(Provided by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Committee to provide “Political Dos and Don’ts For Churches.” Information adapted from resources provided by Jay Sekulow and Faith and Family.)
Our churches are filled with people who have a variety of views and opinions on numerous issues. One of the things that makes our country so great is our right to agree or disagree, to vote for who we want without fear of impunity and to champion or fight against causes. This is the freedom and privilege we have as citizens. While we need to proceed with caution, and avoid promoting any one candidate or political party, churches do have a place in the political process, and there are things that can be done to present both sides and bring to light the moral position of all candidates to help Christians become informed voters. Here are a few things churches CAN do!
• Preach sermons on moral and social issues and civic movements. We can give instruction regarding moral, social and legislative issues.
• Educate on the political process and political, social and legislative issues. Answer questions for congregation members on how to vote, where to vote; relieve some anxiety about the process.
• Distribute candidate surveys and incumbent voting records. Give suggestions regarding questions for them to ask candidates, communicate information regarding town hall meetings.
• Encourage members to voice their opinions in favor or opposition to legislation. It is our duty to ensure our elected officials know where we stand on the issues.
• Discuss biblical instruction regarding particular moral, social and legislative issues. Teach Scripture. Reference Scripture regarding the issues that matter.
• Support or oppose judicial, department or cabinet appointments.
• Support or oppose other political appointments for non-elected offices.
• Provide use of facilities to candidates. It is fine if you want to invite candidates to speak at church services, as long as you invite all candidates. This is a great opportunity for the congregation members to discern for themselves.
• Support or oppose positions unrelated to the church.
• Support or oppose legislation and positions that directly relate to the church.
• Engage in voter registration activities that avoid promoting any one candidate or political party. Distribute voter registration forms.
We have much more liberty than most members realize to express our opinions concerning legislation and encourage members to voice their views in favor or opposition.
One of the most important elections in our state’s history is upon us. It will be a heated battle. Emotions will run high. People will have a desire to have their opinions heard and to sway others to their side. There is much we can do as churches to engage in the political process. Although we are Oklahomans and American citizens and members of political parties, we are citizens of the Kingdom first and must make our voices heard.
Read more about “Political Dos and Don’ts” by visiting www.BGCO.org/ERLC.