Another response to LT
I personally would LOVE if church could be an apolitical oasis where we could focus on living our own lives righteously rather than telling the government what to do.
As I've observed throughout my life a rough inverse relationship between the amount of political action a church does and the amount of actual charitable work helping people the church does, I am particularly cynical about the topic. (Yes, I know Kim's church is an exception.)
I honestly think that taking the separation of church and state seriously is the best approach for us.
If nothing else, conservative churches are FAR better mixing church and state. Painting ourselves as taking the constitutional high road seems a much better frame to adopt than the apparent "Well, if you're going to campaign in church, so are we...just...less...effectively" approach seemingly favored by the liberals I know.
As for your implication that I'm saying people don't have the "right to express their opinion," let me say for the record that I do think you have the "right" to say, stand up in church and crow that your party won, harass your fellow congregants to sign your petition at coffee hour and encourage your kids to make the Republican kids in Sunday school so uncomfortable that they feel they must leave.
I just think you're an asshole if you do any of that, and I think we should not be encouraging people to be assholes.
(((There are no neutral corners anymore. I think that is just the reality of this society right now, whether we like it or not. )))
Ummm... Actually, a lot of people I know work for the federal government. Politicking of any sort is illegal there. I worked for the department of commerce and the defense department for awhile and never heard a bit of political discussion because political discussion there can get you fired.
If you choose to let politics seep into every corner of your life, that's your business, but there are plenty of people who can't professionally or who simply choose not to.
(((As more and more things become politically charged in a polarized environment, the "no politics in church position" makes the church irrelevant to the most pressing concerns of the people. ))))
Would you believe, LT, that my most pressing concerns are not political ones? That right now:
- How to live a straightforward life in a complex world,
- What I owe a family that hasn't always treated me well but needs me desperately now,
-How to have a law career with integrity,
-How to help raise my housemates' kid to greet the world with love yet be cautious,
-Whether my socipathic brother has a soul,
-The most appropriate way to right the wrongs I've committed in my life,
-What level of personal comfort is it OK to allow myself in a world where people are suffering,
- and how best to serve the ideals of truth, beauty, holiness and justice
are my most pressing concerns?
I don't think that it is natural to have a congregation that collectively feels political issues are their most pressing concern.
I think if one has one, it's because the church has been so relentlessly political that everyone else has left in frustration.
Personally, I'm happy to join organizations that are willing to work on political issues I care about.
But only church has ever helped me with my real most pressing concerns.
I wish we did more of that and less of political stuff one can find so easily other places. I think as a church we are better suited to deal with concerns like mine than political issues anyway.