bush." Trust me, there are plenty of them. I'd be happy to advise any editor searching for a source. Such sentiments may be heartfelt, but they're distracting in either direction.

Expect the left to squeeze some serious 'theocracy' mileage out of this, even as I suspect there's more to it. E.g., since views on abortion tend to hew to partisan affiliation, the MSM's spin that this is an anti-Democratic jihad may be cover for a simple dispute over church teachings - something on which churches should have ultimate discretion. This sounds like typical church politics that happened to get 'hot'. The government should steer a wide berth. Not to do so would constitute a theocracy.