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Busted Halo
feature: politics & culture
May 7th, 2008

BustedHalo’s Pulpit and Politics Poll

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“I can’t understand how some denominational leaders publicly endorse particular candidates without jeopardizing tax-exempt status. I respect Catholic position: help people to form their own consciences & allow them to use them.”
-Fr. John, RC, Newark NJ

“The most (consistently) political thing I’ve heard reaction to has not been preaching per se, but the RCIA scrutinies. What some people see as sin, is not what all people see as sin.”
-Fr. BC, RC, Grand Rapids, MI

“I can’t understand how some denominational leaders publicly endorse particular candidates without jeopardizing tax-exempt status. I respect Catholic position: help people to form their own consciences & allow them to use them.”
-Fr. John RC Newark NJ

“The most (consistently) political thing I’ve heard reaction to has not been preaching per se, but the RCIA scrutinies. What some people see as sin, is not what all people see as sin.”
-Fr. BC RC Grand Rapids, MI

“I find it very difficult to preach to all groups within the parish, e.g. Young families, young adults, children and seniors, Hispanic and Anglo.”
-Fr. Bob RC Fernley, NV

“I find it unfair that Protestant Congregations can actually invite Political Figures to speak at their services.”
-Deacon Bill, RC, Brooklyn, New York

“Using the term ‘political issues’ is much too broad. The Church should bring the light of God’s truth into public discussion of all issues, and call people to wise discernment and participation in politics.”
-Fr. James McCauley, RC, Toronto, Canada

“I think it is appropriate to invite people to think through the social and political implications of the gospel.”
-Fr. Ed, RC, Attleboro MA

“People need to know where the Church stands on issues.”
-Fr. Phil, RC, California

“Sometime you’re dammed if you do and damned if you don’t. Preachers are often in a no-win situation. Many people do not want to be moved out of their lethargy.”
-George RC San Francisco, CA

“It is truly a fine line we walk with regard to politics, politicians, etc. When that line is breached there can be some serious consequences. In my mind, the Gospel has to be first and foremost. Honest preaching often leads to a frank addressing of the controversies of our times, politics included.”
-Peter Petroske RC Dearborn, MI

“As a member of the Green party in a rust belt/Democrat area, I avoid talking about political parties or candidates.”
-Pr. Philip Van Dam, ELCA, Martins Ferry, OH

“Too many of us are one issue preachers, seeing our favorite issue in every lectionary reading. After awhile people tune us out because we’re so predictable.”
-Fr. Tom, RC, Park City, UT

“John Paul II articulated that priests should not be partisan because they can serve only a part of the people they are called to serve. I believe that is true. Using political images (I’d get lots of laughs and positive reactions when I spoofed the methods of campaigning, for example) is one thing; taking political sides is another.”
-Fr. Frank DeSiano, RC, Queens, NY

“I speak about issues related to sin in society and the individuals who make it up.”
-Anthony, EFCA, Brooklyn, NY

“The effective proclamation of God’s word as good news” requires “discerning love.” What is the best way to dispose the assembly to hear and keep God’s word as true disciples? We must avoid mere “tickling of ears” and self-promotion. And if we feel called to be prophetic, we should approach the task with humility and not demagoguery. The word of God is capable in itself of changing hearts that are properly disposed to hear it. Our job, or so it seems to me, is to open ears and open hearts to receive that word.”
-Fr. Joe Currie, RC, Bronx, NY

“He must move upward still and onward who would keep abreast of truth.” I’ve seen that to be true often enough that I’m relieved of the responsibility of deciding the ‘absolutely correct’ strategy for solving any social ill, and foisting that solution on others.”
-Fr. William Axe RC Los Angeles, CA

“Preaching is getting better than it used to be, and I’m glad to see that you are working on making it better still.”
-Fr. John F. Connor RC Newark, NJ, United States of America

“I deeply feel that a preacher is called to proclaim the Word of God before all else. To drag in a political issue that has no bearing on any of the readings is to NOT proclaim the Word of God.”
-Fr. John E. Kane, C.M. RC Opelika, AL

“I believe we are part of wholly different church than the one I grew up in. I think those in their thirties and forties welcome a challenge from the pulpit, or are at least receptive of the same.”
-Fr. John D. Kirwin, RC, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

“This is a nation of all sorts, the Christian Churches have a responsibility to make known the message of Jesus as it impacts upon politics – the poor, the immigrant and others without votes, the sick, the worker, even to the rich, the articulate and the famous.”
-Fr. Steve Porter, RC, California

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The Author : Bill McGarvey
Bill McGarvey is co-author of Busted Halo’s Freshman Survival Guide. Bill was editor-in-chief of Busted Halo for six year. In addition to having written extensively on the topics of culture and faith for NPR, Commonweal, America, The Tablet (in London), Factual (Spain), Time Out New York, and Book magazine, McGarvey is a singer/songwriter whose music has been critically acclaimed by the New York Times, Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Billboard and Performing Songwriter. You can follow him at his website billmcgarvey.com or on Facebook.com/billmcgarvey
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