Last week in another part of the world I was afforded the amazing honor of spending time with a great number of teenagers, speaking to them on a number of topics including American government and its history, free market economics and the American political process. Though far from our shores I assure you they have been observing and understand to some degree what has been occurring this election year with more interest than I could have imagined. My remarks were followed by a robust time of Q & A where this group of teens reached out for an understanding regarding not only the upcoming Presidential election, but also an understanding of how the vast number of Christians in America are participating. It was that particular line of questioning that would long find itself etched in my memory. As I shared the following statistics with these bright young minds their faces became disillusioned and their eyes filled with astonishment. Here are those numbers… there are approximately 90 million Christians in America who consider their beliefs to be evangelical, however many of them are not even registered to vote or are disengaged from the political process. These young men and women who are growing up with more challenges than most of us will ever experience correctly observed that in our nation, a nation very blessed by God, I might add, is filled with many Americans who are enjoying the freedom to participate in the process of keeping America the great hope for freedom it can and should be in the world and yet, they are silent… and worse yet they apparently don’t seem to care. I will long remember their reaction… “But Pastor why?”
Matthias Burnett, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Norwalk, on May 12, 1803 said, “Consider well the important trust … which God … has put into your hands… . To God and posterity you are accountable for your rights and your rulers… . Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you… . Look well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust… . Think not that your interests will be safe in the hands of the weak and ignorant; or faithfully managed by the impious, the dissolute and the immoral. Think not that men who acknowledge not the providence of God nor regard His laws will be uncorrupt in office, firm in defense of the righteous cause against the oppressor, or resolutely oppose the torrent of iniquity… . Watch over your liberties and privileges – civil and religious – with a careful eye.” It was Ronald Reagan who said, “Our nation will prosper or decline in direct proportion to our selection of leaders who are guided by the Holy Spirit. If we fail to select Godly leaders our destiny will surely be as that of the Roman Empire.” And the minister John Witherspoon, who incidentally was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence wrote, “Those who wish well to the
State ought to choose to place or trust men of inward principle, justified by exemplary conversation. And the people in general ought to have regard to the moral character of those whom they invest with authority either in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches.”
“But Pastor why?” was the question. Problem was… I had no answer. I really didn’t know how to explain to these teenagers why a great number of Americans who could and should make a difference were not. How a nation so blessed by God with the freedoms they enjoy could forget where their richness and blessings come from. Scripture is full of admonitions calling Gods people to remember the source of their blessings. Deuteronomy records “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;” Founding Father Samuel Adams said, “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”
I have since wondered if God is not as astonished as those young lives in a foreign land as he looks intently as the land he has blessed perhaps more than any other on the face of earth. I wonder if he doesn’t ask why? The good news is that we can do something… we can and we must. We can vote, and we can vote biblically!