I just sent this email to the clergy at my church (Obama related)

Let me just say that I am great friends with all of the staff at my church. My pastor is ultra-liberal, as are most of the staff.

But our minister to children, who is a great family friend, is now attending a McCain/Palin rally here in town.


The thing is, she really does not keep up with any issues. She will see Sara Palin (who she would NOT agree with on many things) and think “Oh she’s just like me, working Christian woman with a family.” and vote for her. She will hear ACONAyersMuslimRevWright and think…oooh Obama’s a bad guy.

But I know her, and I know if she knew the facts she would support Obama.

So, I wrote this email to the staff at my church. What do you think?

Hello all! First a disclaimer, I am supporting Barack Obama. Just wanted to be upfront about that.

While clergy traditionally do not openly endorse candidates from the pulpit, they do have a strong influence on their congregations. As we the election draws closer, I wanted to make sure that you have these resources available to you to help you as you make your decision.

This website, Clergy for Obama is quite extensive. But if you take the time to read the first page, you will see many Reverends, ministers, pastors, and church workers share why they are excited about supporting Barack Obama. Over and over they say they are passionate about serving the poor, feeding the hungry, loving their enemies, making peace…you know, crazy stuff. (Where DO they get these ideas?) They know Barack has worked on these same issues his entire life, and as President he will continue the fight.

In fairness, I tried to find the equivalent page for McCain. There does not appear to be one, although recently the influential Dr. James Dobson of “Focus on the Family” reversed course and endorsed McCain/Palin based on Palin’s ultra-conservative church and ideology.

One of the weapons that is used against Barack most often is fear. People who oppose Barack’s values have twisted his words and made up tales out of whole cloth in order to scare the electorate about his background, beliefs, and intentions. I have found these two websites invaluable in sorting facts from distortions. I think as election day nears, we will need these references more and more frequently!



There is a lot of good information in these links. I hope you have the time to take a look.



“Then Jesus said to him ’ put your sword back in into its place, for all those who take up the sword, shall perish by the sword’”…but what did he know, anyway?

So what do you think? My goal is for her to take a look at the links and consider the facts…the rest is up to her.

I could just talk to her directly, but I am not sure how that would work, or even how the opportunity would arise.

So wait, you know that she is going to attend a rally? She did not attempt to coerce anyone else to go, or talk politics from the pulpit, but you felt compelled to email the “staff”?

Your letter is fairly innocuous, but I can’t help but feel that it comes off a little too patronizing. If you wanted to engage her in conversation or even a personal email, that might work, but to send it to everyone is odd, unless I parsed you wrong. If she remains unconvinced by you I would back off. Nobody wants to hear someone try to convince you that you are wrong, no matter what side they’re on.

I sent it to everyone so she would not feel I was singling her out. Also, keep in mind we are all pretty good friends, its not like this is coming from some anonymous campaigner.

Yeah, whatever the context, your letter is certainly chripy and non-threatening, but I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish here. You’re trying to make sure the clergy staff at your church are on the same side as you are? I think that’s a mistake.

They can search out their own facts and make up their own minds. I think your trying to “enlighten” them is, from a philosophical standpoint, somewhat patronizing.

Unless she’s bringing her political views to the pulpit, you ought to mind your own business.

It’s none of your business who she supports and for what reasons. She’s not proselytizing to you, is she? (If she is, you can do it back)


But shouldn’t we be trying to enlighten others about why we like our candidate? Isn’t that what grassroots camaigning is all about? And shouldn’t we want to make sure the folks leading our church understand the issues? What is the alternative, tell she is woefully uninformed? Which she is, by the way.

All I am doing is try to show her Obama embodies her values, which she doesn’t know because she admitedly doesn’t pay attention to the details of the election.

And in the greater scheme of things, I am not sure why it is wrong to ask people to be informed and tell them why you like your candidate.

(and the other folks on the staff will know who it is directed at…she probably won’t catch on)

And your last sentence here makes me wonder if that’s more the point, to put a little pressure on her to change her mind. You’ve managed, under the guise of “shouldn’t everybody be informed”, to single her out among the staff.

I’m almost amused by your assumption that if she were only smart enough to be informed, of course she’d agree with you.

And wouldn’t people, if they were informed, really want to be Catholic, like me? And surely, if they knew how great dogs were, everyone would love to have a pup, like I have 5. And certainly, if they could just see how wrong it is to eat meat, thinking people would be vegans.

If someone wants your opinion, they’ll ask. Otherwise, keep your opinion to yourself. To me, your email is no better than a pre-recorded phone spam expounding on why you’re right and someone else is wrong.


