Church and State

Church and State:

Religion and Politics

By Dr. Jim Denison

Perhaps you’ve heard of the “Pulpit Initiative.” A group of ministers came together in Fall 2009 to challenge the IRS regulation prohibiting pastors from making political endorsements from the pulpit. More than 30 ministers took partisan messages to their congregations in flagrant violation of the IRS ruling, hoping to generate a legal battle.

What should be the relationship of church to state, religion to politics? Should I use a website essay to critique the candidates and even endorse one? Should my church? Should yours? How should faith and politics intersect?

On Thursday, April 30, 1789, General George Washington was presented to the United States as our first president. As the General walked to the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City, thousands of people jammed into the street below gave him a thunderous ovation.

Suddenly the crowd became quiet as General Washington turned toward Judge Robert R. Livingston and placed his left hand on an opened Bible sitting upon a table beside him. He raised his right hand, and swore to “faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States.”