by Tashun Chism
There's no shortage of churches here in East Texas, which some consider as the heart of the Bible Belt, but many people say religion and politics don't mix.
Lufkin resident Mike Cotton said, They should probably encourage their members to participate in the process, but refrain from using the pulpit as a forum."
Randy Litton of Lufkin told us, "What goes on in the world goes on in the world, but when you're in that church you're supposed to be in there praising the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind."
Redland Baptist Church Pastor Ty Phillips says a pastor's only job should be to teach the word of God. Not to endorse their own personal politicial opinions.
"Whenever we start varying away from that into our own personal desires then we are doing a disservice to the office of pastorite," Phillips said.
Phillips believes teaching the word of God is what influences church members to make the right policial decisions. To him, many political issues like abortion should be clear to anyone who believes in the Bible.
Greater Shiloh Baptist Church Pastor Lonnie Williams thinks there are some issues that are just too important not to discuss in church. He uses the Civil Rights Movement as an example.
"If it wasn't for that type of pastoral leadership---and notice it was pastoral leadership---we'd probably still be in the same position, riding on the back of the bus instead of owning the bus," Williams said.
But when it comes to politics, there's one place both pastors draw the line.
"I will never stand up in the pulpit and say, 'this candidate should not be elected. Vote for this candidate.' that's not my call to make," Phillips told us.
"I feel it's a freedom of choice. America is about choices. We all have to make the choices best for us. My choice may not be your choice," Williams said.