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What do you think about church leaders running for public office?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on February 5, 2007

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Photo of Mark Hurla

“I believe strongly in the separation of church and state, but I also believe that every citizen has a right to participate.”

Photo of Jean Reitz

“I think personally that you should do one or the other. I think it’s OK for church leaders to have an opinion about political matters, but they should stay away from the power of public office.”

Photo of Teresa Wright

“I think it all depends on the person and what their opinions are. I wouldn’t necessarily be for or against voting for someone who is a church leader.”

Photo of Roger Lee

“I think it’s a good idea. It’s a complicated issue, but I think it’s fine as long as they’re a good, open-minded leader who looks out for a broad range of people and their interests.”

Comments

Gootsie 7 years, 2 months ago

Nice, conceptual! Well done!

Thanks for the 'splanation Bea! Of course I get it now!

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conceptual_continuity 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't see what the problem would be. As long as you're in shape, and have proper shoes .. a little exercise is good for you.

just watch out for the idiotic drivers.

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budwhysir 7 years, 2 months ago

Politicaly speaking, anyone can run but its the platform that you run on that will get you elected or not get you elected.

Yes there is a seperation of religion somewhere down the line but not sure it keeps anyone from running, just makes sure they dont abuse the powers when in office.

I say let anyone run, its an election, all in all the people get to decide. Politicaly speaking on this political matter as myself and not representing any angle or side or wing

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jimincountry 7 years, 2 months ago

Actually, Hurla had the correct response.

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ohjayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

KS - you are correct. Sorry for the confusion. He is a Democrat (big D). Also, I don't know that he is actually ordained. He graduated seminary and spent a little time as an associate pastor, but never had his own church.

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drewdun 7 years, 2 months ago

from_beautiful_downtown_topeka: You need help - seriously.

jimincountry: you're a moron. Your 4.14 comment is possibly the most idiotic thing I've ever read.

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Damian666 7 years, 2 months ago

The leader fo the Church of Satan is running for president... and she may win.

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KS 7 years, 2 months ago

ohjayhawk - Can a "democratic" leader also be a Republican? I think you mean Democrat. Big difference!

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oldgranny 7 years, 2 months ago

I have an idea. Lets discourage democrats and republicans from running for public office. Then maybe at long last we would see some positive progress in this country.

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sunflower_sue 7 years, 2 months ago

bea, welcome back! And thanks for the "Damn, Sue!" (That was my first) blushes :)

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i_tching 7 years, 2 months ago

Shouldn't we elect leaders who are sane? That is to say, poeple who do not subscribe to Bronze Age mythologies?

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innocuous_posts 7 years, 2 months ago

R_I, from what I recall of his campaigns, he was a relatively WYSIWYG sort of fellow.

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beatrice 7 years, 2 months ago

Gootsie, as Sue observes it, some people who have an intimate relationship with the bankruptcy courts probably shouldn't be the first to point fingers at someone else for not paying his tax bill. pot, meet kettle ...

RI, not away at some liberal encampment or anything, just been too busy with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years, 2 months ago

i_p

Hello...

Huckabee... Was he up honest and upfront about his motives, beliefs, agenda, background, etc.?

Or as in "Phantom Of The Opera, did he hide behind a mask to hide his true self?

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years, 2 months ago

Sponge Bea,

How was the poriferan conference?

"I don't think too highly of church leaders running for political office, because we know they are set in their "beliefs,"

Voting based on hopes rather than beliefs creates a political system based on demagoguery and beguilement, not facts and logic.

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jimincountry 7 years, 2 months ago

Of course an affiliation with the aclu and the far left are eminent qualifications for leading liberals down the primrose path! Being an atheist might be helpful.

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jimincountry 7 years, 2 months ago

Only those who renounce primary allegiance to the popes, immams, ayatollas, rabbis and others of that ilk(God's OK) should be in government.

