Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday was Pentecost, the day when Christians celebrate the birthday of the church, which happened when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the first disciples of Jesus. Yesterday was also Mother’s Day. In fact, it was the 100th anniversary of the first Mother’s Day celebration in church.
Yesterday was also a day in which I heard the most obvious and brazen endorsement of a political candidate that I have ever heard in all of my years of church. Before you get on the phone to call down the IRS on my church, allow me to explain.
st. mark chancel pentecost red balloonsMy church, St. Mark Presbyterian in Boerne, Texas, did a fine job recognizing both Pentecost and Mother’s Day, while keeping the focus on Pentecost, which, in my opinion, is the right emphasis. The church sanctuary was decked out in red, the liturgical color for Pentecost. In addition to red paraments, stoles, candles, and flowers, there were dozens of red balloons: red for Pentecost, filled with air to signify the Spirit.
The children’s sermon had a Mother’s Day theme. About a dozen children from ages 3 to 10 gathered at the front. Their leader began by asking: Why is today special? One kid blurted out “Because it’s the church’s birthday.” Not bad! The others filled in with “It’s Mother’s Day.”
Then the leader asked the children what they do on Mother’s Day. The answers included:

We give our mom a present.
We make cards for our mom.
We tell our mom we love her.
. . . and the like.

Then, out of the blue, came a most unexpected answer:

We’re still hoping that Hillary will win.

There it was. Politics in church. How brazen! Never heard that before in St. Mark Presbyterian! For a moment there was hushed silence. Then some of the adults in the congregation began to chuckle. I was grateful that none of the other children picked up the gauntlet, adding: “We want Barack!” “We want McCain!” (Notice that the Democrats have first names, while the Republican has a last name.)
I don’t know why this kid mentioned Hillary Clinton when answering a question about how he celebrates Mother’s Day. I’m pretty sure that kid wasn’t Chelsea Clinton. For one thing, he was a boy about six years old. Maybe his mom is a big Hillary fan and he was trying to be supportive of her passion. Maybe his folks talked about Hillary on the way in to church. Maybe he was struck by the fact that a prominent presidential candidate is also a mom. Who knows?
Given the source of the political lobbying in worship today, I doubt St. Mark Pres will have trouble keeping its non-profit tax status. The IRS tends to go after pastors who endorse candidates, not children who contribute to a children’s sermon.

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