Letter to the Editor
Pastor Scott - May 31, 2022
Often on Saturday I will pick up the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal, sit on our porch with something cold to sip on, read through the paper, do the crossword puzzle and talk with Gretchen. It’s like a perfect afternoon.
Until I read an editorial article last week in the Journal in which a Baptist pastor bemoaned the fact that so few pastors spoke about politics from the pulpit. To prove his point, he cited what he thought was a deplorable statistic that only 16% of worship goers have even heard their pastor mention Donald Trump during a sermon.
Why is this so? The author provides his answer: “Pastors are worried about their jobs.” Because they are worried about ruffling the feathers of their members (i.e. employers), they water down their message, speak to what members want to hear and avoid any possible confrontation. Without saying it, I believe he called me (and anyone else who doesn’t speak politics from the pulpit) cowards!
So much for a leisurely afternoon with the Journal.
I have never done this before, but I immediately fired up my computer to write a Letter to the Editor:
I read Mr. Burge’s article in the weekend edition of the Journal, May 28-29, 2022, and couldn’t disagree more when he wrote, “I can fully understand why (pastors don’t preach politics): Pastors are worried about their job.”
As one who has also “preached nearly every Sunday of my adult life,” the reason for this absence of advocating one side of the aisle over the other from the pulpit has nothing to do with employment but rather with the purpose of worship. These topics can and should be addressed in a forum in which there can be discussion with opposing views and in-depth conversation rather than with a pastoral monologue with quips and sound bites as if one speaks ex-officio for God.
From my Lutheran perspective, the purpose of worship is to preach the Gospel, praise God and administer the sacraments. It is highly inappropriate and arrogant for me to use that sacred time to espouse my own political agenda. The people of God deserve more than that.
The Rev. Dr. Scott Suskovic
Christ Lutheran Church
Charlotte, North Carolina
At times, I have people from Christ Lutheran want me to speak more from the pulpit about abortion, gun control, black lives matter, vaccines, you name it. If it fits with the texts and the proclamation of the gospel, I will. But more often, there is a political agenda hidden in that request that I’m not willing to advance from the pulpit. That’s not the place. Book studies, small group and adult forums make for a better exchange of political/social ideas. It’s a conversation, not a monologue.
For worship, I’ll stick with St. Paul who said, “We preach Christ crucified.” And that is more than enough.