Today is “Pulpit
Provocation Freedom Sunday,” which vies powerfully for “most annoying idea ADF ever came up with.”
Here’s the deal. ADF, a public interest law firm with which I have been affiliated and still support sporadically (if you think that’s hypocritical, ask a conscientious liberal if he’s even had to suppress a gag reflex to support the ACLU) is inciting pastors to preen and preach about politicians today.
“Pastors should decide what they preach from the pulpit, not the IRS,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley, who heads the Pulpit Freedom Sunday event. “Churches should be allowed to decide for themselves what they want to talk about ….”
To the list of people who shouldn’t decide what pastors preach, I would add public interest law firms trolling for a test case on the odious Johnson Amendment.
I’m with ADF on the Johnson Amendment, but concertedly preaching politics on a particular day sends a powerful message that the Church is something infinitely inferior to what the Church really is.
My concern is only heightened by the realization, acquired over the last 17 years or so, that pastors really shouldn’t be deciding in a vacuum, or according to what “God laid on muh heart” (a cue that a hobby horse is about to be mounted again), what to preach. They should feel powerfully constrained to preach the whole counsel of God by following traditional lectionaries. The alternative is a theoretical superiority of the Scriptures over all human opinion coupled with a very real shrinkage of the canon to a few of Pastor Billy Bob’s favorites (Daniel chapter 7, Revelation 21 and a few others, for instance).
But I’ll give ADF credit for one thing. It’s working against an extremely lawless, arrogant administration, with a cribbed view of religious liberty and paranoia against the Bill of Rights, that just might take the bait.
If it does, I know who I’ll be rooting for: the schismatic religiopreneurs who never thought their show of bravado would actually land them in hot water.
UPDATE/BACKDATE: When sharing this through Hootlet, I was auto-reminded of similar posts in the past. It gratifyingly appears that my response to this irritant has been fairly consistent over the past 16 months.
* * * * *
“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)