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Skyline Pastor Tells Congregation on 'Pulpit Freedom Sunday' He'll Vote Romney

Pastor Jim Garlow says he's endorsing Jesus and will vote for the Republican presidential candidate on Election Day.

Rancho San Diego's Skyline Church Pastor Jim Garlow told his congregation on "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" that he'll vote for Gov. Mitt Romney, according to a U-T San Diego report.

Garlow told his congregation—though he's voting for Romney—they should vote for who God tells them to vote for, according to the newspaper.

“I did make an endorsement. I endorsed biblical principles," said Garlow in a statement. "My confidence is not and never has been in a political party or a candidate.  My confidence is in the scriptural constructs for our communities and our nation.  Christians should vote for whoever most aligns with biblical truth.

"I shared that I will vote for Mitt Romney, but that was merely a statement, not an endorsement.  I encouraged each person in the church to think through the biblical principles and vote for the personal they sense most aligns with scriptural truth as God directs them.”

Garlow's announcement comes a day—known as "Pulpit Freedom Sunday"—in which churches defy the so-called Johnson Amendment that bars tax-exempt nonprofits from electioneering. According to Garlow, 1,600 pastors participated in the event.

Libi Uremovic October 08, 2012 at 01:39 PM
is it really considered an 'endorsement' if it garners a negative result? religion should be taxed just like every other money making industry... and it would be nice if our politicians acknowledged this....or at least addressed the issue... righting the wrongs in our laws and tax code that have been created in the last 30 years for purely political purposes would have been a good topic for the national debate...
Jimmy Sanders October 08, 2012 at 02:39 PM
So what? Ray Suarez of PBS encourages young Democrats to rally for President Obama, including his progressive stance on social issues.
Craig Maxwell October 08, 2012 at 02:49 PM
"Misleading" is the only way to characterize those arguments which attempt to reduce this to a tax issue. It is (primarily) about the First Amendment.
Jimmy Sanders October 08, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Exactly right Craig. It cuts accross political lines. The Black Church Must Stand Up For President Obama http://praisecharlotte.com/561667/the-black-church-must-stand-up-for-president-obama-2/
Jimmy Sanders October 08, 2012 at 03:05 PM
http://www.blackchristiannews.com/news/2012/02/watch-absolutely-shameful---president-obama-plays-the-race-card-and-the-church-card-calls-upon-black.html
Deena While October 08, 2012 at 03:48 PM
But when standing at the pulpit, in front of the congregation, the job is to lead in all matters spiritual, not give personal opinion. If I stand before the PTA meeting and discuss LMVMA issues....am I serving the folks who attended the PTA meeting? Of course I have the right to do it, but it's not appropriate, ya know? Yack about whatever when off the pulpit, but when on the job just do what you've been asked to do.
Scott H. Kidwell October 08, 2012 at 04:19 PM
The "pulpit" is not the sole place where ministers lead in spiritual matters. And most, if not all, religions see no real distinction between the spiritual and temporal. Personal opinion is within all religious groups as people interpret their particular sacred writtings. What the job is and what is appropriate for each church or PTA or other charitable 501 (c)(3) organization leader will be determined by the membership. Try to change the tax code if you want to but don't count on it causing ministers to stop speaking out on issues of concern to them, including politics. You can always attend a different church if you don't like the message or the messenger.
Craig Maxwell October 08, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Why do you assume that Jim's choice is a matter of "personal opinion?" (And, contrarily, why would you assume that his views on "matters spiritual" are any "opinionated" than those pertaining to matters temporal?) Jim gave reasons for preferring Romney to Obama. Ultimately, they are moral, and since these are, for believers, derived from faith, he was merely following the precepts of his faith. In fact, to have not done so would've been a dereliction of Christian duty. Nor was anyone being coerced into agreement with him. Clerics preaching out on matters political from the pulpit is as old as the Republic. Take, for instance, the both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, which are inconceivable without it. It is Constitutional bastardizations like the Johnson Amendment that are novel, and they should be rejected.
Debra Gilly October 08, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Jesus faced political spirits who were opposed to Him; they were the Pharisees who thought they were morally right and everyone should think and believe like them (they wanted to control the people by manipulating them with persuasive words/speeches). The Sadducees were known for being immoral and compromised their faith to maintain the status quo with the politicians. These spirits that opposed Jesus exist today. Jesus is not a democrat or republican. My suggestion to anyone who calls themselves a shepherd is to stick with the gospel of the Kingdom instead of political speeches and endorsements. If people want to run their church as a business and they are law abiding citizens, then why not pay the tax?
Johnson October 08, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Religions aren't supposed to dip their sticks in politics. Religion is a sham and a money making scheme. Always has been and always will be.
Craig Maxwell October 08, 2012 at 06:23 PM
(Hey, there's a thoughtful, informed opinion.)
Craig Maxwell October 08, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Debra's conclusion: Jesus faced "political spirits," but today's ministers should not. Sigh...
Debra Gilly October 08, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Religion is man-made and I suppose if you are involved in something man-made it has flaws. I rather not put my trust in mere men (and I certainly don't want to come to church to here political speeches and endorsements). I do believe in God and will put my trust in Him. He is very wise. He said not to put your trust in princes and rulers (only now we have czars) . Psalm 146.
Debra Gilly October 08, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Hi there Craig: Of course christians face political spirits. He is our example of how to face them today. He did not endorse the pharisees or saduccees or Herod. He said beware of what they teach because their teaching corrupts everything.
Johnson October 08, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Jesus also said to not be a part of the world. Voting means you're putting your faith in a corrupt system. Caesar's things to Caesar, God's things to God. If you have faith in this system, I dunno what to say to that. I think it's obvious it's not working. There are many positives in this world, yes. But overall what do we see these days? Religions are man made to separate us. In my opinion in order for your voice to be heard as far as voting is concerned, is to not vote at all. I get more truth from episodes of South Park than I can get from men who crave power. I was raised around different religious environments. It's a bunch of superstitious creeps. I would think it would be more obvious to some when your kids are being taught about fiery torments and other such shenanigans. They love to stick that fear in you early.
