This should not be all that complicated but evidently Fairview Baptist Church of Edmund, OK, doesn't understand Baptist distinctives --- or the law --- very well.
On Sunday, September 26, 2010, Pastor Paul Blair brazenly violated the law and endorsed an OK candidate for governor while in the pulpit
We all know Blair was trying to make a point and challenge the IRS. After all, the Alliance Defense Fund has been encouraging that for a while now.
And he managed to do just that. The endorsement was on video and aired on TV. Just to make sure, Blair mailed a copy to the IRS, along with his endorsement of John McCain in 2008.
The problem is that if churches want to endorse candidates, there is an influence. That influence translates into votes. If someone doesn't think a church and it's pastor can deliver votes, that someone hasn't noticed how politicians have begun courting the Religious Right. There is a reason politicians want a pastor's endorsement: it works.
Second, a pastor has always been able to endorse candidates privately. In fact, the pastor can speak out on moral or spiritual issues. There has never been a problem with that. The issue is the direct involvement of the church into the process with money or influence, or the pastor engaging in partisanship while in his official capacity. This is not all that complicated: if a church wants to act like a political action committee, then let it come under the same rules, pay taxes, disclose the contributors and contributions and move on.
Third, I wonder if Pastor Blair realizes if he can endorse candidates and involve the church in the political process, then he must also advocate the same allowances for the mosque down the street. Hmmmm. Treat others the way you want to be treated, Pastor Blair.
Lastly, I wonder when the last time Pastor Blair read his Baptist history? Baptists have always been in support of the clear separation of church and state, until sometime in the late 1970s when the church was no longer seen as the Body of Christ but a Prize Voting Bloc. Hmmm. Pastor Blair has allowed himself to be played by the political machine --- or maybe Pastor Blair is letting his politics drive his theology. Either way, I would ask Pastor Blair to show in the NT where Jesus or Paul or Peter or any NT writer said a word about using the secular government (and non-Christian tax dollars) to advance the Message of Hope. Jesus said to build the church; he didn't say anything about a political process.
Oooops. Wait a minute. Hold on. I see on the Fairview Baptist Church's website where it has been duped into believing that whole "Christian Nation" historical revisionism. Intentionally misrepresenting history, the law and the Word of God is three-for-three on the Strike Out Meter.
When the church becomes just another voice for the politician, the church will follow whatever politician courts it the most. And Pastor Blair trusts the earthly, carnal, corruptible political process over the things of the Spirit?