Faith & Politics

These days it’s not popular to talk about religion or politics. That makes the email I got today so odd. Rick Warren, Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church in California, will be interviewing both presidential candidates for a nationally televised forum. The email he sent was soliciting questions to ask and prayer for wisdom.  This will be a blend of both faith and politics, which should make it a very compelling thing to watch.

Pastor Warren will have to walk a tightrope as a representative of a non-profit organization, which just so happens to be a church, too. As such he cannot officially direct people on how they should vote or he would jeopardize the church’s non-profit status with the IRS. There are some practices that are allowed, but others that are not (see this article for more details). Since Pastor Warren will be interviewing both candidates he should be safe, but you know that the ACLU and other politial watchdog organizations will be keep close tabs on what is said.

I do think it’s important for Christians to be politically active. We’re instructed to pray for our government officials, pay taxes, and submit to laws of the land. It’s valuable to have Christians in positions of influence that can enact positive change for our nation and its future citizens.

Check out the email below:

Dear fellow pastor and church leader,

This next Saturday, August 16, 2008, I will interview Senators John McCain and Barack Obama for an hour each at our nationally televised Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency. The following morning I will be preaching a message entitled “The Kind of Leadership America Needs.”

I’d value your opinion and feedback. What question would you ask BOTH candidates if you had the chance?  Please frame your question in a way that it could be asked of both candidates (to be fair) and email it to me at This would be a great help to me.

We’re in this together.  I also ask you to pray I’ll have the necessary wisdom. This will be an historic event. Never have the two candidates been interviewed by a pastor in a church. It will be a great day for all churches, showing the importance of the local church being at the civil table.

I thank God he has called you to serve Him.  For the global glory of God.

Rick Warren
Saddleback Church
Purpose Driven Network
The Global PEACE Coalition

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