Craig Maxwell October 08, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Hi, Debra. Thank you for your comments. While as a Christian, I do not believe that my religion is man-made, (Matthew 6:18) I do believe that it includes many--all, in fact--very flawed members. That would be impossible to deny. Nor would I put my trust in princes; not, at least, in the sense of making them replacements for God. I am, however, mindful of Romans 13. To say that Jesus didn't "endorse" the (very corrupt) religio-political authorities of his own day would, I think, be something of an understatement (Matthew 23:1--33). He damns them in language that's rarely used against the politicians of our day, though I think many deserve at least as much.
Debra Gilly October 08, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Hi Johnson: I feel your pain. I was raised in a religious environment and filled with fear and anxiety all of the time. This until one day, not even looking for Him, Jesus did come to me and for the first time, I experienced love. I hate religion. Most of us, we have friends and family who we love and who love us. When I am sick, when I am hungry, when I feel afraid and have need to be comforted it is not the politician who holds my hand in these times. Desperate times bring some of us together and will tear some of us apart. However, those who have love and give love will help bind us together. Unfortunately, we see greed, selfishness, and those craving power (seeking their own glory) in churches as well as in the world. How many people think their vote determines what a politician will actually DO? God help us and have mercy on us because man is not capable of fixing all that ails the world.
Debra Gilly October 08, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Hi Craig: Thank you for your comments. Do you remember when Jesus came to Joshua and Joshua asked him, "Are you for us or our enemies?" Jesus replied, "Neither." God is always on the side of God. God brought us a redeemer and His ways are redemptive in nature, trying to reconcile men to peace (political speeches and endorsements do not bring peace to men). God is a God of Peace, His son is called the Prince of Peace. Love the sinner, hate the sin. We do not help further the gospel of the Kingdom by when trying to manipulate and persuade others using endorsements of one candidate over another at the pulpit. Do you really want to gather in God's house of prayer and worship to hear political speeches and endorsements?
Craig Maxwell October 08, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Yes, the Prince of Peace. But also judgement. ("Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.") And yes, as I wrote before, to refrain from speaking out against injustice of any kind--a la the pre-Civil war anti-slavery clergy, or say, Martin Luther King's denunciations of Jim Crow!--would be wrong
Debra Gilly October 08, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Hi Craig: I like it when you quote the scriptures. The sword is the word of God and the word of God is His presence. In the presence of God, there is love, joy, peace and righteousness by the Holy Spirit. Speaking out against evil is good (Jim Crow was evil and you can see his deeds were evil). A good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit. God is good, He is the only one who is good. Men are a mixed bag, unpredictable, trust no man (not even yourself). God will come to His own and they will receive Him. Politics is not the answer to world peace. Jesus is.
Craig Maxwell October 08, 2012 at 10:39 PM
I'll leave you with one more thing, Debra. Ellis Sandoz has compiled a large--massive, really!--collection of political sermons delivered during the colonial period; sermons that played no small role in firing the spirit of '76. http://www.amazon.com/Political-Sermons-American-Founding-Era/dp/0865970912
Debra Gilly October 08, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Thanks Craig. I am inspired when I hear people (including politicians) speak with sincerity and truth in their hearts. I do believe George Washington received inspiration from Almighty God when he addressed the American people. He also believed something in his heart that he was trying to convey in his speech which was God would not smile on a nation that did not respect the "eternal rules of order...". Here is just an excerpt from his inaugural address: "I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire, since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."
mike and liz October 09, 2012 at 12:09 AM
sorry libi but the church and the state have been separated for generations. if goverment does this goverment will take away the freedom of religion plus the churches do alot for their communities and help those in needs
Chris October 09, 2012 at 07:42 AM
Hardly. Every religious politician votes the way his church wants him to. The Science and Technology subcommittee chair is a nutjob extremist christian who thinks the world is only 9000 years old. This guy is a MD and claims to be a scientist who proclaims that evolution is "lies spawned by the pit of hell"-- and he's the chair of the subcommitee who could put the western world into another church sponsored dark ages. Are we that naive to think that religion hasn't slithered its way into politics? "If government does this" it'll hopefully put a deadbeat preacher in jail where he belongs for breaking the law, and let the congregation wonder why their church has been seized and condemned because a "good upstanding christian" couldn't follow laws.
Chris October 09, 2012 at 07:59 AM
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword" is a bastardization of the word--King James is a lot older than NIV or whatever misprints are out there. The quote never included 'sword' or the intonation of judgement. There are too many terrible "translation" texts out there that make it sound like Jesus was a sword flailing, blood lusting "harken to me or perish" lunatic. Neither was Jesus ever meant to endorse a candidate. To say that his essence should be part of the political pulpit is sickening.
Chris October 09, 2012 at 08:15 AM
Then why is it that you are willing to ""endorse" the (very corrupt) religio-political authorities" of today? Is it because they are "upstanding christians" who follow the lobbyist money and do what the church wants them to to further the Inquisition agenda? Every law abiding christian should be damning these religio-political ministers as Pharisees giving the seat of Moses unto the scribe politicians. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment".
David Baker October 09, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Seems to me this election comes down to a choice between "I am my brothers keeper," and, "greed is good." I think this pastor is on the wrong side of that equation.

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