The commentators and pundits are still trying to explain what happened Tuesday (I’ve yet to listen to any of them!). About half of Americans are celebrating while the other half are discouraged. Some feel like things are hopeless for America and that we are doomed, while others feel that President Obama will lead America to new heights.
I fall somewhere in between. I had a very definite opinion of who I thought should be elected president based on how I weighed the issues informed by Scripture. Some of my thoughts on that can be found in my other posts like “Is murder OK as long as my taxes are lower?” and “What about the 3rd-party candidates” so I won’t go much into that here. I would like to share what I think I see in the results of the balloting on Tuesday and the Exit Polls.
It was interesting to note from the Exit Polls from Tuesday that the more often one attended worship services, the more likely they were to vote for Governor Romney. This suggests that perhaps because they attended church more often they heard from their pastor, Religious Education teacher or some other leader about the issues and what the Bible says about them so they knew how to vote. Maybe though, the fact that they attended worship services more often is indicative of their deeper commitment to their faith which caused them to vote according to the Biblical teaching on the issues and therefore the candidate who best support them.
This result was true for Roman Catholics, as well. I believe that they had more of an incentive, and likely had more specific instructions from their priests, because of the current threat to religious liberty in how “Obamacare” is attempting to force them to provide contraception and abortifacients when acting as an employer, contrary to their religious beliefs.
Another interesting note from the Exit Polls was the high percentage of women who voted for President Obama. 55% of all women voted for President Obama compared to 44% for Governor Romney. This increases to 75% for Latino women and 96% for black women while he still received 43% of the vote from white women. I know that a lot of the campaign advertising late in the campaign portrayed Governor Romney as “dangerous for woman’s health” so I’m interpreting much of the women’s vote as a vote for abortion-rights, though I realize that there are many other issues that concern women and abortion-rights is just one of them. Of all of these women, do none of them believe in the sanctity of life or are all of them more concerned about being able to kill their unborn babies if they get pregnant?
Something else that the Exit Polls revealed is that 93% of blacks voted for President Obama. I think this is the highest percentage of any of the results of the Exit Poll. This is regardless of their age (though it drops to 91% for black males between 18-29), gender, religion, income level, family status, education level, anything! I don’t want to be accused of being racist–because I’m certainly not, but how could this 93% be, except that it is because President Obama is black. I find it hard to believe that 93% of the blacks in America are in agreement with all of President Obama’s philosophies. Do none of these 93% believe that abortion is wrong? Don’t any of them believe that homosexuality is immoral and dangerous for society? Are none of them concerned about their religious freedoms?
I think another of the statistics from the Exit Polls reveals more in relation to the “black” vote. The candidate quality that matters most to those who selected the President, at 82%, is “cares about people like me.” I believe that since President Obama shares skin color with the 93% of the black Americans who voted for him, there is an identification, the “like me” that brings a feeling of, “he knows what I go through, he knows where I’m at, he cares about me.”
I’m not necessarily saying that this is bad, I’m just saying that to vote for someone because you identify with his skin color and feel a commonality that may bring an understanding of shared experience to bear on policy to the exclusion of Biblical values on things like the sanctity of life or immoral marriage relationships should be called into question.
Now, I realize that many of the 93% of blacks who voted for President Obama may very well have agreed with all of his policies and stands on the issues, or at least enough that they felt that a vote for President Obama was their best option. I get that. My question is more about those black voters who have strong Christian convictions on such things as abortion and homosexual behavior, who instead voted for President Obama.
The flip side of my argument is also true, however. It would be wrong for someone who is white to have voted for Governor Romney just because he is white or to have not voted for President Obama just because he is black, which doesn’t seem to have been the case since 40% of whites voted for President Obama compared to just 58% for Governor Romney. Whether black or white, it is important that the issues, the priorities, the philosophies of the candidates and their parties are seriously considered and weighed against the Bible and God’s will and placed above any concern for, or even serious recognition of, one’s skin color or ethnicity.
In other election results from Tuesday, same-sex marriage became legal in Washington, Maine and Maryland. This is the first time that this has been done by a vote by the people instead of by the legislature forcing it on its population or the court declaring it to be so. And it appears that a measure in Minnesota to amend their constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman has been defeated, though gay marriage is still illegal under Minnesota law. What’s more, in Colorado and Washington, marijuana use for any reason became legal, and Wisconsin elected the United States’ first openly homosexual Senator.
