Sunday, November 05, 2006

Rant: CC shouldn't go to church the Sunday before election day

If I hear the basic sentiment "Jesus wouldn't vote republican/for
Bush/with the Christian Coalition" one more effing time at the end of
a sermon that also talks about how awful it is that the Christian
Coalition politics in church, I'm going to start screaming and never
stop. It was borderline acceptable when I was a liberal Christian, but it feels sometimes like Jesus' only use to some UU ministers is as a weapon against Christians.
I had a committee meeting that I needed to attend this Sunday or I wouldn't have gone. I really shouldn't have, because I have heard the textbook UU pre-election sermon and it irritates the living crap out of me.
The basic outline is:
1. Acknowledgement that some people won't like this sermon that attempts to sound like their opinons matter and fails.
2. Basic talk about one's civic duty to vote.
3. Talk about the church's place in society that pretends we believe in the separation of church and state.
4. Talk about how awful is is that at this moment right wing churches that don't respect the separation of church and state are telling people how to vote without naming names.
5. The part where the UU minister proceeds to tell people whom to vote for without naming names. The most subtle format and the ones usually chosen by ministers is "Some candidates care about the poor and the environment, others basically represent selfish people." The usual lay service format is "The Republicans are going to do a bunch of evil stuff."

Newsflash: Encouraging, subtly or otherwise, UUs to vote for liberals is the very definition of "preaching to the choir."

If there are a few non-liberals in the pews, they put up with snide comments, their donations going to causes/candidates they don't believe in and petitions they don't agree with shoved in their faces every other frigging Sunday of the year. IMHO, preaching about how selfish they are so they can hear it surrounded by a congregation full of people smiling and nodding the Sunday before election day is just plain bullying.

I hate to write about my own church, and I wouldn't normally be doing so, except that I know that my church is WAY not alone because I have been to many, many similar services in many other UU congregations.

And it sucks.



Anonymous said...

I'd never thought of this before, but I guess it's the plus side of having my family's religious ceremonies all conducted in a dead language (Sanskrit): the priest may be haranguing us to vote a certain way, but we have no clue what he's saying anyway.

Perhaps you could encourage your ministers and laypeople to deliver their pre-election homilies in Pig Latin. It at least would take the edge off for the conservatives present.

emesselt said...

Loved your cynicism! It has been a major industry to re-cast Jesus into whatever ideologies we cherish. That is just another way of saying that God is "merely man writ large." Which is pretty poor theology, seems to me.
Keep at it: question authority and listen to their answers. Keep pressing into God.

Obijuan said...

I've never liked election sermons, and I know they're going to be expected from me. I've been working on the rough outline in my head for a while now, which goes something like this:

1)In a church that touts democratic principles, voting should be a religious duty, so

2)vote. I don't care who for. Just do it. Period. But,

3)do it after you've really done your homework.

4)And if you really feel the need to mix your politics with your religion, maybe you should think about expending your energy with organizations making sure everyone's right to vote is ensured . . . regardless of who they vote for.

(Amen. Now please rise and join in our closing hymn, #3562 "Hell Bent For Leather")

Chalicechick said...

I really like that, Obijuan.


Anonymous said...

CC wrote:
"If I hear the basic sentiment "Jesus wouldn't vote republican/for
Bush/with the Christian Coalition" one more effing time at the end of
a sermon that also talks about how awful it is that the Christian
Coalition politics in church, I'm going to start screaming and never


If Jesus is voting, wouldn't that be election fraud ... having a dead person vote. :^)

Anonymous said...

What Obijuan described is essentially what we got today -- only maybe briefer. He (our guest minister) mentioned "compassion" but it was otherwise completely non-partisan.

Joel Monka said...

Our sermon was about the types and nature of democracy, raising such questions as "Is our representative there to do our bidding, or is he chosen to use his judgement". Like most of Rev. Clear's sermons, it was quite thought provoking.

Chalicechick said...

I am delighted to hear that my experience was less typical than I assumed. Yay!


Lilylou said...

I'm on Vashon Island today, CC, but when I get home on Tuesday, I'll post my Nov. 5 sermon so you can see what happened at the Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship on pre-election Sunday. I kinda liked it.

Heckuva storm here all weekend----the Pineapple Express, they call it. About 6 inches of rain in four days.

Chalicechick said...

Again, delighted that so many people did not share my experience.

I'm tempted to take this post down as I really didn't like writing about my own church.


Bill Baar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bill Baar said...

I sat through this sermon last Sunday too.

The theme was the Pasadena Church in hot water with IRS over politics and its 501c3 status.

My family doesn't agree on politics in this election, but we agreed we left Church confused after this one. Was the point Churches should, or should not have the tax exemption? And if you think so, then someone has to police the rules, how do you do it?

Was the point you think the IRS biased here? If so, say so, and maybe give some evidence.

My Kerry-voting-spouse called it emoting.

That's why I don't like to go to churches were the clerics mix politics and faith too much. They emote and sense flys out the window.

Will said...

Glad for my sake you didn't take this post down. I believe that was the exact sermon I heard pre-election day. You are very perceptive,CC.