“Can pulpits across the nation stand for Trump?” A Colbert King column title.
Religious leaders, among their biblically mandated duties, have a responsibility to speak out about criminality, abuse of authority, and immorality, including serial lying by America’s moral leader, the president of the United States.
Oh really? Do they now?
This is America, and the status of churches is that of “voluntary societies.” Neither attendance nor tithing is mandatory. So, predictably, clergy around America today preached about what people wanted to hear, avoiding any unpleasantness, howsoever needful.
Many congregations would rather hear about Donald Trump’s sins than about their own, so no doubt there was no shortage of pastors to preach about Trump’s sins this morning, Mr. King, especially on the coasts and in big cities. They have their reverse-mirror-image counterparts in downtown Dallas and elsewhere around the heartland, telling the faithful how Donald Trump is going to MAGA.
As I noted just days ago, The Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann defined secularism as the negation of man as a “worshipping being.” That negation is manifest wherever the pulpit turns to politics.
Yes, many of our Churches are secular, just as Mr. King wishes — unwittingly, I hope.
I’m not even going to begin to detail the double standards on when the pulpit is supposed to go political (“prophetic,” if that makes you feel better) .
I’m far more concerned about the silence of the Vichy Republicans in the face of this week’s stunning news and as Trump continues ranting at anything that gets in his way, like, say, the rule of law (on matters other than immigration).
UPDATE: I want to make clear that “I’m far more concerned about the silence of the Vichy Republicans” than that of the pulpits not because I think politics is real and religion notional, but because Congress is properly political, the pulpit dubiously so, and rarely if ever should be directly so. The Church has more important work than that, if they’ll just do it.