The big question that I have about all of this is, “where were the Christians?”
According to recent research by the Pew Research Center, 73% of Americans identify themselves as “Christian.” The same research reveals that only 48% say that they are “Protestant” with only 19% being “White Evangelical” (can’t find a column for “Black Evangelical,” it seems like there should be some) and 22% identified themselves as Roman Catholic. Throw in the “White Mainline” (15%), “Mormons” (2%), “Orthodox” (1%), “Black Protestant” (8%) and “Other Minority Protestant” (6%) and we have our 73% Christian. This doesn’t even take into account the 6% “Other Faiths” and the 19.6% “Unaffiliated” which includes atheists, agnostics and “nothing in particular” who at least some of which would be sympathetic to some of the same issues that Christians are concerned about. I point out these numbers to suggest that the elections should have looked differently on Tuesday if biblical teachings held any place of prominence in the lives of American Christians.
So where were these 73% (+/-) on election day? I know that many of that number can be eliminated since they are part of mainline or other denominations who have a more accepting view of many of these issues. But are there not enough Christians who believe what the Bible says, to defeat or at least slow, the forward stride of these issues that are at variance with the Bible?
Perhaps not. Perhaps the number of Christians who believe and accept the Bible as God’s Word for our life today is diminishing, as is reflected in the above mentioned research (this is the 1st time Protestants have dipped below 50% in U.S. history!). Perhaps Bible-believing Christians are becoming a very clear minority. Perhaps they will soon not even be a sizable enough voting block to be recognized by the parties or candidates.
If this is the case, the future of America is very dire, indeed. If there are not enough Christians to prevent the spread of abortion, perverted marriages, illicit drug use and other evils that are proven to destroy families and societies, then the United States is destined to become merely a footnote in history. Christian Americans are likely to live as a minority in an increasingly hostile culture with open persecution of Christians not far behind.
I don’t know if things are hopeless yet, or not. I do believe however, that more education of Christians as to the importance of their vote as well as the direction of their vote is essential. I believe that “strategic alliances” may need to be engaged in to move toward the defeat of commonly opposed issues. More than anything, though, I believe that Christians need to pray more than they ever have. They need to pray for their leaders and decision makers. They need to pray for their communities and their country. They need to pray that God will change hearts and minds.
But in addition to praying, we need to get out there, we need to “go.” I believe that more effective than legislation on moral behavior is evangelism. If we win our communities for Christ they won’t want to engage in immorality or sin. If we enable God’s movement in our communities and allow Him to work in us and through us to bring about revival in our land, the issues will become less of an issue.
. . . we need to go back to the basics of living as disciples of Christ, living missionally for Christ and demonstrating the Gospel in tangible ways within our schools, workplaces and communities. . . the fight over symbolic issues is backfiring, alienating people from the truths of the gospel rather than attracting them to it. The kind of Christianity the world responds to is the authentic “love your neighbor” kind. Its appeal can’t be legislated through court battles and neither can courts stop its spread.
Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that we need to work through our government and legislators to limit immoral behavior like abortions, homosexual marriage, drug use, neglect of the oppressed, and the like. But as we engage the government, we need to engage our communities empowered by the Holy Spirit and moved by the needs we find around us. We need to work from the ground up and from the inside, out to change our country. We need to start with ourselves, yield ourselves to God and His use. Then we need to change our communities through engagement, evangelism and compassion. As our communities are won, our counties will follow, then our states, then our country!
As Winston Churchill said when England was embroiled in World War Two, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.” He went on to urge:
Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days–the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race (29 Oct 1941 at Harrow School).
Let me now borrow Churchill’s words: never give in, never, never, never, never! God is able to work in our country in greater ways than we can imagine. He is able to use us, as we are willing and allow Him, to change our communities into God-fearing communities! He is able to use this growing army of Christians, young and old, to continue the flow of salvation and compassion until one day, we will be able to tell our grandchildren, “yes, I do remember those days when it seemed all was lost; those days before the great revival swept our land!”