The mid-term elections are drawing near and without question the controversy over what role churches should play in political campaigns will once again be debated. It is both illegal and unwise for churches to engage in partisan politics. When Seattle pastor Ken Hutcherson called in recently to a radio show I was a guest on the former NFL player and Religious Right activist claimed that the Republican Party was closer to God than the Democratic Party. My belief is that neither party comes close to advocating what you might call a Kingdom agenda and those that confuse political platforms with the teaching of Jesus also undermine the prophetic voice of the church. There are certainly individual positions advocated by politicians that might advance the Kingdom here or there – at least as I discern it – but (as Jim Wallis likes to say) God is not a Republican… or a Democrat. The United Methodist Social Principles correctly state that “churches should not seek to use the authority of government to make the whole community conform to their particular moral codes. Rather, churches should seek to enlarge and clarify the ethical grounds of public discourse and to identify and define the foreseeable consequences of available choices of public policy.” Churches have both a legal right and a theologically-centered obligation to be involved with the life of the world and while our churches should not be engaged in partisan efforts we should be involved in public policy debates. Of course, individual Christians (and all religious people) have a constitutionally protected right to be involved with partisan politics as well – just outside of the church. This is all a fine line to walk. The United Church of Christ is once again offering guidance in this area through a website called Our Faith, Our Vote. Take a look and learn about ways your congregation can make a difference in the world while staying within the law and acting in the best interests of our religious institutions.