Dan Hofrenning, who
teaches a class in religion and politics at St. Olaf College,
Northfield, Minn., says he'd like to see more citizen education in
He says conservative evangelical denominations may be more overt in their "electoral politics" than Lutherans for two reasons: There is less political diversity than in a Lutheran congregation with "Republicans sitting next to Democrats," and other denominations clearly teach and preach that belief leads to political action on issues such as school prayer and abortion.
Pastors walk a religious and political tightrope, he says, but need to remember not only that faith leads to politics but also "transcends politics."
If Kathleen and Peter Braafladt wanted to protest the movement of nuclear waste by sitting on railroad tracks during the week, parishioner Stewart Dall wouldn't much care. But come Sunday, his pastors better say something about Jesus when they step into the pulpit of Messiah Lutheran Church, Vancouver, Wash.
Dall is one of more than 50 readers who responded to The Lutheran's call asking how pastors handle politics from the pulpit.
"What I want to learn is not their stand on current issues, but how the teachings of Jesus can best be exemplified in life's daily challenges," he says.
Most who responded agreed, calling any attempt to endorse from the pulpit a candidate or a position unethical, unwise, inappropriate and even a misuse of power.
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