Vail Daily column: If Christians don’t vote, more Christians will be persecuted
Mike Huckabee said on his show recently that only about 40 million of the 80 million evangelical Christians in America are even registered to vote. Only about half of those actually vote in presidential elections and only half of them, about 10 million, vote in midterms like the important election coming up Tuesday. His numbers seem pretty accurate according to various sources, yet nearly 80 percent of Americans say they’re Christians.
As is often observed, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. If Christians don’t vote in this election and help turn this country back to our founders’ faith-based values, we can’t whine when the government steals more of our religious freedom like this:
• An administration and Department of Justice that sues a group of Catholic nuns called the Little Sisters of the Poor because they refuse to provide birth control and abortive drugs to employees. The Little Sisters were founded in 1839 and provide loving care to over 13,000 needy elderly in 31 countries, with 30 homes in the U.S. alone. They subsist entirely on donations; wouldn’t that money be better spent on the poor than on a government lawsuit forcing them to violate their religious beliefs?
• The lesbian mayor of Houston directing city lawyers to subpoena pastors’ sermons and their private communications with parishioners because they oppose a new “equal rights” city ordinance that would allow gender-confused men to enter women’s bathrooms and vice versa.
• Ordained ministers like Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, are at risk of being sued by the government and possibly face up to 180 days in jail or $1,000 in fines for each day they refuse to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.
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• The government threatening to court-martial soldiers who talk about their faith and military chaplains who pray “in the name of Jesus.” Court martial could mean that soldiers who share the gospel or even discuss their faith with their friends could face criminal punishment such as imprisonment or be dishonorably discharged.
• Fresh from their success in stifling liberty and Tea Party groups (where Christians predominate) prior to the 2012 election, the IRS and the militant atheist Freedom from Religion Foundation reached an agreement in July to monitor churches and other houses of worship for “electioneering.” This is a twofer for the renegade IRS and the atheists: a violation of First Amendment freedom of speech plus freedom of religion. But “political” issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, sanctity of life and even taxes are also biblical and religious issues. And should the IRS be telling us how to talk about these issues in our churches?
• Continued government persecution of Christians living their faith, like the Colorado cake baker prosecuted and fined for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a “gay” wedding and the couple who runs Elane Photography ordered to pay $6,637 in fees because they refused to photograph a same-sex ceremony with which their religious faith disagrees. In the photography case, New Mexico Supreme Court justice Richard C. Bosson claimed that requiring the couple to relinquish their religious convictions was “the price of citizenship.”
• Schools that cave to threats of expensive lawsuits from atheist groups and are intimidated into telling students not to mention God or Jesus in graduation speeches, banning Christian clubs from meeting after class, forbidding prayer before football games and other activities, and scrubbing every mention of the baby in the manger from “Winter Solstice” events.
If Christians voted in greater numbers for principled Christian leaders, from school board to senator, these abuses of our religious liberty would cease. Here’s what George Washington had to say about it: “I earnestly pray that the Omnipotent Being, who has not deserted the cause of America in the hour of its extremist hazard, will never yield so fair a heritage of freedom a prey to ‘anarchy’ or ‘despotism.’”
Washington and the founders had had enough of despotism; it’s the reason they revolted against England. From the beginning, ours is the only nation in the world ever to declare in its founding documents that the fundamental rights of man come from God, not government or any king.
Anyone who doubts America’s foundation as a Christian nation has only to read the Declaration of Independence, written by Jefferson who liberals actually claim as an nonbeliever. The Declaration calls upon the deity three times and at the end declares upon “a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,” another word used for God at the time.
I wonder if some Christians have a “conscientious objection” to voting because they see Jesus as more involved in the next world than this one. But Jesus said he came into the world to change it, and that required some aggressive worldly action such as taking a whip to the corruption of the money lenders in the temple. Jesus was a very political guy — he boldly confronted the “government” of his time, the Jewish religious leaders of the Sanhedrin ruling council. He engaged in civil disobedience and strongly criticized these rulers for ignoring the people and caring only about their self-interest. If he could have voted, he would have voted to throw the Sanhedrin out.
Many Christians may think there’s no need to vote because the Lord is coming soon through the clouds to sweep us out of here and into his holy presence. But Christians have believed that ever since Jesus departed through those same clouds, over 2,000 years ago. Christ himself told us that “nobody knows the day or hours,” but the guessing game continues.
Other Christians believe that since “God is control” we should stand passively by and let God work things out. But if the Christian founders of this nation would have believed that misinterpretation of scripture, they would never have revolted against England, the mightiest power of their time.
They did it in order to establish a new nation, one that would give its citizens unique privileges: freedom of religious belief, freedom of thought, freedom to worship and freedom to speak out against rulers’ oppression. All of these are under fire today. Keeping those freedoms means being “the light of the world” as Jesus instructed his believers; it means voting Tuesday.
Joy Overbeck is a Colorado journalist and author published in The Washington Times, Townhall, The Daily Caller, American Thinker, Breakpoint.org, mycoloradoview.com and elsewhere.