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Politics and the high holy days

September 25, 2011

Hudson Institute fellow Tevi Troy writes about bringing partisan politics to shul in this Wall Street Journal Houses of Worship column. As the Jewish High Holidays near, rabbis, Troy writes, have been urged by Democratic leaders to work in some of President Obama’s objectives into their sermons. There are many reasons to find this unsettling (whether or not you’ve, like Troy, worked in the Bush administration). But here’s where I think Troy nails it: Preaching politics may seem safe in a community that tends to vote one way, but a rabbi still risks alienating those who don’t. Troy writes:

Even if you know that 70%-80% of your synagogue votes one way—and public opinion polls suggest that this may be the case in Conservative and Reform synagogues—why risk alienating the other 20%-30%? In many (or most) communities, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the only time certain congregants set foot in synagogue that year. Why risk driving them away with a message that could offend?

Exactly. And the same holds true for the Southern Baptist pastors who champion a Republican agenda.

That’s not to say religious leaders should not preach on relevant issues. They should. But they should be careful they’re not spouting any political party’s talking points.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jack Wirtz permalink
    September 26, 2011 8:11 am

    Many great donors to the democrats have come from the ranks of both secular and religious Jews; great in that it far exceeds their numbers.

    They and the Baptists are enormously outnumbered however by the hierarchy and activists in the Protestant denominations of the National Council of Churches whose “social gospel” (read socialist philosophy) is blood kin to the objectives of the Democratic Party and organized labor.

    The 37 member Churches include the “Mainline” Protestant, Orthodox, African American and etc. incorporate some 100,000 congregations claiming some 45 million members.

    The NCC’s forerunner, the Federal Council of Churches, on November 29, 1950, held a convention at Cleveland where it absorbed four additional agencies (the Church World Service, the Interseminary Committee, the Protestant Film Commission, and the Protestant Radio Commission), and formally changed its name to the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.

    Tevi Troy misses the whole history of the NCC’s Protestant denomination’s longstanding political involvement in promoting the marxist-socailist agenda.

    It was the NCC’s political pressure that was credited as getting Elian Gonzales, who’s mother died getting him to the U.S., sent back to Cuba.

    Wake up Tevi, the FCC-NCC has been preaching and lobbying their political agenda for over a 100 years and still have their tax exempt status.

    • eeflynn permalink*
      September 26, 2011 9:21 am

      Jack, Did you read Troy’s column? He’s arguing AGAINST pushing a Democratic agenda in synagogues. He’s not talking about Christians. He’s talking about Jews. He does not mention churches at all. Were you unable to read the column? I’m never sure if non-WSJ subscribers have trouble accessing the online content.

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