Electioneering Stunt Short-Changes Churches

by Archbishop Council Nedd II

Every year, on the Sunday before the U.S. Supreme Court convenes its fall term, many justices of the Court go to St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the “Red Mass.” A centuries-old tradition that originated in Europe, this special religious service allows judges to seek guidance from the Holy Spirit.

This year, on the following Sunday, during religious services across America, clergy put themselves and their membership in the government’s crosshairs in hopes of creating a case that might put them in front of those justices.

LBJ

October 7 was a “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” where hundreds of clergy openly defied a nearly 60-year-old IRS rule — originally crafted by Lyndon Baines Johnson — banning clergy from discussing political candidates during services. Opponents of the rule are openly challenging it. They want to be penalized so they can challenge the constitutionality of the rule.

Before entering full-time ministry, I earned my crusts of bread working and commenting on political issues as well as lobbying. I still enjoy politics as a private citizen, but I was happy to shed the 24/7 political life for the fulfilling vocation I now enjoy.

I don’t understand why my fellow ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ want to use their precious pulpit time to talk about Caesar rather than God.

In the synoptic gospels of the Bible, Jesus said — when discussing taxes with some Pharisees and Herodians — that they must render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars; and unto God, the things that are God’s.  For two millennia, Christians have claimed to understand precisely what Christ was talking about.

Whether it is our original Puritan forefathers or those fleeing to America to escape modern persecution, the church has largely remained a sanctuary from the secular world.

For an hour or so out of a hectic week, church is supposed to be free from the secular noise — where one can commune with God. It is the job of the clergy to protect that safe haven.

Pastors who would willingly throw the door open to the wolves — and even do the bidding of the wolves — should rethink their calling.

Why put a congregation at risk? In all the previous “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” events, the IRS never took the bait. Saving souls is my mission — not playing plaintiff.

After all, the rule pertains to electioneering and not talking about even the most divisive social/political issues such as abortion, education and the definition of marriage. It’s still legal to talk about the issues — just not the candidates.

Jesus taught that Christian leadership should be different from worldly concepts of leadership.  But many Christian leaders have yielded their God-given authority to pollsters, politicians and public relations experts.

In this world of declining moral standards and an absence of religious obligations, where fewer people are lifting their hearts and minds up to God, clergy should be preoccupied with dealing with the immediate needs of the community instead of who’s in the mayor’s office, the state capital or Washington, D.C.

What will these clergy get in return for preaching about Caesar from the pulpit?  What are these clergy sacrificing by preaching about Caesar rather than Christ? Organizers promise to pay legal expenses — but that won’t keep people in the pews when a church is fighting for its existence against government regulators who want to strip its tax-exempt status.

Selling my salvation for a photo-op is not negotiable.  Given the choice of feeding my flock with government cheese when I have a means of providing them manna from heaven and loaves and fishes, I would prefer a millstone be hung around my neck and I drown in the depths of the sea.

If the justices of the Supreme Court seek guidance from the Holy Spirit, clergy can always be there — uncorrupted by partisan politics — to assist them in that process. They need not also serve at polling places.

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Archbishop Council Nedd II, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network, has travelled extensively throughout the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf and helped in the creation of a new Episcopal parish in the United Arab Emirates. He is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Missionary Church in the United States and the Archbishop of Abu Dhabi. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org .

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.

False Bravado and Feminization

by Archbishop Council Nedd II

I’ve had several unfortunate opportunities to observe the consequences of single mothers raising male children without the influence of positive male role models.

Many boys who are raised by single moms can acquire the skills and maturity to lead healthy, full and productive lives. But they seem to be the exception rather than the rule. There are too many boys these days who are either feminized or reliant on false bravado.

My criticism is not to find blame with single mothers. They often do the best they can with limited resources. But I do believe many single mothers need to rethink their parenting philosophy.

My first substantial exposure to significant numbers of boys from families without fathers was while teaching at a public charter high school in Washington, DC.

It was easy to see basic problems, such as when boys earnestly asked me to teach them the proper way to shave, tie a tie and help them pick out clothing for job interviews. More disturbing was a 17-year-old boy who asked me to help him put in his earrings. It’s funny that he needed another man to help him put on his jewelry. It’s difficult to be gangsta when you ask another man to help put in your earrings.

I now live in an small town in rural Pennsylvania, where the problem changes from black to white. I routinely see young men calling girls the “b-word,” without realizing such crude remarks are the hyperbole and satire of old television reruns. With households devoid of encouraging male role models, they seem to have no other choice but to mimic what they see on television and from their peers.

The absence of fathers in both places leads to an exponential increase in “momma’s boys.” This occurs because a mother’s instinct to overlook a child’s character flaws goes unchecked. She instinctively defends that child’s bad behavior, and seldom wants to take corrective action.

The pampered momma’s boy often has few or no responsibilities around the home. His mother buys his clothes, cooks his meals, does his laundry and financially underwrites and countenances bad habits. She comes to his rescue, fights his battles, speaks up for him and even speaks for him. She blames others and protects her boy from harm, despite the fact he is old enough to be responsible for his own behavior.

These mothers need to cut the umbilical cord, and — to paraphrase Scripture — they should be dining on meat and not milk because they leave their boys unprepared for real life.

From my own experience, these unchecked household problems can have deadly consequences. Of the approximately 150 boys I taught over a two-year period in D.C., I know of 17 who have already died by gun violence.

From personal conversations and Facebook postings, I see that few of my former students sought education past high school. Of those who did, many never finished college but are saddled with the tuition loans. They lack careers and rely on hourly wages and few (if any) benefits. Many are involved in the underground economy of the inner city.

In rural Pennsylvania, the situation is remarkably similar. Many boys who grow up without fathers aspire to work in the coal mine because their friends work there. Some are involved in a booming underground economy where the drugs of choice are crystal meth and heroin. Unmarried girls push baby strollers. Young men spend too much money on pick-up trucks.

The common ground between these two seemingly very different groups of young men is that they are still living with their mothers. They dare not venture too far from the person who has always provided for them.

Single mothers must ensure their boys have positive male role models in their lives. This may take some effort, but the reward is worth it.

Boys may lack fathers, but they require real men to learn from.

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Project 21 member Council Nedd II, the bishop of the Chesapeake and the Northeast for the Episcopal Missionary Church, is the honorary chairman of In God We Trust (http://www.ingodwetrustusa.org), a group formed to oppose anti-religious bigotry. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org .

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.

Archbishop Council Nedd, bio

Bishop Council Nedd II

Global Religious Leader t Public Policy Influencer t Conservative Voice t International Healthcare Strategist & Educator

Global Religious Leader

In 2005 Bishop Nedd became the youngest bishop in the world, and in 2010, the youngest archbishop in the world. As Archbishop of the Episcopal Missionary Church, Bishop Nedd presided over Anglican churches in the United States, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). During 2011 while living in the UAE, Bishop Nedd had multiple private audiences with members of the royal family. One of the crowning achievements of his term as archbishop has been the successful rescue of an entire family of persecuted Syrian Christians, whom he helped establish asylum in Scotland. Bishop Nedd facilitated an unprecedented intercommunion agreement with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and also led delegations to ecumenical dialogues with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.

Public Policy Influencer

Bishop Nedd worked on Capitol Hill for three Members of Congress and the Republican National Committee. Because of his political acumen, he has made a name for himself as a crisis manager, a thorough investigator and connected health care strategist. After leaving Washington, he maintained contact with numerous Members of Congress who now serve as House committee chairs and United States Senators.

Every year, Bishop Nedd mails about 2.5 million Americans with updates about the left’s attempts to remove God from the fabric of American society. Additionally, about 100,000 petitions are delivered annually to Members of Congress from supporters of Bishop Nedd’s organization, In God We Trust.

Conservative Voice

Bishop Nedd can be heard regularly on talk radio and seen on national television, providing commentary on a wide range of public policy issues including health care, education, the war on terror and Islamic extremism, second amendment rights, the right to life, and religious freedom. His op-eds can be read regularly in various newspapers around the country, and he is a recognized conservative on social media, where he can often be found engaging his 50k followers on Twitter.

International Healthcare Strategist

An expert in health care policy, he worked as a health care strategist on the state, federal, and international level, pushing through and passing numerous initiatives. Bishop Nedd also successfully lobbied the World Health Organization, coordinating and directing a vast coalition effort to stop the spread of counterfeit and subtherapeutic prescription drugs in the developing world.

Bishop Nedd established a registry of parish nurses and, by hosting a series of workshops and utilizing electronic media, educated them on Medicare Part D. Through lecturing at civic organizations along the eastern seaboard, he has also been active in the campaign to eradicate Polio.

Educator

Bishop Nedd’s interest in education and young people led him to take a two-year sabbatical from the politics of Washington, to teach U.S. history and to establish and coach a policy debate team at a public charter high school in the nation’s capital. Bishop Nedd also helped establish a rugby team at another D.C. charter school, serving kids from underserved communities. Although no longer teaching, Bishop Nedd has provided scholarships to assist needy children, has established a primary school in Nairobi, Kenya, and even raised money to reopen and staff an orphanage in Abuja, Nigeria.

Despite all the demands on Bishop Nedd’s time, he still manages to preach at St. Alban’s Anglican Church in Pine Grove Mills, PA about 45 Sundays per year.