Pastor Gus Booth’s Story
I am pastor of Warroad Community Church in Warroad, Minnesota – six miles from the Canadian border. I have always had a passion for preaching the Gospel, especially as it applies to society and government. The Gospel is living and active and applies to all of life. One area in particular where the light of the Gospel has not been shined very brightly is the political realm. Pastors seem too hesitant to address the political realm these days with the truth of Scripture, instead preferring to turn a blind eye to corruption and evil in our national and local leaders. Many of the pastors I know refuse to address the political issues of the day and instead remain silent. Even though I felt strongly that I should be preaching what the Bible says about selecting the leaders of our country, I believed that it was illegal to say anything from the pulpit, especially about candidates and during an election cycle. I feared what the IRS would do to my church if I said something I shouldn’t. The last thing I, or any pastor for that matter, want is an IRS audit.
That’s why, in 2008, when I heard about ADF’s Pulpit Initiative, I was immediately interested. I responded immediately to get more information and the more I looked into the Pulpit Initiative and talked with ADF’s attorneys about the purpose of the Pulpit Initiative, I knew I had to be involved in the very first year of the Initiative. I signed up immediately, preached my sermon on Pulpit Freedom Sunday and sent my sermon to the IRS.
The Pulpit Initiative is long overdue. For too many years, pastors have conveniently hidden behind the idea that it is against the law to apply scripture to elections and candidates. I see ADF as the offensive line protecting the pastoral quarterback whom cannot successfully hand off to the next generation of running backs without the offensive line's help. And it’s about time that we got on offense instead of sitting passively on the defensive while our right to speak freely from the pulpit is stripped away.
The IRS did audit my church and ADF was there every step of the way. Fighting the IRS was never a fearful event for me because I knew ADF was representing me. The IRS eventually dropped the audit for reasons of their own, but I continue to speak boldly from the pulpit – even about candidates and elections – because I know that it is the right thing to do and that ADF stands ready to defend any encroachment on my liberty as a pastor to freely proclaim God’s word to my congregation on any and every issue.
ADF is prophetically calling the true leaders of America (pastors) out of the cave of hiding, much like the prophet Gad did with the true leader of Israel, King David. The Lord has an opinion on every moral issue, and His leaders need to give it. But it is much easier to give that opinion, knowing that ADF and its team of attorneys are standing behind and supporting pastors.
As the apostle Paul learned to use his rights as a Roman citizen to protect the gospel in the 1st century, the ADF is doing the same for us in the 21st. Their professionalism and commitment to the gospel is second to none, even when compared with many pastors. It is a sad day when the pulpit is more protected by attorney's than pastors. We pastors need to rise up and give the ADF something to protect.
Do you know someone who would want to learn more about his or her constitutionally protected rights as a pastor?