Ungodly RequestFebruary 17, 2006
Here is an article about the North Carolina Republican Party asking members to send their church directories so the Party can contact more people for support. Thankfully some people are condemning the request.
Dr. Richard Byrd Jr. of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Greensboro stated, "I would not want my church members to have their names given to either political party, Republican or Democrat. ... That, in my opinion, would be unethical. ... It would be betraying the trust of the membership."
Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Meek said, "We believe that people go to church to worship and not to sign up to receive Republican propaganda. ... I would say the vast majority of Democrats are Democrats because of their faith, not in spite of it. But that is a place that is so sacred that we should not inject politics into the church."
And the Reverend Ken Massey of First Baptist Church in Greensboro argued, "I would say you're encroaching on sacred territory. ... When congregations inject politics into their congregational life, it will be bad for everybody."
Such a request is inappropriate and completely wrong. If the state's Republican Party really respects people of faith and wants their votes, then they should keep politics out of the church. Any church member who gives the directory to the Party is sending the message that human power and politics are more important to them than God's heavenly Kingdom.
UPDATE [2/18/06]: Reverend Welton Gaddy, President of the Interfaith Alliance has issued a great response to the state GOP's request. He argues:
"Collecting church directories intrudes on the integrity of houses of worship and compromises them by classifying them as political organizing tools. I am fearful that initiatives like this by any of the political parties will lure religious organizations and religious leaders into dangerous, unconstitutional territory. Even worse, proponents of such list-gathering are leading religious leaders into the temptation of forfeiting the prophetic voice of religion."
Amen! It is sad to see churches giving up their prophetic voice for politics. Thanks to Blog from the Capital for pointing out Gaddy's response.