Why are churches silent?
Why are the churches silent about the issues wracking our nation today? Leading up to and during the American Revolution, the British griped about the role of the “Black Robed Regiment” of American clergyman who urged their congregations to demand either reformation of the British King’s governance or revolution and separation.
Where is that degree of Christian integrity to be found in America today? The truth is that the American clergy of all Christian denominations has allowed itself to be shackled by the government through the corrupting device of tax exemption. The clergy are afraid to speak out about the abominations destroying our nation for fear of losing personal and church economic privileges provided in exchange for silence on moral issues which might be perceived by the tyrants as antithetical to the objectives of the present regime.
There has been much distracting talk about the restriction of the churches’ First Amendment rights. That is patent nonsense. No one dares say that the churches cannot speak out freely. Rather, the whispered threat is that the churches’ tax-exempt status will be revoked if they speak out. In fact, the very threat of tampering with tax-exempt status to repress free speech is a constitutional issue worthy of Supreme Court review. To put such threats to the test, churches must speak up and let the constitutional process play out.
But even if the Supreme Court allows the government to punish the churches for exercising their First Amendment rights, the churches must nonetheless speak out in defense of those values which the churches advocate and against the government or any candidate seeking a government office who subverts those values. The churches destroy their moral foundation in cowering before the government and shirking their obvious and nonnegotiable responsibilities to guide their congregations in: discerning good from evil, sponsoring the good and opposing that which is evil.
Notice that I have not addressed above any issue regarding dereliction in the churches’ duties other than the constitutional arguments about the separation of church and state. But there is another issue which proceeds as collateral damage when economics are allowed to intrude upon issues of conscience. The churches have proven themselves as vulnerable as the citizenry to suppressing conscience for economic gain. Much of the U.S. citizenry have been bought and paid for by government handouts, their consciences seared by greed, envy and sloth. The churches have likewise been seduced by the spirit of this age. Too many churches calculate the financial impact of taking moral stances on the basis of how many pews they can fill. Conscious decisions are made to avoid speaking out against the many evils espoused by political correctness, where the churches’ leadership believes that taking such positions will lower membership and revenues. This latter evil is a second subject, apart from the Constitutional issues, which leads our nation on the broad road to destruction.
Those whose consciences still flicker with life know what I mean.
Richard E. Burke