Church Politics (and Joel Osteen) January 28, 2008

Church Politics (and Joel Osteen)

This time of the year, a number of pastors (and their churches) get in trouble for endorsing candidates for local, state and national offices. Even when withholding an endorsement, many churches allow the candidates to speak to their congregations.

But not Joel Osteen.

Jeremy Leaming of Americans United for Separation of Church and State says this:

… it is refreshing to hear of Pastor Joel Osteen’s policy of keeping partisan politics out of his pulpit. Osteen leads Lakewood Church in Houston, a megachurch that according to Newsweek, is the nation’s largest congregation with 47,000 weekly visitors.

Osteen told Newsweek that he understands the allure of his church for politicians, saying “who wouldn’t want to come to speak to 40,000 people here?” But he says he doesn’t want his church’s enormous platform to be used for partisan politics. He acknowledged to Newsweek that while he may recognize office holders who attend his services, he won’t allow them to address the congregation.

“The way our services are structured here at the church, we have to keep it, if we can, 100 percent worship,” Osteen said.

“My father … kept it out of the pulpit,” he told the periodical. “I think that part of our goal is to reach as many people as we can. Our reach is very broad. Even in the church we are diverse. There are Republicans, Democrats, independents – everything … I don’t want somebody saying, ‘He’s for this party or that party, and that turns me off.’”

Regardless of what one thinks of Osteen’s style, his policy of keeping his pulpit free of politics is praiseworthy.


There are plenty of opportunities to pander to the people. Church doesn’t need to be one of them.

That goes for you, too, Barack

[tags]atheist, atheism, politics, religion[/tags]

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  • I attended a church for a number of years that had the same policy. The pastor was a little more vocal on particular issues he thought people should vote on which made me a little uncomfortable (but i can understand given the Christian social and moral outlook on the issues mentioned–it had to do with schools in Detroit, not abortion or homosexuality LOL!) But, I’m glad he didn’t allow politicians into the pulpit. And while I really don’t like Osteen’s theology, I agree with his position on this matter.

  • Haha, this reminds me about your write-up on Osteem in your book. He is indeed a class act, a clergyman even atheists would like.

  • I find it interesting that atheists like Joel Osteen. Because, much of evangelical Christianity believes he doesn’t teach the Bible, rather a gospel of comfort on par with many of the elf-help charlatans on the market today. Only Osteen attaches Jesus’ name to the product. If, like many pastors in America, he preached the hard things that Jesus says in addition to the love he preached, I think atheists would be more likely lump him in the pile with all the other delusional Christians out there.

  • *Self-help, not “elf-help.” Elves don’t have as many issues as humans. They are full of love and snickerdoodles.

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