WATCH: T.D. Jakes, JoAnn Hummel, and David Saperstein Discuss Church and State and How Religious Leaders Can Remain Relevant In Society on “Meet the Press”
“The challenge of people of faith is not so much to wrestle against secularism, but to remain relevant in a society that has lost faith in all institutions,” said Bishop T.D. Jakes in a roundtable discussion on “Meet the Press.”
Bishop Jakes, senior pastor of the Potter’s House of Dallas, was joined by Pastor JoAnn Hummel of the Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Carrollton, Texas, and Rabbi David Saperstein, senior advisor for the Union of Reform Judaism.
“You have to think about sermons you give on political issues that address policy issues and social justice issues differently than you do other sermons,” said Rabbi Saperstein.
“For those who don’t discuss politics from the pulpit, it’s not because they think politics is unimportant, but because for too many of the congregants, politics is important in all the wrong ways,” said Michael Wear, the author of “Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House.”
Wear joined Chuck Todd and Jeff Hunt, the director of the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, in a separate discussion for “1947: The Meet the Press Podcast.”
Both Michael and Jeff focus on religion as a source of their political thinking and as an important part of building voting coalitions, and this week they sat down to discuss the evolving role of faith in politics.
Jeff Hunt argues that people in the pews are actually looking for spiritual teachers to engage in contemporary topics, even if it highlights differences in opinion among their congregations.
“It’s important for churches to teach exactly what the Bible teaches,” Hunt said. “[Church-goers] are looking for congregations that are willing to teach the more conservative sides of the Bible and be more politically engaged as well.”
The tension between religious views and political beliefs might call into question the traditional separation between church and state. Rabbi Saperstein said that division, “keeps government out of religion. And that wall in America, with its 2,000 religions, faith groups and sects the sociologists tell us, has allowed religion to flourish with a diversity and strength in America unmatched anywhere in the democratic world.”
Despite the rise in secularism and the heightened sense of ideological battle, for those who lead congregations, the core purpose of religion remains serving their communities and spreading faith. Pastor Hummel said, “when people come into crisis, they still come into the Church.”
She continued, “We are there in the crisis moments of people’s lives. We’re at the sickbed. We’re at the wedding altar. We’re at the divorce court.”
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SOURCE: NBC News