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innocuous_posts 7 years, 2 months ago

Hello, all you happy people. Here is a distant claim to fame regarding ministers & public office. You may have noticed that Mike Huckabee (former governor of Arkansas) is kicking around the idea of running for President. He was a preacher before he got into politics & 30 something years ago, I was the best man at a wedding where he was officiating....

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Gootsie 7 years, 2 months ago

Sue, Bea, what is the joke? I'm sleeping through it, I guess!

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Pywacket 7 years, 2 months ago

Anybody can and should be able to RUN. What do I think of them winning? Depends on whether it's someone I consider sane and rational (like Emmanuel Cleaver) or someone I consider a nutjob (imagine if the "reverend" phred phelps were to run for office!!).

I guess, in the end, if a church leader wins in a given community, that tells me at least as much about the community as about the person they elect.

I think anyone--whatever his or her professional life--should be honest and upfront about his/her motives, beliefs, agenda, background, etc.

It's one thing if the people WANT to elect someone who is rabidly anti-choice or whatever the issue is. But it's wrong if the candidate convinces the people he's something he's not just to win--then makes decisions that are at odds with what the electorate actually wants.

Deceptive practices are not limited to politicians of any particular profession. And honesty and integrity likewise don't seem to cluster around people of any particular background.

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beatrice 7 years, 2 months ago

"... you'll have to excuse me if I find your 11:41 post hillarious! Think real hard about why." Damn Sue! That was great! It totally went by me the first time I glanced at it.

I don't think too highly of church leaders running for political office, because we know they are set in their "beliefs," be it liberal or conservative.

The inside of a Coke machine ad was the best.

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Azure_Attitude 7 years, 2 months ago

Looks like were all on the pavement thinkin' 'bout the governemtn, but I'd rather be in the basement mixin' up the medicine.

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ohjayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

Marion, no you don't, but that wind sure does affect where the darts we use go! A nice stiff breeze could mean the difference between a forecast of 20" of snow or 80 degree weather.

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ohjayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

Cool! Hmmmm, what to do to celebrate... Too cold for any outdoor festivities... I'll have to think about it.

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Marion Lynn 7 years, 2 months ago

ohjayhawk:

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Thanks.

Marion.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years, 2 months ago

James Bush is running for city council, Rev. James Bush is running a church. 2 different people? No Same person, 2 different hats? yes Same values, mores, and experiences that would guide descision making? yes So.?

Findout more about him and what he says he stands for. What do you know about the other 9 canidates?

If potential voter response stays the same, 37% of ELIGIBLE Lawrence voters will decide the make up of the city council.

"The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not" - Eric Hoffer -"The True Believer"

"The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer is a study of "Mass Movements", a good read.

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ohjayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

R_I, can I still celebrate today, since I have the degree but haven't worked as a weatherman in almost 10 years (and never for pay)?

Although, no matter where I work, I get "used" whenever there's a big storm on the way, or someone is traveling somewhere anyway.

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sgtwolverine 7 years, 2 months ago

It's good to know we can all respond in a calm, respectful tone here. Like Ron:

"I don't really see saying 'church leader' as disrespectful or bias. It is what a minister or pastor is, a leader of the church."

And Defender: "Church leader would imply a church leader from any faith, not all are called ministers, or preachers, or whatever. Sorry, but your post is the most idiotic post of the day. Typical RT, always screaming at the top of his lungs about nothing."

We are, I believe, the very definition of mature dialogue.

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Marion Lynn 7 years, 2 months ago

Hmmm............................................................

If this guy gets elected we could have a Prime MINISTER!

BAWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Thanks.

Marion.

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Defender 7 years, 2 months ago

"Why isn't the word 'pastor' or 'minister used? Oh, that might be too respectful now wouldnt' it?

Why 'church leader'? You mean like Jim Jones, or Fred Phelps or David Koresh?

Good ol' in-your-face bias journalism."

Church leader would imply a church leader from any faith, not all are called ministers, or preachers, or whatever. Sorry, but your post is the most idiotic post of the day. Typical RT, always screaming at the top of his lungs about nothing.

