Here is a letter I received today from my friend and Network Leader Les Welk. These are great thoughts on our upcoming election and the electoral process for us as Christians in America.
Dear NW Network Minister,
At the height of the election season, with a presidential choice looming in America, I am sometimes asked what I think about the engagement of Christ followers in the political process. Personally I hold the conviction that personal engagement in the political process is part of my responsibility as both an American citizen and as a Christ follower. I hope you will take time to read and digest this communication in its entirety.
First of all, hear me out in the broadest terms. I am a firm believer in “God and country.” I wish God was at the heart of every nation. However, I must never equate “God with country.” My friend Don Detrick recently saw a billboard that read, “Come worship God and country with us.” This is not only confusing to people, it is not Biblical. Love and cherish America, but love and cherish Jesus more. Be a proud American, but prouder that you are a child and friend of God. As one redeemed by Christ, he has given us a new eternal citizenship that supersedes any earthly citizenship we might hold. We are citizens of God’s Kingdom, the one that He has established in the hearts of men now, as well as the Kingdom of Heaven that is yet to come. God’s mission is to establish His Kingdom in the hearts of men through Christ Jesus, and that mission must never be confused with any other agenda, political or otherwise.
With those thoughts in mind, it seems unthinkable to me as an American citizen that I would bypass the personal right to express my opinion at the ballot box. For Washington residents, with the vote-by-mail ballot we are currently afforded, it is sublimely simple. Think about it, we don’t even have to leave the comfort and privacy of our own homes to exercise a privilege that men and women have given their very lives to establish and preserve! To forego the right to cast a ballot in an election is like a free person saying, “No, I’ve thought about it and I’ve concluded that I’d rather be bound up in chains and thrown in a dungeon.” Every American who qualifies to vote should register and cast a ballot as a minimal engagement in the political process.
As a Christ-following American I feel a personal responsibility to vote my values and convictions. This means that I must invest some time studying candidates and issues in order to vote intelligently, and in alignment with what I believe. It is interesting that only 50% of Evangelical Christians in America are registered to vote, and in the last presidential election only 55% of those registered bothered to cast a ballot. You know the cultural realities of your community the best, and so you are in the best place to determine the best ways to address this challenge. In any case, we can encourage those with whom we have leadership influence to not only vote, but to do so prayerfully and as an informed voter. Then, we should model that by way of example. There are some fine fellow believers who are running for office in Washington and Idaho this fall who deserve our elective consideration.
Finally, we should particularly heed the Scripture’s call to pray for our nation and the upcoming elections. Ultimately God raises-up and takes down leaders (Psalm 75:5-7), and turning our hearts to him during these important days is a key to the spiritual health of our nation. We will never go wrong by humbling ourselves before God and calling upon Him to heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14). Take some time to pray for America, the elections, and the determination of critical issues that are at stake on November 6, 2012; exercise your right to vote; and encourage others to do the same.
Respectfully and Prayerfully Yours,