What Would Jesus Do?

Religious bigotry is bad enough, but when you mix it with politics—well, it ain’t pretty.  Pastor Chan Chandler allegedly expelled nine members from his church because they did not vote for Bush during the last presidential elections.

Members of the congregation said Chandler told them during last year’s presidential campaign that anyone who planned to vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry needed to leave the church

Longtime member Selma Morris, who was treasurer at the church, said Chandler’s sermons remained political after Bush won re-election. This past week, his comments turned to politics again at a church gathering that ended with nine members voted out.

“He went on and on about how he’s going to bring politics up, and if we didn’t agree with him, we should leave,” Isaac Sutton told The News and
Observer of Raleigh. “I think I deserve the right to vote for who I want to.”

Of course, I think the funniest bit of this piece (if you can find anything about this crap funny)is that the pastor insists the expulsions weren’t poilitically motivated.  I’m not sure what legal action can be taken.  I was under the impression that churches maintain the right to have exclusive memberships.  At any rate, why not just change churches?  I mean, does it really matter where you worship, so long as you do it?

Makes me wonder what Jesus would do….

24 thoughts on “What Would Jesus Do?

  1. What action can be taken?

    Report the church to the I.R.S. Churches only have tax-exempt status because they stay out of politics; once a religious organization engages in obvious political activity, they’re supposed to lose their tax-exempt status. (Of course, that hasn’t stopped several political groups from using the bible to hide from the tax man.)

    In a world where the government was obeying its own rules, this would be the right thing to do.

  2. Something that everyone seems to have missed with this story is southern baptist churches are notorious for spliting or expelling members for the most minor of reasons. The most common being two members each think they have spoken with god but disagree on what exactly god said, and whamo, where there was one church now there are two.

    This is nothing new.

  3. Michael, in theory reporting these cracker churches to the IRS would get their exemptions pulled.  However, in these times, I cannot imagine there’s a politician out there with the balls to champion some action like that.

    Under this reasoning, even the catholic church should have their exemption yanked.  Didn’t the current poop, er – pope – send a letter out to U.S. bishops just prior to the election informing them that anyone voting for Kerry should be excommunicated?  How is this not politicking from the pulpit?

  4. The same item was also linked on fark. The article contained a piece of information which will keep me smiling well into next year :

    Baptist churches are autonomous and answer to no central authority.

    How very true…

  5. Baptist churches are autonomous and answer to no central authority.

    Jesus doesn’t count?

    Report the church to the I.R.S.

    I agree.  Wanna get that political, pay the man.

    Politics aside, I believe that churches do have the right to pick and choose their followers.  If you don’t like what your church is doing, then do as Ivan Stang says: “Start your own damn religion”.

  6. Didn’t the current poop, er – pope – send a letter out to U.S. bishops just prior to the election informing them that anyone voting for Kerry should be excommunicated?

    No.

    Cindi, is that supposed to be a joke because even as an nonpractising catholic, I find these kinds of uninformed anti-catholic comments insulting. If you’re going to go around make comments about other peoples religions, please have the courteousness to check your facts.

    Thanks.

  7. It’s a fine line.  Politics and religion—social interaction and policy, and the moral rules that should drive individuals in their social and personal behavior—are (or should be) tightly woven, on a personal basis.

    Thus, if someone were an obvious and unrepentant sinner (drinking and whoring and bullying), I could see a congregation say, “If you don’t want to repent of that, we can’t let you be here with us.”  Supporting someone who (in the pastor’s view) is a liar, a coward, an advocate of sodomites, and a baby-killer might conceivably be the same thing.

    That said, Jesus didn’t do much expelling from his “church,” except when he lit into the money-lenders and the self-righteous hypocrites.

    People have the right to associate as they choose, particularly in private.  That right isn’t absolute, but I’d be reluctant to single out this church as being anything other than a bunch of goofballs.

    Can religious figures advocate (directly or indirectly) political matters?  It’s tempting to say no (and certainly the IRS code seems to draw some serious lines, but by the same token how can you speak of how we should behave toward others, and what God’s will is, without dealing with the political arena?  Care for the poor, capital punishment, abortion, gay rights, war and peace—all of these are fundamental to both modern politics and religion.  It’s a bit gross to see it brought up in terms of specific candidate endorsements (or requirements), but it’s really a small step from saying that, say, protection of the unborn from the holocaust of abortion and that we should all speak and act in accordance with that priority.

    I also wonder if it would have gained the same opprobrium (or in the same quarters) if it had been a congregation expelling folks who voted for George Bush because of the latter’s culpability for war crimes and deaths in Iraq.

  8. Frank: Re-read my post.  I was asking if the pope did in fact do that.  I have read in numerous places that he did. 

    And BTW, being a product of the catholic church, CCD and parochial schools when younger, and still counting many close family friends that are priests and the late bishop of this diocese, I will be as damn critical of the catholic church as I want to be.  I think Ratzinger is an awful person and I will call him poop if I wish.

  9. Cindi,

    When I checked I found that there was no letter about the excommunication of Kerry voters. Only a letter about, Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion.

    Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion — General Principles
    N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.

    – CatholicCulture.org

    If you can point me to your sources, I’d be grateful.

    My problem isn’t that you made a unflattering comment about catholic church and Ratzinger. I’ve problems myself with the teaching of the church myself (hence the none practising) but there are enough people willing to spread falsehoods about the church and the papacy, that I believe we have an obligation to be as accurate as possible when possible.

    You just have to look at:

    In attacking Hillary Clinton, Janet Parshall revived debunked smear
    During an extended attack on Democrats who oppose President Bush’s judicial nominees, radio host Janet Parshall falsely accused Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) of promoting herself as an evangelical Christian. The source of Parshall’s accusation was apparently a National Review Online column by “comic commentator” Rob Long, in which Long “quoted” a fake bulletin from a fictitious church that “reported” comments that Clinton was said to have made to the bulletin.

