How about explaining to the Senator that he has a duty to promote only just war and stand against pre-emptive war? But where do you draw the line, Steve? When is it better for a pastor to keep his politics to himself and not spiritually brow-beat a congregant into pursuing his own politics just because the man happens to be a magistrate? Do you think political liberty is ends when a man goes from private citizen to public magistrate? Do you think there is no difference between political behavior and personal behavior? If not, when does it become unwarranted conscience binding to take a man aside and instruct him on how he should vote or make public policy? When it’s anything other than abortion and gay marriage? Do abortion and gay marriage play by entirely different rules when it comes to political liberty? If so, why?
Your battery of questions is fraught with tendentious assumptions:
i) I don’t draw a hard line between clergy and laity. I’m not Roman Catholic.
Some laymen are more theologically astute than some clergymen. Some clergymen are more politically astute than some laymen. Or a clergyman may be more astute on some issues while a layman is more astute in others. In many situations, the conversation can go both ways.
ii) I think a pastor should keep his politics to himself if he has nothing worthwhile to say. But what about a pastor who majored in international relations, or wrote a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation on just-war theory?
Or what if, before he became a pastor, he was a long-time missionary in the country under consideration, and has maintained contacts on the ground. He might be in a position to offer the congregant excellent advice on the geopolitical situation.
It’s quite unintelligent to erect an artificial barrier between clergy and laity regardless of individual aptitude or personal background.
iii) Your question takes for granted that just-war theory is opposed to preemptive war. But just-war theorists like J. Daryl Charles would demur (Cf. Between Pacifism and Jihad: Just War and Christian Tradition.)
iv) Whether or not to go to war is arguably a prudential question rather than a duty. Not just a question of morality. But also involving questions of risk assessment. Best and worst-case scenarios. Potential consequences of action or inaction.
v) You also resort to girlyman rhetoric about “browbeating” a congregant, “binding his conscience,” and squishing his “political liberty.” Do you think a civil magistrate is such a hothouse flower that he will wilt if exposed to a rational exchange of views on public policy?
When I hear a pastor say something I disagree with, I don’t feel put upon. He has his opinion, and I have mine.
When did grown men become oh-so fragile? Is this the Justin Bieber school of ecclesiology?
vi) As for binding the conscience, it’s really quite simple: truth binds, but error does not. If the pastor is right, then what he says ought to bind the conscience of the listener. But if what he says is wrong, then it can’t bind the conscience of the listener.
I don’t object to a pastor telling a congregant who happens to be a lawmaker how he should vote as long as the pastor has a solid argument.
Likewise, if a layman thinks the pastor was off-the-wall in his interpretation of Scripture, and the layman has a better interpretation, he is within his rights to explain that to the pastor.
Reasons, not roles, are where I draw the line. Which side has better reasons. So I play by the same rules across the board.