Pacific Justice Institute

COMMENTARY: Church Involvement in Politics

Most Americans have heard the phrase “separation of church and state,” but it particularly rings loudly during election time. And with President Bush’s recent endorsement of the Marriage Amendment, the call to churches to be politically involved will seem even more resonate. The fact is, churches generally want to encourage their members to vote and be good citizens, but they also want their members to vote intelligently, fully informed on the issues. But how far is too far?

The fact is, churches have complete freedom to register their voters, to express concern over issues, to occasionally comment on legislation and initiatives, and even mention candidates behind the pulpit, so long as the pastor makes it clear the church is not endorsing any single candidate. Churches can even set up tables where members may place political information for anyone who is interested. For example, we were recently contacted about a letter written by Dr. James Dobson endorsing Jim Gibson, a candidate for the California Assembly. The churches contacting us wanted to make the letter available, but did not want to be accused of endorsing a candidate. During their consultation, we instructed them to set up candidate forum tables, where members can place letters of endorsement on behalf of different candidates, along with other campaign material.

The bottom line is simple: churches and their members can play a major role in shaping the future of America. Once they know what they can do, it’s only a matter of following their divine calling in the roles they are to play.
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The Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties.

P.O. Box 4366, Citrus Heights, CA 95611
Phone (916) 857-6900 Fax (916) 857-6902