Image via WikipediaI'm listening to an old episode of Richard Land Live! in which he discusses the bailout bill; the first rhetorical question he asks himself is "if I were in Congress would I vote for this bill?" and I have to admit it makes me shudder.
Richard Land is a former pastor, and is currently (as he has been for the last twenty years) president of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, and when he takes the rhetorical position of being a Congressman I wonder how much of what he's saying is evidence of ambition and how much is just a rhetorical device anyone is entitled to.
Ed Dobson, formerly of Moral Majority, is one of my spiritual heroes, and in Blinded By Might, a book he co-authored with columnist Cal Thomas he describes the moment he decided to leave that organization: he was on his way back from taping an episode of Donahue where he defended the Boy Scouts against some special-interest group when he met Harold Wilmington in the Charlotte airport. He enthused to Wilmington about how he was fighting the good fight, etc. and Wilmington told him in no uncertain terms that if he had been called by God to be a pastor he had no business, as Wilmington put it, casting pearls before swine.
I don't entirely understand what Jesus meant when he said "don't give what is holy to dogs, and don't cast pearls before swine," as part of the Sermon on the Mount, but Wilmington interpreted it to mean that getting involved in the so-called culture war, Dobson was getting off-track and was seconding his calling to something not worthwhile.
That one little anecdote did a lot to frame how I think about pastors in politics: they've got a calling already, and they really should be tending to it, rather than helping one politician or another aggregate and exercise power, much less coveting power themselves.
I wonder if Richard Land knows Harold Wilmington.
See also: Media Matters: Who Is Reverend Richard Land?
exercises in compound storytelling