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RonBurgandy 7 years, 2 months ago

sgt - Personally, I thought that ad was hilarious.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 7 years, 2 months ago

a bird does a lot of flying around and perching...this Bush guy from a Bird's perspective should know about money since his church is non profit....the "hawk" wants to know how much this guy makes and where he lives and how many members in his church and does he belong to the Chamber of Commerce?

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years, 2 months ago

Prospector, Zombie Pride Day, good catch.

It is National Weatherman's Day today. Does that leave our beloved Katie out in the cold?

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Agnostick 7 years, 2 months ago

Anybody who wants to run for office, and can meet all the requirements for being an official candidate, is more than welcome to do so.

I wouldn't have a problem with some sort of "religious leader" serving public office, as long they knew well the difference between a "lectern" and a "pulpit," and used each accordingly... in the proper place... and at the proper time.

This was a conundrum that Phill Kline struggled with, and he often confused the two.

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com

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prospector 7 years, 2 months ago

With visitors from out of town, Super Bowl hype, dip, gymnastics, neuroplasticity, and espresso to worry about, we let the Zombie Pride Day slip by Saturday.

http://today.reuters.com/News/ArticleBlog.aspx?type=entertainmentNews&w1=B7ovpm21IaDoL40ZFnNfGe&w2=B98K91vD3DOpBfHFgSYFOC7&src=blogBurst_entertainmentNews&bbPostId=B70KoX6PLpUxCzCdsAPGfPiHUB1f4VVnl1aTGCz7HnpaGD0CYm

It was a good day anyway.

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sunflower_sue 7 years, 2 months ago

Marion, you'll have to excuse me if I find your 11:41 post hillarious! Think real hard about why.

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mom_of_three 7 years, 2 months ago

I am sure Emanuel Cleaver isn't the only politician with a tax skeleton in his closet.

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The_Original_Bob 7 years, 2 months ago

Cleaver proved that a minister politician can be every bit as crooked as any other politician. Color me unimpressed. I lived in KC during him being mayor and it always baffles me about this myth that he was a great mayor.

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Pilgrim 7 years, 2 months ago

Posted by roger_o_thornhill (anonymous) on February 5, 2007 at 9:33 a.m.

Here's one for you- "What do you think about Socialists running for public office?" If you don't have a problem with that, let's get rid of the stupid "at-large" elections we have here in Lawrence for city commission. Read a little history--That is why we have our current system--to keep those damn Socialists out of office.


Still probably the best argument ever for not having kommissioners elected by district. But the Three Stooges seem to have slipped by the original intent of that law. Time to get back to the basics.

April can't get here fast enough.

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Azure_Attitude 7 years, 2 months ago

Ergo the need to be up front about what they are about.

It seems that the minister is following the doctrine being promoted lately by the ultra religious right which is to dillute your religious position to the voting public. If they are going to legislate from their religious position once they are elected then they damn well better fly their colors during the campaign.

With such a duplicitous environment I don't even trust the non-minister Baptists to be straightforward. If you can't be honest about what you are doing then what you are doing is not on the up and up.

And don't give me the then-they-are-just-like-other-politicians crap.

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sgtwolverine 7 years, 2 months ago

The argument that (apparently) just concluded made me think of the Super Bowl ad from Snickers, which, depending on who's talking, was hilarious or controversial and shameful.

Quick! Do something manly!

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se1672 7 years, 2 months ago

(Hypothetically speaking) If you think about it, would voting a baptist minister into office be all that different from voting a baptist business owner into office? They are both leaders in their field, they are strong, more than likely they are both vocal and they both make decisions based on the same beliefs of right and wrong. The decisions made in office would essentially be the same. The major difference being that when job titles are posted, the minister's religious standing is right out there in the open for all the world to see. Would we assume that the business owner would be more flexible and liberal simply because his job title doesn't contain the word "baptist"? Who knows what he/she could be carrying in "under the radar"?

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Gootsie 7 years, 2 months ago

The one with Prince dancing through the rain. It lasted longer than a minute though. Must have cost a fortune.

