voting in church

We had a guest speaker Sunday in church.
He is a traveling music minister.
He mentioned that if one votes for a cnadidate who is for abortion, we will have to answer to God for supporting murder.
He claimed God said He’s not democrat or republican, but I figured out he probably means Gore, who unless I’m wrong, is pro choice.
Isn’t it illegal to tell folks in church to vote a certain way?
I know he didn’t mention names, but we all knew what he meant!
It just made me want to go out and vote for Gore.
I suppose the ACLU wouldn’t be interested.

I don’t think the ACLU ** would ** be interested.

I don’t like politics coming from the pulpit, myself. however, AFAIK, there’s nothing illegal about it.

Many groups encourage their members to vote certain ways, Unions, Chambers of Commerce etc.

Churches are no different in that respect, although, I’ll grant you most CoC and unions don’t threaten eternal damnation.

Having never been accused of being a Constitutional expert, I’ll offer up my understanding of things as fact. :wink: I’ve always understood “separation of church and state” to mean “protection of the church from influence by the state”, not “protection of the state from influence by the church”.

If the pastor didn’t say so my brother-in-law wouldn’t know when to wipe his ass, I’m sure without the good Reverend’s input he sure as heck wouldn’t know how to vote.


A church can, and has, lost it’s tax exempt status for “politicing from the pulpit”. The fine line seems to be whether the preacher is talking about issues or candidates. It’s OK to preach against abortion, but to use the pulpit to endorse a particular candidate or political party is a no-no.

Nothing here is against the law, but things will change a church/organization’s tax-exepmt status.

A church can lose their tax-exempt status for sayong “Vote for Bob.”

A church won’t lose it’s tax-exempt status for saying, “Abortion is a sin. Oh, and please find out where the candidates stand on this issue before you vote.”

I don’t know about saying, “Vote for pro-life candidates,” where specific candidates are not mentioned but it is a little more precise (which seems to be what the OP says happened). The ACLU would probably be interested, and maybe the IRS as well.

Personally, I would tell the pastor that I am there for spiritual renewal, not political mongering, and that I would find another church if such activities were encouraged there, but that is just my opinion.

Yer pal,

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If the pastor is black and espousing liberal causes, then it is OK, if the pastor is white and espousing conservative causes, then there is alarm. i.e. Jesse Jackson can preach from the pulpit about affirmative action and he is called a “Civil Rights advocate”, Jerry Falwell can preach about abortion and he is a “hate mongeror”.

just an observation. trying to be funny here…

Churches and other groups get around this by handing out “voter guides” which make it pretty clear on who they want you to vote for.

LOL. Just looks funny from a guy that goes by “Satan”.

I don’t know how other churches act in this matter, but politics is never brought up in my church. I’m Methodist, and I’m not sure if this is true of all Methodist churches, either. But, we have had no mention of the elections or any “hints” during a sermon. We do, however, discuss these things outside of church and I do know that my pastor is voting for Bush. I’ll ask him about this and see what he says.

Organizations such as Americans United for the Separation of Church and State have made a practice of notifying political churches that they are in danger of losing their tax-exempt status by politicking (specifically, passing out voter’s guides from the Christian Coalition.) Some churches have been ratted out to the IRS, which took action.
The action mentioned by the OP, which mentioned no candidate by name, probably would not be illegal. I personally believe that any politics in church is unethical.

Well, while Jerry Falwell, has the right to say what he does, I’d have to agree - yes, he is a “hate monger”

Dunno what’s so funny. It’s true. Advocating equal opportunity is civil rights activism. Praising medical clinic bombers is hate.

I would just like to point out that Americans United for Separation of Church and State does go after churches if they endorse candidates of any party or ideological persuasion. (And AU would certainly support any church’s right to take stands on social issues, whether those stands are “left”, “right”, or “center”.) See IRS Should Investigate Detroit Church for Intervening in Michigan Presidential Primary, Says Americans United (where the intervention in question was against George Bush) and Americans United Urges IRS to Investigate New York Church for Endorsing Al Gore, for a couple of examples.

I’m not trying to be a smartass, but you’ll have to show me some evidence that Jerry Falwell ever praised a medical center bomber. I just can’t see that being the case.