Perez and America’s Pulpits

by Lou Binninger

Democrat National Committee (DNC) Chairman Thomas Perez thinks Republicans have an unfair advantage by what is spoken from the pulpits of America. Democrat political momentum is being undermined by preachers according to the DNC leader.

“We need to build a bigger orchestra,” Perez says. “They’ve had a big orchestra for some time and they’ve got the megaphones to amplify it, whether it’s Sinclair at a local level or Fox at a national level. I’ve learned this from the outreach we’ve done at the DNC. ‘Why aren’t we penetrating?’ I ask and I had someone in Northwestern Wisconsin tell me, ‘You know what, for most of the people I know, their principal sources of information are Fox News, their NRA newsletter, and the pulpit on Sunday.’”

The chairman’s remarks were not based on any scientific data but on hearsay. As church attendance is shrinking and churches are closing it is debatable just how much influence religious organizations really have on politics or the culture, whether liberal or conservative. In a typical election, as many Christian people abstain as vote.

However, recent presidential elections were slight exceptions according to Barna Research when 61 percent of evangelicals, followed by notional Christians (59 percent), and born again non-evangelical Christians (58 percent) cast ballots. During the 2012 elections, 59 percent of the evangelicals voted, while born again non-evangelical Christians came out in slightly higher proportion (60 percent). Only 55 percent of the notional Christians had voted that year.

Not all church goers vote Republican either. Blacks in church or not, traditionally in the high 90 percentile lean left. Hispanics historically are democrats. However, President Trump did better with both of these groups in 2016.

Perez may be seeing a pulpit pounding mirage. Most Christian pastors are spineless, afraid of their own shadows. Their chief concerns are attendance, size of offerings and being liked. National politics, capitalism vs. socialism, the Constitution or even Biblical moral principles will get little or no attention in the pulpit.

It was not always so.

In 1761, during the French and Indian War, Congregational ministers in Connecticut pledged absolute loyalty and submission to the King of England. However, by the mid-1760s, after Britain began taxing the colonies, searches and seizures without cause and confiscation of guns many of these same clergy were denouncing the king and justifying non-submission.

The pulpit played a key role in encouraging dissent. The political activism of these black-robed ministers earned them the name “the black regiment.” The Founders saw England’s actions as a plan to take away religious liberty and re-establish the rule of the Church of England.

Most churches saw their God-given rights being undermined and the King and Parliament violating the laws of God. Church leaders were aware of Romans 13, about submission to civil authorities, but also many passages that approve resistance to ungodly authority such as Acts 5:29. It is no surprise that the watchword of the American Revolution among patriots was “No King but King Jesus.”

At the bottom of the original Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress ordered copies of the Declaration first sent not to town clerks or newspapers but to ministers, who were “required to read the same to their respective congregations, as soon as divine service is ended, in the afternoon, on the first Lord’s day after they have received it.”

In 1775, Lutheran Pastor John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg preached a sermon on Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Concluding the message, he declared, “There is a time to preach and a time to fight. And now is the time to fight.”

Muhlenberg then removed his robe to reveal his Revolutionary Army uniform. That afternoon he led 300 men to join George Washington’s troops and became Colonel of the 8th Virginia Regiment. Ministers turned the resistance into a righteous cause and served at every level in the conflict, from military chaplains, members of the legislatures, to taking up arms.

Either DNC Chairman Perez was just trash talking about churches or he is truly ignorant of American history and the deplorable state of the church today. Perez has nothing to worry about politically from this church.

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