Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

In his On the Square column this morning, Russel Saltzman recounts his experience as south ward alderman in a small town as he questions the role of clerics in public life:

But it might have pitted pastor against parishioners on an issue of some civic consequence, and that raises larger questions of a cleric’s role in public life. I am reminded of a time when the former presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Herbert Chilstrom, defended church lobbying and verdicts on political choices as the church’s “reverent best guess” on any given issue. These “best guesses,” reverent or not, always seemed to lean, and still do, toward a certain point on the political spectrum. Such a “guess” once included encouraging a boycott of a major oil company because it did some business with South Africa in the Apartheid years. I had parishioners who owned one of the stations being targeted. They read about it in the denominational magazine. They were not pleased.

00 Days
00 Hours
00 Minutes
00 Seconds
Dear Reader,

Your charitable support for First Things is urgently needed before the clock above hits zero.

First Things is proud to be a reader-supported enterprise, and the Spring Campaign is one of only two major reader giving drives each year. It ends on June 30 at 11:59 p.m.

Your gift will fortify First Things to speak boldly on behalf of religious voices in the public square ahead of a pivotal season for our nation and the church.

Please give now.

Make My Gift



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles