Rude Pastor

August 02, 2007

Recently I have commented about the problem of rude Christians shouting to protest and interrupt prayers or church services. Today, Ethics Daily reported about another pastor who was rude--literally! Reverend Tim Rude, a supporter of presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, sent out an email attacking the religion of candidate Sam Brownback. Here is part of what Rude wrote to some other pastors:

Pastors XXX and XXX relayed to me that you are both supporting Sam Brownback for President. It sounds like there is, in fact, regular contact with Senator Brownback and yourselves. ... It is our duty as Christians to take our stewardship of this country extremely serious. And I am sure that you are aware that our entire Walnut Creek leadership staff, to my knowledge, is supporting Mike Huckabee.

... Huckabee is an evangelical. He has not learned how to speak to evangelicals; i.e. Bush 41 & 43. He is one of us. I know Senator Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002. Frankly, as a recovering Catholic myself, that is all I need to know about his discernment when compared to the Governor's. I don't if this fact is widely known among evangelicals who are supporting Brownback.

... I would ask you to reconsider your support of Senator Brownback; and lead your people in not splitting the Christian vote among the two candidates. I have been impressed with the pastors across the Greater Des Moines area switching their support or giving their support for the Governor. We are in Iowa for 'such a time as this'.
The focus of the controversy has been on Rude's attack on Catholicism by using Brownback's conversion to question his discernment. Such an attack is beyond the pale should never be made. What happened to not having a religious test for office? And why is it that Christians continue to allow political differences to cause greater division among brothers and sisters? The Brownback campaign rightly called the email "anti-Catholic." Rude claimed that was not the case but apologized for the remarks. However, he also responded by stating:
All I was trying to say is that Protestants should vote for Protestants.
It seems like he has not yet got the message. And it seems that Reverend Rude is the one who really lacks discernment!

The other significant problem here is that Rude and other pastors seem to be getting way too involved in the political process. Is it good for a church's staff to be associated with a political candidate? It seems quite likely that such open support of a candidate could create a barrier for sharing the love of Jesus with people of a different political persuasion. The 2008 election is still very far away and this case is likely only foreshadowing of what is to come. It seems that many Christians will unfortunately use religion as a political weapon or tool.