Well, now the Democrats have finished their convention with leaves me with some more questions. Being probably one of the few Disciples of Christ pastors that is not a Democrat, I tend to observe how my colleagues act. As the Democrats politicked in Charlotte, it was interesting to see how many clergy were so free in their partisanship on social media. It seems I wasn’t the only who was noticing this. Methodist Pastor Steve Rankin was observing this as well:
Which leads me to something I know I should avoid, but cannot. Blog posts and Facebook status updates and comments from a number of United Methodist clergy illustrate the problem. (Not all or even most clergy are guilty of my complaint, but far too many are.) I think religious leaders – if we clergy are leaders – have to exercise special caution about how we state our political views. I must say, I have been often quite disturbed and sometimes even alarmed at comments and links UM clergy attach to their Facebook status or elsewhere. I found myself wondering, “Does this pastor have any church members on the other side of the issue? What might those members think if they knew of their pastor’s open disdain for their candidate?” That scenario works for both ends of the political spectrum.
I agree with Rankin on this. Of course we shouldn’t hide our opinions and in a democracy we are going to share them. But just because we have opinions doesn’t mean we have to share them with your closest million friends and we don’t have to be obnoxious about it. No doubt there are a lot of conservative Republican pastors that wear their partisanship on their sleeves as well. But as I said last week, we clergyfolk have to be careful how we share our political views. We don’t need to hide them, or become apolitical, but we do have to realize that there are people in our church who probably don’t share your views. We are called to minister to the whole church, not just those who share our own ideology.