By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
“Imagine the impact Christians could have on the election if we left the pews and went to the polls this November” — that’s the clear challenge of the NC Values Coalition web site, which reminds visitors that more than 280,000 Tar Heel believers sat out the 2008 election, the same year that the vote margin in our state for president was a mere 14,177 votes.
But far from simply chiding Christians for not taking part in the political process, the non-profit grassroots organization is working to empower them to have the largest impact ever, beginning with its Pledge to Vote campaign highlighted this weekend, as Oct. 7 has been deemed “Pledge to Vote Sunday.”
“We are saddened that many Christians in our communities do not take their voting responsibilities seriously,” said Tami Fitzgerald, NC Values Coalition chairwoman. “Just imagine the impact that believers could have on the character of our elected leaders, the direction of our government, and the moral climate of our nation if we simply applied biblical principles to every aspect of our lives including matters of law and public policy. If we did, America would be a different nation and a better one.”
She said the NCVC is spearheading a voter-registration, education and participation effort in churches across the state with a goal to register thousands of previously unregistered Christians and to “promote awareness of the immediate and long-term importance of values-based voting.”
As the effort gains steam this weekend, the Coalition is suggesting that church leaders tap into its downloadable toolkit and find the resources needed to set up a voter registration table in their church lobby including registration forms and Candidate Values Voter Guides. Pastors are also encouraged to establish a team of volunteers to man the table each Sunday until Nov. 6 as well as spread the word via phone calls and neighborhood canvassing.
Other suggestions from the Coalition include announcing Sunday from the pulpit the Oct. 12 voter registration deadline and issuing a reminder to all congregants on Nov. 4 to vote the following Tuesday.
Perhaps more importantly, the Coalition is asking pastors to take advantage of Pulpit Freedom Sunday, also Oct. 7, to preach a message describing the contrast between candidates on values issues and to preach another in the coming weeks on how Christians can live out their faith by voting their values.
Fitzgerald is also urging pastors to call their people to prayer.
“Have your congregation and prayer teams pray that Christians across our land would humble themselves, repent, and pray to God. Then pray that they will vote by November 6,” she said, adding that the decisions we all make this fall will have profound implications for America for years to come.
“Jesus instructed His followers to be ‘salt and light’ in their culture (Matt. 5:13-16) and to participate in government (Matt. 22:21),” Fitzgerald said. “Today we can carry out Jesus’ commands by registering to vote, voting according to His values, and praying for our nation.”
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said the goals of the NC Values Coalition wonderfully complement those of the Christian Action League, though each organization has its unique arena of influence.
“At the Christian Action League our focus is public policy, representing conservative evangelicals at the Legislature. The Coalition’s work during this political season is geared more toward getting out the vote and creating a favorable political climate for core values that we both share,” he said.
Among those family values are defending the unborn, protecting religious freedom, preserving marriage and parental choice in education.
Take Christian Action:
To find out more about the NC Values Coalition, log onto www.ncvalues.org. In addition to signing a pledge to go to the polls on Nov. 6, believers can click on a link to help them with registering to vote and can also instantly access the church toolkit, Values Voter Issues Guide and more. Pastors can access sample sermons, slide shows, bulletin inserts and a Bible study aid with the topic “How would Jesus vote?” Fitzgerald said the toolkit would also be updated as early voting schedules are finalized.
“Even though the deadline to register is Oct. 12, voters who show up to vote early can register and vote at the same time,” she said.
To find out more about Pulpit Freedom Sunday, log onto http://www.speakupmovement.org/church/LearnMore/details/4702