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Marion Lynn 7 years, 2 months ago

Sue wrote:

"Momo3, Emmanuel Cleaver is a great example of a religious leader who would certainly get my vote."

Marion writes:

Is this the same Emanuel Cleaver who failed to pay property taxes on his car wash until faced with a sale by the county treasurer?

Surely not!

Thanks.

Marion.

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ohjayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

I liked the Coke Grand Theft Auto one as well, but my favorite was the down on his luck doggy ad by Budweiser.

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from_beautiful_downtown_topeka 7 years, 2 months ago

"Actually, I'm straight and married."

Uh-huh.

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Azure_Attitude 7 years, 2 months ago

Makes no difference to me but I hope they are up front about what they are all about.

I think this person is trying to get in under the radar ESPECIALLY because he wishes us to ignore the fact that he is a Southern Baptist and likely because he has strong feelings about positions he fears the "liberals" disagee with him about: 1. Denying some groups rights that are enjoyed by many others; 2. He would wish to change existing laws that would outlaw certain "activites" for all when those who oppose them may simply choose to not engage in them; 3. Would oppose enacting laws that would enable all access to treatments not currently available that would benefit all just becuase some people oppose them.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain . . .

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scenebooster 7 years, 2 months ago

Actually, I'm straight and married. But you can call me "gay" as much as you want (if that's what you need to feel like a man) as I see absolutely nothing wrong with being gay and I enjoy the friendships that I have with people of all persuasions.

And, reading back over our little exchange here, I see that you're unable to provide an example (even an editorial!) to back up your statement. Thus...

You lose.

Feel free to resume your homophobic blather, as it doesn't bother me at all, and actually proves my point that you're none too bright.

Say hi to Fred.

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from_beautiful_downtown_topeka 7 years, 2 months ago

So...you admit that you are gay..and that indeed (in an editorial) the LJ World would more than likely be for something such as same-sex marriage.

Wow!!!

Thank you, semenbooster!

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sgtwolverine 7 years, 2 months ago

GoDaddy needs to GoAway. They've been running essentially the same ads for something like three years now, and they're dumb now, like they were when they started.

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prospector 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't think about it. It should be a non-issue.

Ads? Go Daddy, I don't know what they were selling, but I want a job in marketing too.

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sunflower_sue 7 years, 2 months ago

Momo3, Emmanuel Cleaver is a great example of a religious leader who would certainly get my vote.

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scenebooster 7 years, 2 months ago

"I wasn't referring to any article in particular...manlover."

What I love best about topekans is that when their idiocy is shown to them, the best they can do is call you "gay".

Ouch.

"I was making a statement."

Yes. You made a very stupid statement.

I'll do you one better - provide even one example of the LJW providing an opinion on the subject of gay marriage (outside of an editorial - as that's what they are) and I'll publicly apologize to you.

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mom_of_three 7 years, 2 months ago

Did Emmanuel Cleaver let his religious beliefs interfere with running Kansas City? Is he letting it interfere with his Congressional duties?
Jesse Jackson ran for President, and we all know how it went.
I think as long as the clergy have the best interests of the people in mind, and not their own agendas, it's a great thing. Vote for the best candidate. Then again, you have politicians pushing more agendas than some clergy.

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from_beautiful_downtown_topeka 7 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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scenebooster 7 years, 2 months ago

Again, the question of whether or not people in Topeka can read has been raised:

"then institutions/entities like the LJ World would have absolutely noooooooooooooooooooo problem with it whatsoever!"

If you can point to the LJW providing an opinion, pro or con, anywhere in this article, then you'll have avoided looking rather stupid.

Best of luck...

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sgtwolverine 7 years, 2 months ago

I enjoyed the Coke Grand Theft Auto ad. That was good.

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from_beautiful_downtown_topeka 7 years, 2 months ago

Why do I get the feeling that if a member of a particular church that allowed (or at least looked favorably upon) same-sex marriage ran for public office....then institutions/entities like the LJ World would have absolutely noooooooooooooooooooo problem with it whatsoever!

