. . . or perhaps not.
I’m pretty much in agreement with Carter’s critique. I am a supporter of church and state, but even my view on church and state is informed by my faith. I cannot separate who I am when I go vote and who I am as a person of faith. It just doesn’t work.
I believe in separation of church and state, sometimes even greater than that enforced by the state, but I mean the separation of the church as an institution from the structures of state power, using the sword of the state to encourage or enforce the dictates of religion. I don’t believe in the separation of the church and the statesman. I couldn’t do it. I don’t expect the people I vote for to do it.
The suggested rules go beyond the requirements of law, and I fail to see what ethical views drive them, except perhaps a desire to keep the religious right less involved in politics–a goal I don’t know that the author of the rules, Dr. David Gushee, even accepts. So I’m a bit at a loss.
As a leader of a parachurch organization myself, albeit a volunteer leader of an organization that has no paid staff (including me), I watch this sort of thing with interest. I would not endorse a candidate as officially as the head of that organization. To do so would be illegal as well as inappropriate ethically. As an individual, I can still do so. That would be a violation of rule #12.
Rule #17, regarding separation of church and state sounds good to me for me, but I am well aware of many people who would disagree. Why should I be free to model my view, while they can’t model theirs?
I’m troubled by the fact that religious people cannot express any view desired, but I would also be troubled should churches be allowed to use tax exemption as a way to get involved in politics without the costs others must pay. Thus legally I have to agree that churches, as such, shouldn’t perform most of these activities. But their leaders, as individuals, and through other means, should not be ethically barred from such involvement.