UPDATED 7/7 - See below.
Went to church while on vacation this week where I learned a valuable lesson. If I want to consider myself a follower of Christ and an American, then I should vote for John McCain.
Yes, it was certainly distracting that a wonderful sermon on the role of faith in the foundation of our country included the following slide:
To be a Christian and a Patriot, you need to vote for the presidential candidate who:
1. Best on national security
2. Will appoint pro-life justices
3. Good family values
(Of course, “good family values” is church code that means you can have an affair, divorce and remarry as long as you condemn the gays. But I digress... )
Now I have no issue with a pastor who promotes one candidate over another. But by slipping this into a liturgical sermon, the message was clear that you would please God by voting for McCain.
I wrote to the pastor Sunday night. I thanked him for the warm, welcoming feeling of his church, the inspiring music and the insights he provided. But I also let him now that when he put up this slide, I was distracted, disappointed and quite insulted. My concluding words:
This November, when I go into the voting booth, I will be thinking about the final lesson our Lord taught us before his Passion. And when I pull the lever, I will consider which man will help this country feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, invite in the unwanted, clothe the homeless, look after the sick and visit those in prison. And despite what you claimed this morning, my vote for Senator Obama will be an act of a Christian and a patriot.
Will let you know if I get a response.
UPDATE 7/7. Received a warm response from the pastor who had given this sermon, noting that his intent was to encourage his congregation to think through these issues as Christians and patriots -- and he was very positive that had taken both matters so seriously in my consideration of the two candidates. I am glad that I wrote to him.