Ministers and Politics

Yesterday a friend whose opinion I respect questioned me about my decision, some months back, to go public on Facebook with my support for the Green Party of Canada. He was surprised that I felt it appropriate for a minister to do something like that.

Personally I don’t think my statement would have come as a big surprise to any of my friends. And my sense is that the St. Margaret’s congregational family were not in any way offended by it. We have members in our church from all political parties, and we seem to manage to get along with each other. I’m not offended or threatened by those in our church who vote Conservative, Liberal or NDP, or (provincially) Wild Rose. I trust that they’ve all thought carefully about their vote in the light of the teaching of Jesus, and they’ve made the decision that seems best to them. I hope they feel the same way about my decision.

I was, however, somewhat surprised to be getting invites from Facebook friends to ‘like’ pages supporting Stephen Harper and other Conservative politicians. I wanted people to stop inviting me to support a political party that they ought to have known (if they had known me better) that I do not support. That’s why I made the simple statement that I intended to vote Green in the next election, and I don’t anticipate that anything will change that. I consider our stewardship of the earth that God created to be the biggest moral issue facing Christians today, and I am using my vote accordingly.

But I would be interested to hear from members of St. Margaret’s, and other church members, on the subject tot whether or not they feel it was appropriate of me (as a minister) to declare my political opinion in public as I did. Were you offend by it, or were you entirely okay with it? I’m genuinely interested.

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2 thoughts on “Ministers and Politics

  1. We are supposed to be engaged in the world, while apart from the world. I’ve always understood that to mean politically as well. I don’t see any problem with a pastor making a statement of his or her political leaning – the boundary would be when the pulpit becomes used for political advocacy (which I know was a common sort of thing in past days). I also don’t see any problem with a pastor offering a critique of political decisions (Rowan Williams was quite clear on his thoughts on Iraq) as we’re called to be interpreters of the world. I’ve certainly done that in the past. As long as politicians make decisions that impact the moral and ethical realm, I’ll keep commenting.

    I will be interested to see other opinions on this point (and I’ll publicly declare that I am presently of no fixed allegiance and fundamentally rethinking prior assumptions about Canadian politics…all a side effect of the TRC and a year of historical reading plus present day political observation).

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