The following is a re-print of an interview with Pastor Gus Booth that appeared in the July, 2008 edition of the Pro Family News.
Recently, MFC had a chance to catch up with Pastor Gus Booth of Warroad Minnesota. Pastor Booth became a subject of national news after he preached a sermon that questioned whether Christians should vote for Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barak Obama because of their support of abortion. Booth sent a copy of the sermon to People United for the Separation of Church and State and the Internal Revenue Service.
PFN: Pastor, why did you send the sermon to the IRS and People United?
“I didn’t pick a fight with the IRS. The IRS picked a fight with the United States Constitution. The IRS has made an unconstitutional law. Who trumps whom? Is the IRS or the constitution more important? This needs to be decided once and for all.”
“This is about a pastor’s right to religious speech. It’s not about politicking. A pastor should not be forced out of the pulpit to speak Biblical truths about candidates and their positions.
Scripture is clear; we are to be involved in picking our leaders. Isaiah 1 says, ‘I will punish you because your leaders are wicked. In fact, up until 1954 pastors spoke out regularly on the issues of the day. If pastors don’t speak out on moral issues that affect government then no one will.”
PFN: Some say that the church should not get involved in politics.
Booth: “There is a theology that has crept into the church that quotes scripture out of context. It claims that Christ separated our world into two separate realms, Caesar’s and God’s. This has created an environment that keeps faith segregated behind the doors of the church and excludes it from influencing issues in the public square.
Morals are a major part of the churches business. How can we spread the gospel when we keep it behind the doors of the church?”
PFN: What would you say to pastors?
Booth: “A pastor’s duty to speak truth from the pulpit is a duty owed to God, not the tax man. Too many pastors believe the lie that the constitution prohibits them from speaking out on the moral issues of the day, or that Christ avoided the same. The exact opposite is true. The devil rules via deception.
As pastors we must preach that Jesus is Lord of the entire world. That includes the whole of life, culture, science sociology, economics and politics.
There is nothing in the constitution that prohibits a pastor from speaking from the pulpit about the moral implications of all of these issues. The truth about separation of church and state is that it was originally intended to protect the church from the state, not the state from the church. Our forefathers were simply prohibiting a national religion.
We as the church have not well combating these lies. Just preach about it. Just one sermon a year is enough to break these lies.”
PFN: Did you always think this way?
No. I had been a liberal democrat all my life. Then I read the democratic platform and I saw it was a “how to” manual on how to sin. It was awful. That’s what caused me to get involved in the political process and stop worrying about offending anyone.
PFN: Pastor, you were our guest to David Barton’s Congressional Pastors’ Briefing in Washington, D.C. last September. How did that affect you?
Booth; “It, (the trip) solidified a lot of things for me. I saw men of courage and character and love of Christ and realized I wanted to be a man like that.
The trip was a springboard on how godly and righteous the founding fathers were. These men were ministers with seminary degrees. However today the belief is that if you have a seminary degree you don’t get involved in politics.
I would make it mandatory for all pastors to attend a David Barton Congressional Pastors briefing.
PFN: “What did you learn when we called on Senator Norm Coleman?”
I learned that if you can bend the ear of a United States Senator you have influence in his life. You can influence home towards righteousness or wickedness
PFN: You’ve done a lot of interviews with the media. What can you share with us about your experience?
Booth: “The media doesn’t understand our nations history regarding the establishment clause and the role of pastors. You may recall the Blacked Robbed regiment. (See article) They were pastors that preached about rebelling against the tyranny of England. They played a large role in affecting public opinion and influencing the Revolutionary War.
Ironically, until 1954, most pastors looked to their pastors for advice on who to vote for.
PFN: Is this an isolated event? What happens next.?
Booth: Time to be on the offensive in Christ like way. Too many pastors are afraid. The church has sat back for too long while prayer and teaching about the bible has been chased out of schools and the public square.
This won’t blow over. It will come in waves. In fact, I am one of 40 to 50 pastors that will preach similar sermons on September 28th. I will address them August 22 in Phoenix.
The Alliance Defense Fund will defend us should the IRS try to prosecute any of us.