Ain't that right.......Scenebooster?

Sure it is!

;)

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bobberboy 7 years, 2 months ago

As long as they are not a religious radical freak - it's O.K.

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RonBurgandy 7 years, 2 months ago

sue - overall, the commercials this year seemed somewhat disappointing. However, I did enjoy the Garmin one, as well as, the "clicking" the mouse blockbuster ad.

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Ryan Shelton 7 years, 2 months ago

There's a huge segment of Christians that need their views represented. To say that a church leader can't run for a political office is to deny millions of people their right to have their views represented.

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imastinker 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree - the question is TERRIBLE!

We don't like them and we vote against them. End of story. At least you know where that person stands.

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sunflower_sue 7 years, 2 months ago

If they will be a good choice, I'm all for it.

So, what kind of "dip" did everyone have yesterday and how many pounds of fatty tissue did you gain? Me: Buffalo hot wing dip and a couple.

Or: what was your favorite commercial and has the superbowl ever had had good half time show? Me: Probably the guy with the axe and the budlight and no.

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sgtwolverine 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm with Ron on the church leader thing. Different churches call their pastors different things; church leader is a fine neutral term.

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RonBurgandy 7 years, 2 months ago

I think the concensus is pretty much that everyone has a right to run, if they meet the minimum qualifications stated by the community, state, or federal standards.

I don't really see saying "church leader" as disrespectful or bias. It is what a minister or pastor is, a leader of the church.

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roger_o_thornhill 7 years, 2 months ago

How full do they need their plates to be? Won't the work that a person does for their church suffer if they are spending their time on decidedly more secular issues? The pope doesn't want Catholic leaders to hold public office. Maybe there's something to that. Maybe not.

Here's one for you- "What do you think about Socialists running for public office?" If you don't have a problem with that, let's get rid of the stupid "at-large" elections we have here in Lawrence for city commission. Read a little history--That is why we have our current system--to keep those damn Socialists out of office.

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Tom Shewmon 7 years, 2 months ago

Why isn't the word 'pastor' or 'minister used? Oh, that might be too respectful now wouldnt' it?

Why 'church leader'? You mean like Jim Jones, or Fred Phelps or David Koresh?

Good ol' in-your-face bias journalism.

Everyone otta be worried about the fact many, if not most of our elected officials in DC are former attornies.

Two attornies turned infamous politicians come to mind immediately.

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ohjayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

I am also of the ilk of voting for the best person for the job. I think there are many church leaders or ex-church leaders who are more than capable of doing a good job in public office. Not all church leaders are part of the "religious right" movement. In fact, the new democratic governor of Ohio is an ordained Methodist minister, even though he hasn't had a church since the late 1960's.

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Marion Lynn 7 years, 2 months ago

Ahem!

Let's try re-phrasing this question a few ways in light of history over the past fifty years or so!

"What do you think about women running for public office?"

"What do you think about blacks running for public office?"

"What do you think about gays running for public office?"

"What do you think about (Insert group of your choice) running for public office?"

Thanks.

Marion.

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Bone777 7 years, 2 months ago

People run for office to further 'their own' agenda.

Who has a bigger, stronger agenda than a church leader.

It is amazing that church leaders ever quit running for office.

Rights, rites, rights, rites

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scenebooster 7 years, 2 months ago

Chuck Norris sat in for Hannity on H&C - fair, balanced, and totally staged.

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The_Original_Bob 7 years, 2 months ago

It makes no matter to me.

World Net Daily! One of my favorite satire comedy type sites.

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jonas 7 years, 2 months ago

Oh yeah, and Merrill, you should admit that you're obvious hatred of the religious right is coloring your judgement, as your comment and the attempted tarnishing of a preacher's ability to run for office are prejudiced and unfair.

And if you don't think so, then why didn't it occur to you for the jobs that virtually everyone else does before THEY go into public office?

There, think I've covered all the bases now.

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jonas 7 years, 2 months ago

Hey, here's a nice article saying that the founding fathers would have endorsed Newt Gingrich for president. . .

