Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: July 30, 2006
MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.
Bill Alkofer for The New York Times
The Rev. Gregory A. Boyd leads a congregation outside St. Paul.
The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?
After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.
The result? 20% of the congregation (1000 people) bailed because the church was “no longer doing what it was supposed to be doing: supporting the Republican way.”
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Jesus & Politics