It reads to me as if you’re subtly trying to get her to influence the congregation - so it doesn’t just look like one friend advising another helpfully, but more like you’re trying to recruit a campaigner.

I have no idea if that’s what you really are trying to do, but that’s what it looks like - and because it looks like that, people are going to think it is that.

Why would that amuse you? I know her. I know what her values are. She is a progressive christian very interested in social justice issues like global hunger, human rights, she has helped feed hundreds of kids many many time in partnerships we have around the world. She travelled to Leipzig, Germany this year to hear Shane Claiborne, a very progressive christian speak.

She just is not very interested in politics. I want to make sure she realizes that one candidate aligns closely with her beliefs and one does not.

Then you need to talk to her, or you come off sounding like a dick.

You mentioned grassroots campaigning, but what you wrote isn’t the same thing as real grassroots campaigning. The grassroots movement is about opening up a dialogue with people you know, what you wrote is essentially spam and comes across as a bit condescending to boot. I delete this stuff from my conservative friends and relatives on a near daily basis without actually reading it, I am able to form my own opinions without their “help”. On the other hand, if one of them actually wants to sit down and talk to me, I am more than happy to have a discussion.

You keep saying that you know her, so talk to her. Don’t send a mass impersonal email.

If you don’t know her well enough to speak directly about it, how do you know that she doesn’t keep up on the issues? Who she personally supports is none of your business. And surely you’re not implying she should endorse someone from the pulpit.

There’s a fine line between being passionate and being overbearing. You’ve crossed that line.

You know, if you really wanted your message to spread thru the church then I think sending the email to the pastor would be fine, but everyone on the staff was too much. They have other stuff to do, they can’t be expected to read everything that every church member says is important. If the pastor thinks the links are useful then he/she will pass it along.

Sending it to the staff as a means of reaching her personally I don’t think was the best call, again, because their time should be respected. And I agree, since you are friends with this woman, you should be able to have a conversation with her. If she’s not open to that conversation then she probably doesn’t want to get political email as part of church business.

How important is abortion/choice to her as an issue? It could be that she’s progressive/liberal in a lot of other areas, but that’s a deal-breaker for her w/Obama.

Do you really think she HASN’T heard all the bad stuff about Palin?

Well she had an abortion, so I guess she would be ok with other women having the option.
I appreciate everyone’s opinions, but I don’t think I have made clear the nature of the relationships i have with the staff. We are friends. Beer drinking, vacation sharing, mission trip going, concert attending, birthday sharing friends. I don’t inundate them with emails, but we communicate almost daily.

I COULD talk to her. In fact we have had conversations when she was undecided. Then someone stuck a McCain sign in her yard and she said that made up her mind…:rolleyes:

I really wanted to get across the point that there is a large number of clergy passionate about the things she is passionate about who support Obama, and that McCain doesn’t offer the same shared values.

I guess I am just baffled that knowing what I know about her, that she made her decision because someone stuck a sign in her yard. This was my last ditch effort to reach her.

But people are often baffling, no?

Anyone who tells me they are “excited” about a candidate hits my Ignore button. Excited to me implies giddy and not really thinking rationally. It reminds me too much of women swooning over Clinton during his first campaign and being quoted that they were voting for him because he’s so good looking and has such charm and charisma…

That is so arrogant and so wrong on so many levels I don’t know here to begin to tell you how wrongheaded that perspective is. Women who have had abortions are often the most vociferous as being against them later on down the line.

Re your email, acquaintances who send out politically oriented emails to me because I am socially connected to them are annoying at best. Your email is suffused with the sweetly condescending assumption that if only people now the truth they will do the right thing.

Stop making her your project and leave her alone. I’m likely to vote for Obama but I’m telling you you’re coming off as a cliche of an arrogant liberal assuming others are too uniformed to make a rational decision.

I’ll start off by pointing out what is obvious from my location: I am Canadian, and therefore obviously not voting in the American election (I am voting in the Canadian federal election tomorrow though).

So if I got an equivalent email from someone on the Canadian election, I would be offended because:
a) I believe it wasn’t your intent but you did have some patronizing overtones in your e-mail that suggested the receivers weren’t at the very least not paying attention to the candidates, their positions on issues, and the campaign strategies;
b) I don’t like proselytizers and your e-mail had overtones of that as well.

It seems to me that you could have approached in an unbiased way, and one that was providing information that the minister and the church could have available for its members. The sites would then speak for themselves. For example: " I’ve found some online information that church members might find interesting in helping to choose who to support that I decided to send you. The sites include information about the clergy supporting each candidate and also where the candidates stand on issues important to our church." If your minister is of the general world view you say she is, she could then have read the information on the websites and formed her own opinion.

You are right. I was out of line.