Philo gave us the scoop on a church getting investigated by the IRS for having an antiwar sermon where the minister, by total coincidence, having nothing to do with influencing thoughts on the upsoming elections, told the church what Jesus would have thought of the war that just happened to be a huge campaign issue.
I have to say that I find the general "Boy, if Jesus were alive today, he would totally agree with my political views" topic really tired, no matter which side is preaching it.
That said, I think the IRS should have many more blatant cases of politicking from the pulpit than this one. Heck, I could give them three or four that I've actually witnessed that were more blatant. Not going to, but just saying...
I prefer going one notch more careful than the IRS standard Derek cites in Philo's comments. I'd like to see a standard where we don't endorse/criticize candidates OR policies, but the moral stands beneath them. That seems firmly religion's territory. And if we don't change people's minds about the moral questions, killing one referendum or getting one candidate elected is just a band-aid over a deeper wound anyway.
In my church we just had a sermon on the evolution debate where our minister spent a good ten minutes telling us over and over how right we are to believe in evolution. (Before giving us the great insight that evolution and God's hand in creation are not at all incompatible, a point my mom made as convincingly and a hell of a lot more concisely when I was ten. But I'm getting off track...) We're all very certain that the church should stay out of science, even when a church thinks it knows what is best for science.
Is it so unreasonable to ask the church to do the same when it comes to politics?
Is there anyone here who can tell me with a straight face that listing off one candidate's policies and how much Jesus would have disliked them two days before an election has nothing to do with influencing votes?
Furthermore, if the church is so known for its liberal social activism that church members suspect this is political payback, why on Earth is telling its members that Jesus was a liberal necessary? They pretty obviously already believe it. Sermons that tell me how right I am mostly bore me.
Ps. Yes, I would feel the same way if a conservative church preached about how the capital gains tax makes baby jesus cry for half an hour, then added a quick disclaimer that moral people can vote both ways. Of course, it sucks when conservatives do it too. Duh.