How Active Should Christian Ministry Be In The Social-Political Arena?

Today Americans anxiously await the outcome of a Supreme Court decision on a recent health care law.  This piece of legislation deeply affects the community we serve as these individuals are frequent consumers of health services.  Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on this law.

This situation begs the question of how active those of us in Christian ministry should be in the social and political arena.  While churches and Christian non-profits need to be very careful not to endorse candidates or parties in order to keep their 501(c)(3) status, taking policy positions are not necessarily out of order.  Standing for values such as sanctity of life, humane care of the disabled, and moral behavior offers the leadership that those we serve are looking for.  We are also uniquely positioned to remind individuals that there hope is in Christ alone, not a party, not a law.  And Christian organizations like The Center of Bioethics and Culture add value to what is going on in the secular world.

How is your organization handling these issues?  We’d love to hear from YOU!

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  1. #1 by Chrisa on June 28, 2012 - 11:32 am

    My opinion? If you’re a church / ministry, and you want to retain your 501 status, you should stay out of politics. I’m pretty sure that’s the tax law anyway.

    • #2 by SNAPPIN' MINISTRIES on June 28, 2012 - 12:15 pm

      So if government would say, we want to put people with high cost special needs last in line for treatment or even exterminate them, faith-based organizations would have to stay silent? I think that you need to reexamine what the law says there.

      • #3 by Chrisa on June 28, 2012 - 12:37 pm

        How about an example grounded in reality? Like the priest at my church talking during his sermon about how Obama should be defeated? Happened. True story.

      • #4 by SNAPPIN' MINISTRIES on June 28, 2012 - 2:19 pm

        That speech is against a CANDIDATE, not a policy. Speaking against any one party or candidate is not permissible for religious non-profits. Speech against particular policies is.

  2. #5 by Chrisa on June 28, 2012 - 5:37 pm

    Unfortunately, it often blurs the line. If it’s the policy of a candidate or politician that is in conflict with what the church feels is the appropriate stance on the policy, the politician is roped into the speech. For example, women’s reproductive rights. Rather than preach against abortion or birth control, I’ve heard ministers of many different denominations denounce individual candidates AND entire political parties for their position on the policy of whether or not it should be legal. That, in my opinion, is across the 501(c)3 line.

  3. #6 by drgrcevich on June 29, 2012 - 12:18 am

    I’ll have LOTS to say about this in the days and weeks ahead. A couple of preliminary thoughts…We’re called as Christians to be agents of redemption in EVERY area of life. We would be abandoning our responsibility to care for the sick and advocate for “the least of these” if we remain silent as our society (through the political process) allocates resources to meet competing needs.

    The other thought is that God subjects us to governmental authorities and requires us to submit to legitimate authorities. At the same time, we NEVER serve the purposes of God by violating the principles of God. An extremely powerful argument can be made for aggressive defense of the right of conscience. Larger Christian non-profits and parachurch ministries will likely be facing the same difficult decision the leadership of the Catholic Church is facing in following the dictates of conscience.

    Finally, the moral authority of Christ’s followers when carrying out Christ’s work is EXTREMELY THREATENING to those in power. We shouldn’t be surprised when authorities act as they do when threatened.

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