I'm not a fan of the mega-church movement but I found this interview with T.D. Jakes particularly refreshing. Considering the way that the intersection of faith and politics is usually treated in America (that is, not well) Jakes' comments on religion and politics are like the voice of reason crying out in the darkness. I think Jakes' approach is much more appropriate than that of other popular religious and political leaders.
T.D. Jakes Seeks Leadership, Not Faith, in President
One of the most influential black leaders today, Jakes has the ear of President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton. He says the black clergy faces big challenges as the 2008 presidential election draws near, as they weigh competing strategies on how to work effectively for the betterment of their community.Read/listen to the whole thing.
But the challenges extend beyond the black community, Jakes says.
"I think really religion in general is struggling with politics, not just African Americans. Many, many times we've allowed ourselves to be taken up under the control of this party or that party, and I think that's dangerous when you do that," he tells Michele Norris.
"I don't think that God should be assigned to a party. When the party goes bad, then the clergy are embarrassed, and I think that faith should transcend politics," he says.
Jakes says he encourages his parishioners to vote and to be aware of the issues. But to assume that African Americans are "ignorant and need the pastor to tell them how to vote is an insult to our intelligence," Jakes says. "That day is gone."