Ed Stetzer once said something along the lines of: “When you mix religion and politics you get politics.”

While I am a big believer in Christians engaging in government through running for office and exercising our right to vote, I am an even BIGGER believer in keeping government OUT of faith.

I am a patriot, and proudly put on my uniform as a Chaplain in U.S. Armed Forces. As a pastor, however, I have a real hard time when politics and patriotism invade the worship service. Worship services should be just that – worship. When we allow patriotic elements and politics to enter the worship service we are saying, “Move over, God, because we want to address our political agenda alongside you.”

This is why I cringed when I heard that Liberty University allowed Ted Cruz to make a political speech and announce his run for the presidency at their weekly convocation.

Here’s the thing – I don’t care if Liberty wants to allow Mr. Cruz space on campus to make his announcement. That’s not my issue. My issue is the venue in which the announcement took place. Convocation is mandatory for students.

The University president, Jerry Falwell Jr., tried to explain away the dilemma we see established by a required worship service being turned into a political rally.

Convocation is not a worship service. Convocation is Liberty’s educational forum for students to hear from speakers with a wide diversity of viewpoints from all walks of life—entertainment, business, politics, ministry, and more—many of whom are globally respected as experts in their areas.

Sounds good, yes? Except I don’t think it’s accurate.

Liberty’s website (as of last night) looks like this:

Liberty Screenshot

Notice the left-hand side of the screen where they list “Worship Services” and the first thing mentioned is Convocation. Now flash back:

President Falwell:

“Convocation is not a worship service.”

Website:

Worship Services: Convocation

President:

“Convocation is not a worship service.”

So which one are we supposed to believe? Which one is inaccurate (or worse, intentionally deceitful)?

Talking to a previous undergrad student from Liberty, I was told: “Convocation was a worship service when I was there. There were worship songs, prayer, and then the speaker. If that’s not a worship service, what is?”

Mixing faith and politics is always messy. Worship needs to be about God – not politics. Don’t misunderstand me – I think there IS an appropriate time for Christians to engage in politics. Worship services is NOT the time.

This is because we cannot worship anything beside God. He alone is supposed to be the sole object of our worship. And, in the end, our ultimate loyalty lies with God and NOT with any political party or country. We are Christians who happen to be citizens of America (or wherever you are). We cannot blend them into one odd “Americhristian” category.

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