. . . written by CHUCK NORRIS!

http://wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54099

ahhh. . . World Net Daily.

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monkeyhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

If the position requires 40-50 hours/week, are the Ks. taxpayers getting the short end considering two of our commissioners work as lawyers for the state?

Reminds me of the questions back in the day regarding Kennedy being a catholic.

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jonas 7 years, 2 months ago

Some should note that the question read "What do you think about it?" and not "Should it not be allowed?"

By the way, Roger Lee, good answer if you read this. From an old Tuesday 601 driver.

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trinity 7 years, 2 months ago

it makes me feel kinda oogey. but then again, i vote for whomever i feel will do the best job. i don't think i'd hold someone's profession against them, but i dunno...

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Sigmund 7 years, 2 months ago

I doubt that anything will come before the Kommission that will even remotely resemble imposing Christian, Jewish, or Islamic morality on the Lawrence community. Like it or not people of all faiths have as much of a right to run for and hold office.

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Defender 7 years, 2 months ago

"LJW has hit a new low baiting it's readers with this question."

Opening up public discourse isn't a new low, I don't see anything 'baiting' about this question. Not all questions have to have a motivation, especially one that is only asking the general opinion of the public on a public matter. Provocative question, maybe, but hardly baiting.

That being said, I vote for the person I think will do the job best, regardless of their religious affiliation.

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Tom Shewmon 7 years, 2 months ago

LJW has hit a new low baiting it's readers with this question.

Whatever.

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macon47 7 years, 2 months ago

we elected booger and rumbler what does that tell you?

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i_tching 7 years, 2 months ago

"Article 6 - Debts, Supremacy, Oaths

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

I think Aticle VI is of equal importance to anything in the Bill of Rights, as far as the church/state issue goes. The "no religious tests" phrase was controversial and many clergymen fought it tooth-and-nail.

But...

Whoops, there it is!

That's pretty much why Jefferson wrote his famous letter to the Baptists coining the phrase "a wall between church and state." The Baptists were, like Jefferson, on the outs with many of the religious leaders in that era, and they were not all that interested in ceding political power to a bunch of religious nutjobs.

Any religious leader can run for public office, but the Constitution is unapologetically secular through and through, thus protecting the rights of both believers and rationalists.

Barclay's rather rude and biased comment demonstrates that after centuries this issue still resonates with intolerance.

I do not mean to criticise his views, as lamely put as these are. Prejudiced and under-thought, but still allowable in public discourse, for all to see. In its idiocy and childish rudeness.

Christ in a pogo stick... now "intolerance" is a term used to signify challenge to those who hold, for reasons having to do with Bronze-Age superstitions, bigotry against liberal and progressive values.

I'm sorry I brought it up. Rich white priviledged uber-males everywhere become unhinged. They pull their decades-old Chevy pick-ups to the side of the road and pound the steering wheel in frustration. It's a hard, hard life.

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Norma Jeane Baker 7 years, 2 months ago

Thank you, Barclay. I agree with you and question the motive of this OTS.

Blue, you're right -- we should vote for the person we think will do the best job.

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blue73harley 7 years, 2 months ago

What do you think about atheists or agnostics running for public office?

I don't care. I try to vote for who I think will do the best job.

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sgtwolverine 7 years, 2 months ago

Same thing I think about lawyers running for public office. And doctors. And accountants. And gas station owners.

Everyone does something prior to running for public office.

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Barclay 7 years, 2 months ago

I am offended by the motive of the question. Only in San Francisco, Madison, or Lawrence would such an anti-democratic question be asked.

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geekin_topekan 7 years, 2 months ago

Anyone can run for office.this is America.Which means I also have the right to vote for the other guy.

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 2 months ago

Locally City Commission can be a 40-50 hour a week job. So one may need to give up the church people or not be home much.

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oldgranny 7 years, 2 months ago

Well of course they should have the right to run for office. Just as we have the right to vote against them if we don't agree with them.

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