A Southern Pastor: I Am Not Political

Religious leaders find ourselves in a unique situation in this country today. As people who have been divinely called to preach the gospel, we have to carefully guard our words so that we don’t become a divisive political element in our communities.

Here is the problem with that:

1. I am supposed to stand up for immigrants.

Leviticus 19:34 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

2. I am supposed to care for and protect the earth.

Genesis 2:15 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

3. I am to care for all creatures.

Proverbs 12:10 Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.

4. I am supposed to advocate for charity for those in need.

Leviticus 19:9-10 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

5. I am supposed to seek justice for those who are oppressed.

Isaiah 1:17 learn to do good. Seek justice: help the oppressed; defend the orphan; plead for the widow.

6. I am supposed to treat each human being as if they were Christ.

Matthew 25: 42-46
42 I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. 43 I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ 45 Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’

7. And, I am supposed to invite all to the table of fellowship and love, without creating categories of who I think deserves it and who doesn’t.

Matthew 7:1-3 7 “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 You’ll receive the same judgment you give. Whatever you deal out will be dealt out to you. 3 Why do you see the splinter that’s in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye?.

So here is the bottom line: if my call to stand with the marginalized and respect the earth, to preach love of neighbor and acceptance of all, to call attention to hatred and intolerance, and to openly follow the teachings of Christ, conflicts with your political stance, that should not be my problem, nor should it keep me from following my call.

If doing those things has become political, there is a much deeper problem which we as a society desperately need to address. Kindness and decency are not political platforms, they are life.

Melanie Tubbs is a professor, pastor, mother, Mimi, and true Arkansas woman. She lives with nine cats and one dog on a quiet hill in a rural county where she pastors a church and teaches history at the local university. Her slightly addictive personality comes out in shameful Netflix binges and a massive collection of books. Vegetarian cooking, reading mountains of books for her seminary classes, and crocheting for the churches prayer shawl ministry take up most of her free time, and sharing the love of Christ forms the direction of her life. May the Peace of Christ be with You.