Bishop Woodie H. White at Candler says:
Of course the Church should be engaged in politics! Christians and those who profess other beliefs should certainly be office holders as well as candidates for office. There should not be, however, a religious test for office. We are a democracy, not a theocracy.
In the last six months, I have been involved in major conferences that focused on the church, politics and public policy. As a variety of public-policy issues were addressed, the basic assumption was that there was and is a place for the expression of faith in the public square. The key question is how the Church and people of faith should be engaged in the public arena.
I'm not quite as enthused about dragging the Church into the political arena. As I've mentioned before, the Church is supposed to be a prophetic witness against evil, but taking any political stand entails dividing the Church. And it had better be something worth dividing the Church over, like slavery or racial segregation, not a Federal budget. The Church should be very, very careful before proceeding with political agenda. Bishop White acknowledges this:
People of faith do not agree unanimously on political leadership or public policy. Equally faithful people can reach different conclusions. It is both perplexing and frustrating. It would be a simpler world if we all saw "truth" similarly, but we don't.
When in doubt about the essentialness of an issue, I'd prefer that Christians be involved in politics, instead of the Church; that is, denominational bodies should avoid political stances unless major, incontrovertible evils are being committed in complete contrast to Christian ethics.
The hard part is reaching a consensus on what those evils are.