I noted yesterday that Catholic leaders took Nancy Pelosi to task for misrepresenting the position of the Catholic Church on abortion. We saw the Presidential Civil Forum hosted by evangelical pastor Rick Warren's church. And we recently hosted a pastors' briefing for area pastors. I believe this election year maybe the beginning of a new engagement of pastors in the public square on the great moral issues facing our state and nation.
It's both significant and important. Significant because pastors carry important moral authority in the community and their voices have not been heard enough. And important because the great moral issues of the day, e.g. abortion, marriage, sexuality and so forth are ultimately spiritual issues for which the spiritual leaders of the community need to weigh in.
I don't think the engagement will be so much partisan as it will be on the moral aspects of these issues. Of course, there are political implications, but that's a subsidiary effect of simply taking a stand.
I know many pastors have and will be challenging the IRS gag regulation on churches regarding political speech. Some pastors have engaged in negative endorsements in terms of telling people who they can't vote for because of the candidate's stand on issues. I think there will be more pastors challenging this rule in the future.