The third temptation

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Mark Galli of Christianity Today reflects on what tempts pastors want to endorse political candidates; as a former pastor, Galli’s perspective is particularly well-informed. And he pulls no punches, saying that those who get involved in partisan politics are wasting their ordination. Excerpt: “Pastors are driven by a righteous desire to shape not just church […]

  • Asinus Gravis

    I think that Galli is distorting matters considerably in claiming that Falwell and Wallis are comparable.

    Falwell was solicited by Republican operatives to organize (with the help of some other fundamentalist ministers) a political group to advocate for and endorse conservative Republican candidates for elective office–i.e., the Moral Majority. He functioned as its leader and public face. In the process he pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars into his till, drummed up political support for favored candidates, and became the laughing stock of the media (because he could be counted on to make outrageous comments when giving an interview).

    Wallis has not, to my knowledge, advocated for or endorsed any political candidates–although he knows a considerable number of them. He does advocate for public action–individually and through the state–to address the needs of the poor, the homeless, the sick, the imprisoned, the aliens. Anyone who takes the prophets and the gospels seriously should support those efforts. He is not thought of as a media buffon, but as an informed, active citizen.