WASHINGTON — Some people believe the pulpit is not the place for politics.
One of America’s most influential and respected evangelical leaders isn’t buying it.
Dr. Robert Jeffress told WND, “How can anybody read Jesus’ words and actually believe that?”
Instead of seeing a conflict between religion and politics, Jeffress described a complementary relationship, noting, “I believe one of the most potent ways we influence our culture right now is through politics.”
“Every time we go into the voting booth, we are either casting a vote for righteousness or for unrighteousness. So I believe we ought to as pastors be encouraging our people not to vote for Republican or Democrat values but to vote for biblical values,” he observed.
Jeffress is the senior pastor of the 11,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. And politics is on his mind because he will participate in “Washington: A Man of Prayer, 2014″ on May 7 in the U.S. Capitol.
Now in its third year, the event is the brainchild of Dan Cummins, pastor of Bridlewood Church in Bullard, Texas.
Host Michele Bachmann, emcee Mike Huckabee and some of America’s most principled public servants will commemorate the 225th inaugural anniversary of President George Washington, with members of Congress and national Christian leaders honoring the first U.S. president as a man of Christian faith.
Several lawmakers will offer prayers on behalf of the nation, our president and his Cabinet, the Supreme Court and its justices, and members of Congress.
Sign up here to watch the webcast of “Washington: A Man of Prayer” from the U.S. Capitol on May 7, 2014 at 7:30 EST. You can be there virtually and experience the history-in-the-making, the camaraderie, the inspiration and the prayers, just by signing up on this page for FREE.
Even President Thomas Jefferson, the man who coined the expression “separation of church and state,” saw a vital need for the worship of God within the very halls of Congress.
He signed a law allowing the U.S. Capitol to be used for weekly Christian church services, which he attended.
Those services were held in the very chamber where the House of Representatives met from 1807 to 1857, now called Statuary Hall, which is where “Washington: A Man of Prayer” will be held on May 7.
Jefferson would likely agree with Jeffess, who told WND he did not think there is any mandate in scripture to separate our spirituality from the rest of our life.
“The word politics simply means to govern control or influence, and when people say pastors and Christians shouldn’t get involved in politics, what they are saying is pastors shouldn’t try to influence the culture in which they live.”
“When you look at the scripture, the role of the pastor is not only to teach God’s own people but it is to teach the truth of his word,” he observed.
Jeffress said the prophets, and even “Jesus himself did not confine their proclamations to God’s own people but was were willing to stand up and confront ungodly leaders and an ungodly culture and say without stuttering or stammering, ‘Thus sayeth the Lord.’”
He noted that in Old Testament times it was the king who determined the spiritual direction of the nation.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,” said Jeffress. “If it was a righteous king, God blessed the nation. If it was an unrighteous king, God cursed the nation.”
That, Jeffress implied, puts the onus on the faithful to make sure their nation is righteous, or face the consequences.
“God is no respecter of people and nations. God does not get goose bumps when he hears the Star Spangled Banner. He doesn’t stand up and salute when he sees the American flag. Any nation, including the United States, that rejects God will be rejected by God.”
Jeffress said when people say to him that pastors shouldn’t get involved in politics, he asks them three questions.
- Do you believe God cares about the rampant immorality that is sweeping our country?
- Do you believe God has any feeling about his name being outlawed from mention in the public square?
- Do you think God has any concern about the 50 million children that have been murdered in the womb since 1973 in Roe v. Wade?
“If you answer ‘yes’ to those questions you have just answered why pastors and Christians should be involved in politics,” Jeffress summed up.
Cummins calls this year’s celebration on May 7, now in its third consecutive year, “a historic first” because, even though the event is exclusively for members of Congress, churches around the world will be able to watch on a global webcast and join in offering prayers for our nations and its leaders.
The event will be broadcast globally by the Daystar Television Network, with World Net Daily Films and CBN News providing the satellite feed from Statuary Hall.
Churches can register online to host the webcast during their Wednesday midweek services at “Washington: A Man of Prayer.”
“Washington: A Man of Prayer, 2014″ will be hosted by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and emceed by former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.
Attendees include Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah, Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and Reps. Louie Gohmert,R-Texas, Steve King, R-Iowa, Steve Stockman, R-Texas, Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.,
Kristi Noem, R-S.D., Corrine Brown, D-Fla., Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., Jeff Miller, R-Fla., Diane Black, R-Tenn. Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Chris Stewart, R-Utah, Jim Bridenstine R-Okla., John Mica R-Fla., and others will be in attendance.
As a bipartisan event, invitations have been sent to all 535 members of the 113th Congress.
Chaplains of the House and Senate, Fr. Patrick Conroy and the Rev. Barry Black will also participate. The United States Marine Band will also perform.
Christian leaders participating include the program director for the event, Dr. Jim Garlow, as well as Bishop Harry Jackson Jr., Dr. Robert Jeffress, Phyllis Schlafly, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, Star Parker, Penny Nance, Dr. Peter Lillback, Bill Federer, Bishop Angel Nunez, Rosemary Schindler Garlow, Charmaine Yoest, Sergio De La Mora, Tony Perkins, Samuel Rodriguez and Rafael Cruz (father of Sen. Ted Cruz.)
Downloadable promotional materials are available “Washington: A Man of Prayer” website. Also, free school curriculum (K-12) on the historical events surrounding the inauguration of President George Washington has been provided by The Brook Hill School of Bullard, Texas.
WND will run a preview piece on “Washington: A Man of Prayer, 2014″ every week during the 10 weeks leading up to the event on May 7.
See a clip of Cahn speaking during last year’s events:
Follow Garth Kant on Twitter @DCgarth.