Wiley Drake -- Did he cross the line?

In the conversation as to what is appropriate political involvement by pastors, the question has been what is appropriate.
There is a difference of opinion my blogging friend Michael Westmoreland-White (I've never met Michael but since we seem to be forever intertwined in the blogosphere we might as well claim each other as friends) says that pastors should remain out of partisan politics altogether.
Chuck Currie and I, among others, disagree and have endorsed Barack Obama -- but from our blogs and not from our pulpits or using church related materials.
I recently raised questions about the propriety of a bishop -- Gene Robinson -- endorsing Obama because it's harder for a bishop to separate himself or herself from their duties because they are more public figures.
But when it comes to giving an endorsement on church stationary -- as SBC VP Wiley Drake recently did -- that seems to really cross the line. Drake has endorsed Mike Huckabee, a fellow SBC pastor and former governor of Arkansas who hails from Bill Clinton's hometown of Hope, Arkansas, and has called on SBC members to do the same. He says he's doing it personally and that he writes notes to all kinds of people on church stationary and that he's not going to hide who he is -- but if George Regas gets in trouble for criticizing George Bush's war effort prior to an election, then surely this is even more egregious!
Not surprisingly the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has raised the alarm on this. And, in response, Drake is calling for prayers to smite AU. Now that's getting pretty far out there.
More information on this most interesting case can be found here in the USA Today. As for the call to "prayer", here's a more detailed description. Drake even picks out particular people to be prayed against. Wow, this is bizarre!!!


Anonymous said…
I thought George Regas was within bounds not only of the law, but also of church priority. Drake is an idiot. Not endorsing candidates is not failing to engage the political process.
Robert Cornwall said…
Yes, Regas never intended to provide an endorsement - he was simply dealing with issues. Drake is going well beyond.

And in pointing out your position I didn't mean to say you didn't we shouldn't engage in the political process, but that churches should deal with issues not candidates!

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