DCC News

 

Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church

 

May 30, 2008

                                                           

All the Candidates’ Preachers

There is something new in this year’s Presidential Campaign; something we have not seen in the past decade.

Candidates are not only running from the endorsement of certain Christian ministers; they are publicly rejecting those ministers.

This year’s events began with Rev. Josiah Wright in Chicago, the long-time minister of Barack Obama. When snippets of Rev. Wright’s sermons were reviewed on the internet, a firestorm erupted.  Rev. Wright, the very successful pastor of Trinity UCC in Chicago had some strong comments about the United States and it all played in well with the political opposition of Obama. Both Wright and Obama were denounced by many. Obama felt compelled to distance himself from Rev. Wright and speak out against that which Rev. Wright had said.

In the past couple weeks, John McCain has felt the need to repudiate the support of two Christian ministers, neither of whom are his home church pastor. One minister is the Rev. John Hagee in Texas. Rev. Hagee has publicly supported McCain, but Hagee has also been quite vocal and critical of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as giving controversial remarks about Hitler being a part of God’s plan to return the Jews to Israel. McCain strongly and forcefully rejected Hagee’s endorsement.

The second pastor was Rod Parsley of the Columbus area. Parsley has been quite critical of Islam, making little or no distinction between militant Islam and mainstream Islam. McCain strongly and forcefully rejected Parsley’s endorsement.

What gives here?

I, personally, have no endorsement of Obama or McCain up my sleeve. Both are honorable men and I urge you to pay close attention to their candidacies; one of them may be your next President. (Yes, Hillary Clinton is still in the running.)

But what seems to have happened is that the tables have been turned. Rather than Presidential Candidates lining up waiting for influential Christian ministers to endorse them, the candidates are now being selective about which preachers endorse them. The public and candidates have finally figured out that a Christian minister’s support is not necessarily ordained by God and that the words and thoughts that come out of the preacher’s mouth can become attached to the candidate.

 

There is a legitimate role of the Christian minister to question public policy and this nation’s objectives on the world stage. Many Christian ministers believe that America has a unique role in the world, one that has been sanctioned by God. While I believe that this nation has a unique role to play on the world stage, I am hesitant to believe that God is using this nation alone to guide the world. But for those who see this as God’s nation then they do indeed have much influence on our public policy, military and trade practices. But so do those ministers who question the influence of America. In other words, Christian ministers have a right and duty to speak boldly, but it needs to be remembered that Christians are not a monolithic block of preachers, voters or worshippers. Certain Christians think differently and view the world differently from other Christians. The endorsement of one Christian minister is not the endorsement of all of American Christendom…and that is what the candidates are now realizing.

It cuts both ways. My public support for one Presidential candidate means that the candidate will now be held accountable for virtually anything I have ever said in public and in print. In turn, I will be linked with any and all words and policies of that candidate. It may not be right or it may be exactly how things should be; but it is the ways endorsements are viewed nowadays.

I have very strong feelings about this country, the candidates and what policies they will enact when they are elected.  But, I have yet to have a candidate seek my public endorsement. Nor have I offered any public support of a candidate. It’s probably just as well for both of us.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing