It’s too early to tell whether the pot boiler over Barack Obama’s former minister will continue to simmer or subside, but the controversy presents a teachable moment for us on the subject of politicians and their pastors. First and foremost among the lessons learned is that most politicians have them. Pastors, that is. And, those ministers, priests and rabbis ”” if they are true to their calling ”” are beholden only to God. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, that they aren’t always politically correct.
They might even anger or embarrass us. Lord knows I have. President Truman is said to have grown so irritated with his pastor that he didn’t speak to him for years.
Ministers have described their role as one of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. The question becomes whether a particular politician or candidate ought to be held accountable for a pastor’s more afflicting remarks.