Catalyst September Issue 2012, Front Page
Over the summer, Michelle Obama told members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee something quite revealing: “And to anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these [political] issues, you tell them there is no better place—no better place. Because ultimately, these are not just political issues—they are moral issues.”
Perhaps unwittingly, the First Lady presented us with a gift: she opened the IRS door by beckoning the clergy to talk as freely as they want about politics from the pulpit. The next time the IRS goes after a member of the clergy for mixing politics and religion, they should direct the agent to Michelle’s remarks and then say they were only following her advice.
In all honesty, the First Lady was only following in the footsteps of her husband when she called for the politicization of religion. President Obama has explicitly called for “congregation captains” to organize for his reelection. We all know what that means.
Since the Obamas have taken the gloves off—in effect calling for Americans not to be restrained by separation of church and state legalisms—others should follow suit. We hope that the bishops, priests, evangelical ministers, and the orthodox members of all religions are taking note.
We don’t have two constitutions: if the Obamas are giving the green light to those in their faith community to merge politics and religion, there are no more red lights left for anyone to obey.