When I endorsed Barack Obama I said this:
As a minister in the United Church of Christ, I trust deeply in the Constitutional principle of separation of church and state and my endorsement is therefore a personal one and does not reflect on the church I serve or my denomination. But as a citizen I believe that all Americans must engage in the political process as individuals for democracy to thrive. So I choose to add my voice today with millions of other Americans concerned about the direction of this nation.
In a following post I made it clear how important I beleive it is to seperate any partisan political work from church life:
...I refrain from any campaign work during work hours, the campaign knows only to call my private cell or home numbers, I do not discuss my involvement on campaigns with church members, and I would never promote my endorsement of a candidate from the pulpit during worship or during any other church related activity.
I would never use church resources of any kind to promote a candidate. My endorsement was made on my personal blog and on the senator's website. As USA Today reports, that isn't the case for The Rev. Wiley Drake, a leading Southern Baptist Convention figure. Drake recently endorsed Mike Huckabee's campaign for president on church letterhead. Now he wants God to silence his critics:
God is being called upon in a bitter dispute between a California Baptist pastor and the organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Specifically, Rev. Wiley Drake of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, Calif., is asking his supporters to use "imprecatory prayer" to curse Americans United and its leaders.
The argument centers on whether Drake violated federal tax law by "electioneering" when he recently endorsed the presidential candidacy of Republican Mike Huckabee. Americans United on Tuesday asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate.
Today, Drake told us by telephone that he has called for prayers aimed at smiting the AU and its leadership not because they oppose him personally, but because "they are attacking God's people."
Drake also said he had been careful to state that he was "personally endorsing" Huckabee, not throwing his church's support to the candidate. He put the endorsement on the church's letterhead, Drake said, "because I'm not going to let anyone tell me I have to hide who I am. I use letterhead to pay my phone bill and to send my mother a note."
Drake's use of church resources is inappropriate. He has crossed legal and ethical lines. But he has also crossed a theological line by asking God to smite Americans United and their leadership for simply defending the Constitution. It is a mistake to suggest that God supports one political candidate over another.