A total of 539 pastors preached prophetically and politically across America on Pulpit Freedom Sunday, October 2. This represents a 539% growth over 2010, growing from 33 (2008) to 84 (2009) to 100 (2010) to 539 (2011) pastors.
These 539 pastors / churches represented:
- Forty-seven of the 50 states – along with Puerto Rico.
- Approximately 50 denominations and associations plus non-denominational and independent churches.
- Sermons in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Filipino, and other languages.
- From small congregations to those of approximately 20,000.
Personally, I gave a lecture for Drew University at Glide United Methodist Church on “The Politics of Shalom” for Pulpit Freedom Day (which I’ll share in a future blog post).
According to Dr. Jim Garlow, organizer of Pulpit Freedom, the demonstration exceeded expectations:
“Pastors were prepared for some parishioners to be upset. But we were not prepared for what happened. Across America, congregations erupted in applause – interrupting the sermons. Standing ovations at the end of sermons were normative. As pastor after pastor reported this common theme, they stated, “it was as if the people were hungry for this type of preaching.”
None of us anticipated this remarkable reaction. Many reported their congregants urging them to continue the straightforward preaching. Like the others, I, too, was taken back by the explosive standing ovations that greeted me at the conclusion of my sermons in each service.
Publicity was massive. Even the New York Times covered it with an article and pictures. Click here to view it. Almost all the major papers and media outlets covered the event.
You will find the names of all participating churches we know about on the Pulpit Freedom website here.
Pulpit Freedom Day 2012 is set for Sunday, October 7 of next year. Check on the website at pulpitfreedom.org for updates and information.”
As the 2012 elections draw near, and so much is at stake, the time has come for religious leaders to boldly apply their faith and biblical understanding to political issues and social policies of our time. A new movement seems to be on the rise to support faith and action. We are at a tipping point in American history.
While most participants in Pulpit Freedom, including the organizers, seem to be supporting “conservative” issues, many of us are speaking out on “progressive” issues and supporting initiatives such as “circle of protection” circleofprotection for America’s poorest and most vulnerable, radical economic reform on Wall Street and Big Banks, American Jobs Act, Rebuilding the American Dream initiative (www.ourfuture.org).
Regardless of your political pursuations or theological understandings, left or right, I urge you to become more prophetic, organize your constituency, seek shalom, and speak truth to the power.