    – Media Matters for America ©

    to see what can happen with a one comment that is now being referenced by others to validate their own comments, even do the original comment as a joke.

  10. Actually, the reason the current pope chose his name, is in all probability because he is going to be very strongly anti war in Iraq.  All of you would do well to learn the history of Saint Benedict before criticizing this guy.  He may have a somewhat sketchy past…but how many years ago? 

    I’m guessing once he settles in, one of his main sticking points is going to be the war the US is waging against anyone we don’t like at the moment.

  11. Actually, the reason the current pope chose his name, is in all probability because he is going to be very strongly anti war in Iraq.  All of you would do well to learn the history of Saint Benedict before criticizing this guy.  He may have a somewhat sketchy past…but how many years ago?

    I am well aware of the history of the previous Benedicts. Some good, some bad. Just because the current Ben calls himself after them does not make him them.

    I generally have a problem with all popes for one reason.  They go to desperately poor countries, shame ignorant people into mating and bearing children because birth control is bad.  Condoms are bad.  We don’t care if you die or live in misery because god will reward you after your miserable life here on earth as long as you are faithful to the church.

    Bullshit.  The catholic church has doomed millions to poverty and ignorance over the centuries and it is time they stopped it.

  12. I generally have a problem with all popes for one reason.  They go to desperately poor countries, shame ignorant people into mating and bearing children because birth control is bad.  Condoms are bad.  We don’t care if you die or live in misery because god will reward you after your miserable life here on earth as long as you are faithful to the church.

      That and the fact that the Vatican raped Africa and the Americas for gold and other commodities via the conquistadors.  Catholicism also brought us such gems as the Malleus Maleficarum which institutionalized persecution of pagans, the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition.

  13. Getting back to the original issue at hand, I would love to see that church’s tax exempt status pulled.  It irritates me to no end how involved the church tries to get in politics.  Every year in my home town my church puts a booth up at the county fair.  Every year until last we just happened to sit right across from the Republican booth.  Last year however the members of the church who watched the booth still managed to trek all the way across the fairgrounds to make sure they were wearing a Vote Bush sticker for while they watched the booth.  None of the other church booths at the fair had members wearing political stickers and it made me furious that our church looked like a billboard for the Republican party.

    Southern Baptist Churches are autonomous in the sense that unlike every other major denomination the national convention does not demand loyalty to its doctrines or anything like that.  When the SBC plants a church it is entirely up to the members of that church how they want to govern it, what they want to put in their church doctrines or constitution, they can do service however they like, or they could immediately separate themselves from the SBC and become another denomination or none at at all.  All other denominations to my understanding strictly regulate how their churches act so they remain within that denomination.

  14. Well, as a recovering ex-catholic I don’t like Pope Benedict XVI either. Or anyone who has a ‘my way or the highway’ mentality, such as the pastor in this news story. It’s just so last century.

  15. Somebody’s Jesus would bitchslap those liberals into a mass terrorist grave already filled with feminists, abortion rights activists, people who mention the word “evolution,” scientists – anybody educated beyond an eighth grade level, Hillary, The Teletubbies, Michael Moore, non-believers, and the unpatriotic, and it would be a hole dug by homosexuals who would then be pushed in.

    Or, there is the Jesus who could lay his hands on them and heal them from the illness causing their transgressions.

    And there is that one Jesus who would love everybody and seek to bring peace, but that one seems to be losing his appeal.

    Really, which Jesus? Judging by his followers, it would be difficult to guess.

  16. Boss said: Or anyone who has a ‘my way or the highway’ mentality, such as the pastor in this news story. It’s just so last century.

    Unfortunately, we got stuck with “You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists” pretty early in this century.

  17. Catholicism also brought us such gems as the Malleus Maleficarum which institutionalized persecution of pagans, the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition.

    ‘Nobody expects the inquisition……’

  18. the Malleus Maleficarum
    says the Church, was intended to scare ‘em
    but Sprenger and Kramer
    said “Witch? Better flame ‘er
    and pagans and infidels: flare ‘em”.

  19. The pastor has resigned

    Waynesville, North Carolina (AHN) – The baptist preacher, accused of running out two non-Bush supporters from his congregation, resigned Tuesday.

    “I am resigning with gratitude in my heart for all of you, particularly those of you who love me and my family,

  20. Theo,

    I think there are several other denominations that allow particular congregations to set their own rules.  I think the Quakers do, Anglican/Episcopalians (sp?) seem to be pretty varied from congregation to congregation, and I know the Unitarian Universalists (though they aren’t Christians) leave a lot to their specific “fellowships”.

  21. The Episcopal church is not autonomous in the same way the Southern Baptists are.  The Southern Baptists allow every local church to be its own autonomous unit.  The Episcopals seem to grant autonomy by province or something, but not church by church basis.  I don’t know anything about how the Quakers run themselves.

  22. These are just some general thoughts on the current religious atmosphere in this country.
        The United States was formed by a group of people who were supposedly fleeing religious tyranny. They wanted to be able to worship in the way they saw fit. They would have definately been considered liberal since they didn’t want to adhere to the standards being forced upon them in the old world.
        We are now becoming like that old world, with half of the people trying to force their views and teachings onto the other half.
        There aren’t any new worlds to discover any longer. What are we supposed to do when it becomes too much to take?
        I say we all pitch in and build a space ship to take us to a real new world. We can call it the S.E.B. X10. Les can be the captain and keep the star log. We’ll find us a cranky old Scotsman to run the engine room and there will always be a no-name random crewman to take point when we scout out new planets.
        It’s a thought.
                              Mayo

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