Monday, February 21, 2011

Presidents' Day

A couple of years ago, after a national election, the Sunday morning pastoral prayer at my church included mention of our newly elected national and local leaders. One young member stood up immediately, walked out of the sanctuary, and confronted the pastor afterward: asking how he could violate church and state by praying for the President. 

I think perhaps this individual missed the point. As Christians, isn't it our duty to pray for our communities and our leaders?  Isn't prayer part of discernment about the paths we choose to take?  Personally, I am uncomfortable with the idea of churches controlling governments (directly or indirectly) but am quite comfortable with churches lobbying for funding addressing issues they find important (e.g. poverty, hunger, AIDS, etc.)

It's one thing for a church to tell parishioners how to vote.  It's quite another to pray for our country and its leaders.

A few thoughts about Church and State:
U.S. Constitution .net (Jefferson's Wall of Separation Letter and the The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment)
And, of course, there's always Wikipedia (Separation of church and state and Separation of church and state in the United States)


John Edward Harris said...

This was part of the Prayers of the People last Sunday. I use a similar petition every Sunday. It is based on the Prayers of the People in the Book of Common Worship.

Lord of Love,
lead all nations in the way of justice and goodwill.
Direct those who govern,
Especially President Obama, Governor Cuomo, and Mayor Bloomberg,
that they may rule fairly, maintain order,
uphold those in need, and defend oppressed people;
that this world may claim your rule and know true peace.

Sarahlynn said...

Love that.