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But Tocqueville also found that the clergy entangled very little with politics and government. He said that they took a sort of professional pride in distancing themselves from political power.

I heard them anathematize ambition and bad faith, whatever might be the political opinions with which these took care to cover themselves…I saw them separate themselves carefully from all parties, and avoid contact with them with all the ardor of personal interest.

Tocqueville pondered the wisdom of the separation and concluded that the American clergy were acting in the best interest of their republican government to avoid pledging allegiances to parties or individuals, saying that:

American [clergy]…saw that they had to renounce religious influence if they wanted to acquire political power, and they preferred to lose the support of power rather than to share in its vicissitudes.

Tocqueville’s observations are something we ought to thoughtfully consider in 2013.

Despite years of churches and pastors supporting (or appearing to support) the Republican Party and its candidates — with a long list of disappointments — both the country and the Republican Party seem to be getting worse. We continue to lurch headlong toward financial, moral, and spiritual destruction, some of it perpetrated by those claiming to be our political allies. And it’s not a Republican problem alone. The Democrats have let down the churches they claim to serve as well.