As a national defender in the fight for religious freedoms and parental rights, Advocates for Faith & Freedom has increasingly seen pastors back away from teaching biblical worldviews from the pulpit, primarily because of their perception that their congregants don’t want to hear it. This has resulted in a growing disconnect between Christian conservatives and their pastors.
Interestingly enough, a new survey titled “What God’s People Want to Know,” commissioned by WallBuilders and the American Culture & Faith Institute shows conservative Christians actually want to hear more about political issue-related teaching from the pulpit. The fascinating survey asked moderate and conservative Christians about the types of issue-related teaching they wanted to hear from their pastors during the 2014 and 2016 elections.
Contrary to the notion of many pastors that religion has no place in the public square, the findings demonstrate that Christians who hold politically conservative views believe that churches should be more involved in the political process—the opposite message we hear from progressives and the media.
Two out of three respondents said they want more information from their church about what the Bible teaches in relation to current social and political issues. At least 80% of the respondents indicated their greatest need for information related to the following six issues of “high importance”: Abortion (91%); Religious persecution/liberty (86%); Poverty (85%); Cultural restoration (83%); Sexual identity (82%); and Israel (80%).
Sadly, the survey also found that one out of every five conservative pastors did not even encourage their congregants to vote in November 2014. It is also alarming that one-quarter of conservative pastors did not teach their congregants biblical principles
about important social and political issues during the six months preceding the election.
The results also underscored just how tone deaf the media and political candidates are when it comes to the issues most important to conservative Christians. Topics frequently pushed by the media, such as healthcare, foreign policy, immigration reform, jobs/unemployment, taxes, gun rights, military spending, and campaign finance reform, did not make the list of issues that mattered.
What does all this mean and why is it important? The survey reinforces what we have already seen in our legal defense ministry: There is a correlation between the declining spiritual and social health of America and the lack of engagement of our pastors. In the words of the survey summary, “The nation has been demonstrably worse off ever since pastors chose to disconnect faith from politics and governance. America urgently needs cultural direction from those whom God has placed in positions of spiritual leadership. One way of providing such leadership is by shaping the thinking of Christians by teaching them foundational biblical principles related to pressing social and political issues of the day.” To that, we say Amen!
So, what can congregants do to encourage their pastors to preach on what the Bible says about social and cultural matters? Try telling your pastor the following:
You’re interested in learning what the Bible teaches on the topics and would consider them appropriate subjects for the pastor to teach from the pulpit.
You have appreciated the times when the pastor has addressed current issues from a biblical perspective, and you hope to experience more of that kind of teaching on a broader range of issues.
You believe learning about what the Bible says in relation to current issues of importance – beyond abortion and same-sex marriage—would be a significant contribution to the body of Christ.
I believe that pastors have more than an opportunity to teach on these matters; they have a responsibility and calling to do so. While pushback from some congregants is likely, especially those who are more theologically moderate, addressing these issues may serve as an impetus to developing a more biblically centered worldview among many people in the congregation.
We at Advocates for Faith & Freedom are holding free seminars for pastors, administrators, and other non-profit ministries to equip them in leading the Church to positively impact social and political issues. (Check our website at http://www.faith-freedom.com/events for upcoming details).
If you would like more information on what your pastor or church can legally do in terms of speaking about political issues from the pulpit, we have numerous resources available on our website, including the handout “Pastors & Politics: What is Legal and Illegal” and a 10-page booklet, “The First Amendment in Crisis: The Intersection of Church and State.” You can access this information at http://www.faith-freedom.com/learn/church-and-state/.
Thank you for your financial support! We have much to accomplish to change and shape the moral culture of our communities, but we can only move forward with your help. Please continue to hold our attorneys up in prayer as they continue protecting our cherished religious freedom.
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Something concerning religious liberty in our nation happened recently, and with a minimal amount of media fanfare, the event came and went without much recognition. We’d like to bring attention back to it, because we Christians need to WAKE UP to what is happening to our religious liberties!
Earlier this year, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (Republican) vetoed a bill that would give greater religious liberties to individuals and organizations, exempting them from any state law if it substantially burdens their religious beliefs and the exercise thereof. Currently, Arizona, California, and several other states have non-discrimination laws in place for businesses and places of public accommodation, and this Arizona bill sought to increase the religious liberties of individuals and business owners. Here’s a little background about why this bill was introduced…
Since the Bill of Rights was established in 1791, our Constitution has granted individuals the highest protection of religious liberty. From that time until 1990, if a law substantially burdened a person’s or business’s free exercise of religion, the government needed a compelling interest to force that individual or organization to comply to the law. Read More
Yesterday, March 25, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases challenging the religious liberty issues at stake with the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare): Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. andConestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.
What are these important cases about?
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This past December, first grader Brynn Williams’ presentation of her family’s Star of Bethlehem was shut down because she’s “not allowed to talk about the Bible in school.”
Brynn with her family Star of Bethlehem
Brynn’s incident at Temecula Valley Unified School District comes on the heels of a candy cane case involving West Covina Unified School District first grader Isaiah Martinez who was told, “Jesus is not allowed in school.” You can read the full story of that case here.
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Contact: Lori Sanada (951) 500-7854, (888) 588-6888
Teacher to First Grader: You’re not allowed to talk about the Bible in school
Temecula, CA., First grader Brynn Williams’ presentation of her family’s Star of Bethlehem was shut down because she’s “not allowed to talk about the Bible in school.”
Brynn’s incident at Temecula Valley Unified School District comes on the heels of a candy cane case involving West Covina Unified School District first grader Isaiah Martinez who was told, “Jesus is not allowed in school.” A copy of that press release was sent out by Advocates for Faith & Freedom last week and may be found here. Read More