By: Reverend Marcus White
Ecclesiastes of the King James version of the Holy Bible states in chapter 3 and verses 1, 6-7 : “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”
Those described as spiritual may find themselves on opposite sides of political issues due to the various challenges of leading religious congregations during times of heightened political division. Societal transitions and movements such as MAGA, BLM, COVID mandates, and so much more have presented unprecedented experiences which we face today, and if ever there was a time to speak, the time is now.
Politics and religion are viewed as controversial subject matters and opposite ends of the spectrum of society. They are often avoided in dialogue for the sake of keeping peace and fostering harmonious environments. If, however, we are to gain a better understanding on how to navigate the vicissitudes of life, we must speak about the experiences faced in both arenas. By doing so, we may actually learn how to not only build a more harmonious society, but a more inclusive world.
A religious leader’s role within the great society is to be a voice of reason, to present soundness of thought and to help bring to reality the consciousness of morality and ethics. To withhold speaking up and speaking out on controversial topics just to avoid being controversial, may very well be to withhold the opportunity for others to receive sound wisdom and even a life changing perspective. Religious leaders should speak with the authority of TRUTH as they express their views of political movements such as BLM , MAGA, etc. They should provide a non-bias approach to expressing one’s perspective without offense for to others to do the same.
Often times, religious leaders are sought after by their followers to gain a better understanding how to respond to conversational movements and how to navigate decisive discussions. The overall point is, part of a religious leader’s role is to provide sincere and true leadership using their own voice to authentically express considerate and respectful truths of any given subject matter. It has never been and should never be the role of religious leaders to tell followers what to think. Rather, Romans 14:5 states in the Holy Bible of the Christian faith: “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”
In conclusion, the challenge for religious leaders today is not that there are controversial themes which are often ignored or avoided due to their inciting capabilities. No, rather the challenge is to help establish and maintain a level of respect with and for others, even if political views do not perfectly align. An effective religious leader helps others within the community to appropriately express their views, while collectively fighting against social injustices in a spirit of Unity! If ever there was a time to exercise one’s faith, the time is now and in doing so, my hope, my prayer is that others are inspired to speak up for what ‘s right so others can experience, love, peace and justice for all!