Beware of Churchmen Making Political Declarations

Through an article by Peter Leithart at First Things, I recently became aware of Complicity with the Holocaust, a haunting book about how religious and academic leaders praised the rise of the Nazis. The book by Robert Erickson cites statements of support for the Nazis made by clergy during and after the rise of Hitler’s regime. The reason I bring this up is because some of these statements are quite similar to the glowing statements which have been made about current political figures.
Now, I must hasten to note that I have in mind a time frame beyond this week. In 2012, several candidates were presented to Christians as God’s choice for president (e.g., Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry). This time around Ted Cruz was picked by both the Christian and Latter Day Saint gods as being the anointed one. Now, especially after Tuesday meeting involving Donald Trump and his evangelical friends, more religious leaders are coming out with religious imagery to describe the rise of Trump.
Case in point is an article at Charisma News describing the meeting by Barb Heki. She summarizes the tone of the meeting by the words “amazing grace.” Her summary points are what reminded me of the Erickson book:

Franklin Graham echoed similar sentiments when, after telling the group that Donald Trump offers substantial hope for America whereas Hillary Clinton offers no hope whatsoever, Rev. Graham did this: He acknowledged that we will never have a perfect candidate, and he compared Trump to great biblical leaders who had fallen into sin at various points in their lives, like Moses and King David, yet were used mightily by God to protect and lead the nation He had chosen them to lead.
It made me wonder, as I’ve watched Donald Trump inexplicably winning state after state by record numbers: Are we watching the hand of God upon Donald Trump at this moment in history? I’m not alone in my wondering, and if the sentiment at this meeting was any indication, I have a lot of godly company in my assessment that we have got to vote for Donald Trump in order to defeat Hillary Clinton because the freedoms we will lose with her at the helm will obliterate our ability to accomplish the very thing that is our mission in life—to preach the gospel of Christ and make disciples.

“Are we watching the hand of God upon Donald Trump at this moment in history?”
Consider this quote from Erickson’s book (via Leithart) from a German Lutheran newspaper in April 1933:

We get no further if we get stuck on little things that might displease us, failing to value the great things God has done for our Volk through them [the Nazis]. Or was it perhaps not God but ‘the old, evil enemy?’ For humans alone have not done this, an entire Volk , or at least its largest part, raising itself up into a storm, breaking the spiritual chains of many years, wanting once again to be a free, honest, clean Volk . There are higher powers at work here. The ‘evil enemy’ does not want a clean Volk , he wants no religion, no church, no Christian schools; he wants to destroy all of that. But the National Socialist movement wants to build all this up, they have written it into their program. Is that not God at work?

Heightening concern is the observation that Trump has called for war crimes, singling out and banning Muslims, deporting 11 million illegal immigrants, stigma against children of immigrants, and limitations on the press. He also told religious leaders that he wanted to make Christianity more powerful and somehow coerce businesses to say Merry Christmas. Even the impulse to take power in this manner should be questioned by the church. Instead, religious leaders are telling us that Trump “gets it.”
By now, shouldn’t we question boldly the political declarations of religious leaders? History shows us multiple illustrations of religion being used and abused for political benefit. To be candid, I fear this in the present day. Religious leaders have had a full year to study Trump and become knowledgeable about him. However, after one meeting, many come out declaring him God’s man for the hour. I just can’t get there and in fact their reassurances worry me all the more.

Why is Charisma News Claiming Credit for an Article About Mark Driscoll Authored by Lyall Mercer? (UPDATED)

UPDATE (3/24): This is getting comical. Now Charisma News has changed the Mark Driscoll v. The Enemy Within article byline to Christian News Service. So far, the article has been written by four people/organizations (Bill Roberts, Russ Jones, Charisma News Staff, and now CNS). However, the real author, Lyall Mercer is still being obscured and the Christian News Service has removed the article from the CNS website.

(Back to the original post)
I have asked Charisma News this question three times with no answer. How ironic that in an article on plagiarism and Mark Driscoll, Charisma claims authorship for an article penned by someone else and which initially required payment to be published as a press release.
Here is a summary of the situation. Yesterday morning, Russ Jones at Christian News Service published  a press release submitted by Lyall Mercer, a public relationship consultant. Initially, it was not clear to me that the piece was a press release because Russ Jones’ name was provided at the beginning of the article, as if under his authorship. I was not alone in this assumption. Journalist Ruth Graham also thought so and tweeted this observation. When Mr. Jones became aware that readers misunderstood the nature of Mercer’s submission, he informed me that the piece was a paid press release and changed the byline to “admin.” He later removed the press release from his website (Google cache).
At some point yesterday after the press release was posted to CNS’s website, Charisma News copied the release, placed Bill Roberts name on it as a byline and published it on their website with a modified title. I then alerted Charisma that Bill Roberts was not the author and Charisma then changed the authorship to Russ Jones. When I informed them that Mercer, not Jones, was the author, Charisma changed the authorship to “Charisma News Staff.” Since then, Charisma has received much criticism on Twitter and in the comments section of the Mercer-authored article. Last evening, they removed the comments section but left the article intact, except for the addition of one vague reference to a “press release.”
To me, it is disappointing that Charisma would publish a complete press release under another writer’s byline. Press releases should be labeled as such so that readers can evaluate the credibility of the “news” in the release. In this case, if the article was properly labeled, readers would know that the author of the “article” cites himself as an expert and paid to have it originally published. The addition of the one reference to an unnamed, unsourced press release doesn’t sufficiently improve the situation (see screen capture comparing the CNS version with the Charisma version).
In this case, I know I have a good, working email since I received a reply to my earlier inquiry. I am open to being corrected and listening to an alternative narrative but at this point, knowing what I know, I can only assume that Charisma has the correct information and has simply decided to obscure the facts.