Falsehood in Action?: Jerry Newcombe Gives Pastors Bad Advice on Electioneering
In a recent Christian Post op-ed, Newcombe, who is with Truth in Action Ministries, a group connected with the late TV preacher D. James Kennedy, blasts Americans United and me for daring to suggest that pastors ought to obey the law.
I didn’t think that was such a frightening thing to do. In fact, it’s downright uncontroversial. If there’s one message that comes through loud and clear these days, it’s that the American people don’t want their houses of worship to become cogs in some candidate’s political machine. They support the law that prevents this from happening.
The polls on this aren’t even close. Americans overwhelmingly oppose church electioneering. Even LifeWay Research, a polling arm of the Southern Baptist Convention (hardly a font of political or theological liberalism), has found that 85 percent of Americans believe it is not “appropriate for churches to use their resources to campaign for candidates for public office,” and 87 percent do not ‘believe it is appropriate for pastors to publicly endorse candidates for public office during a church service.”
Nevertheless, the Religious Right, which is determined to forge a church-based political machine to assist ultra-conservative candidates, continues to prod pastors to get partisan in the pulpit.
Newcombe’s column, which is also being distributed by the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, tells pastors that they really have nothing to worry about when it comes to electoral politics. In his article, headlined “Pastors and the IRS Bogeyman,” he accused me of trying to scare churches into silence.
I’m not trying to scare anyone. I’m merely pointing out what federal law says, and I’m recommending that churches follow it.