As the nation counts down to the November election and the rhetoric ramps up, former pastor Rick Scarborough has some words of encouragement for Christians. “If we would simply do due diligence and vote our Biblical values we could change this culture in a matter of ten years—two and a half election cycles.”
“It’s that simple,” says Scarborough. Adding, “When we show up we win and it’s time now for the church to show up.”
The problem, however, says, Dr. Rick Scarborough, the founder and president of Vision America, is that Christians have not been doing “due diligence” when it comes to voting their values and requiring their leaders to lead according to biblical principles. “The statistic that’s most often quoted,” says Scarborough, “is—fifty percent of those who self-identify as born again Christians are registered to vote. But the tragic number is—fifty percent of the fifty percent actually vote. And that statistic comes from a national election for president.”
With those statistics as the backdrop, this month’s Truth That Transforms television programs focus on our duty as Christian citizens to pray for our country and our leaders, and, as Christian citizens, to participate in the political process.
Along with Dr. Scarborough, history professor Dr. Jake Jacobs is one of those interviewed on the programs. According to Dr. Jacobs, “This election is probably one of the most important elections in the history of America.” And while “it’s self-evident that citizens should be engaged and involved in voting,” he says, there is so much more that Christians should do in preparing to vote. They need to be “aware of the issues, understanding that big government, socialism, and bureaucracies don’t work.”
The fact is, however, that many Christians have not voted in recent elections, much less informed themselves on the issues. In 2004, just under half of America’s 60 million evangelicals voted. More recent figures show that as many as 40 percent are not registered voters.
Why do so many Christians stay away from the polls on Election Day? Experts say there are a number of reasons, but one of the primary ones is the belief that our responsibility as the church and as Christians is exclusively to preach the gospel. Dr. Wayne Grudem a seminary professor and author of the book, Politics According to the Bible, says the argument that the church should only “do evangelism, and not politics” is rooted in the view that says, “if we get involved in trying to influence government, it doesn’t bring anybody into the Kingdom, it doesn’t do any spiritual good.”
Grudem’s response to this is simply that “the Bible commands us to do good works.” He explains: “Shouldn’t the church and shouldn’t pastors also teach us how we should do good works in the political realm? How we should think about voting? What biblical values come to bear in seeking to influence government for good? That’s just another aspect of good works.”
Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the 10,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, says, “People say to me all the time, well, I don’t think you ought to mix politics with religion. My response is, ‘Then what do you want to mix it with?’ All politics are based on some set of values, why shouldn’t they be the Christian values that have influenced our government for the first 160 years of our nation’s history?”
Jeffress elaborates: “Does God care about millions of children who are being murdered in the womb every year? Does God care about rampant immorality that is engulfing our nation? Does God care about His Name being outlawed from mention in the public square? If you believe God still cares about those things, then you’ve just answered the reason why Christians should be involved in politics.”
Bob Morrison of the Family Research Council is traveling across the country in the Values Voter bus encouraging Christians to register and to vote their values in November. “Issues of the sanctity of human life, the defense of marriage, religious liberty are central to what’s going on in this election season,” says Morrison.
Genevieve Wood, a Vice President of the Heritage Foundation, underlines the importance of the choices that voters will make this year. “We have a lot of serious choices to make before us and not only do we, as voters, need wisdom in who we elect and put into these places of power, but frankly the people we elect need wisdom and they need our prayers.”
According to Wood, in recent elections voters have not exercised sufficient wisdom. “I think that we should be holding public officials to higher standards than we do. And that’s something in the past few years, these past few election cycles, the public has not done.”
“The fact is,” she says, “people have to pay attention to what people do. How they vote—how they interpret the laws—how they rule on the laws, and are they upholding the laws they were asked to uphold? It’s important to know: what do they believe, what shapes their worldview? Because that’s going to have a lot of impact on how they make laws, and what they vote for.”
Historian Dr. Jacobs says that voters need to look for integrity in their leaders. On the whole, America’s settlers and founders “were men and women of integrity that laid the foundation for the character of the nation.” And so today, Jacobs says, we should look for that same trait. “We have to elect men and women of integrity, of character, who really live by the Constitution, who actually read it, know it, and abide by the law that we have in this land.”
“The only way we get leaders like that,” says Dr. Scarborough “is for God’s people who understand God’s truth and God’s standard to be involved in the process. A lesser people will not look for that kind of a leader.”
Vote your values
Roughly 33 million Americans think they are registered to vote, when they are not. You can check if you are at www.wallbuilders.com/vote/.
Thirty percent of eligible voters are not registered. The number of unregistered evangelical Christians is closer to 40 percent.
ChampiontheVote.com and iVoteValues.org offer online voter registration.
If you’re not registered, please register, and then vote your values in November.