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ERLC election kit has tools to assist churches, pastors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Your car breaks down on the side of the road. No problem, you can fix it — but only if you have the proper tools and the knowledge to do the job.

Many Americans may find themselves in the same position — without proper tools and awareness — as they ponder how to make decisions in light of this year’s elections.

The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is helping provide churches the appropriate tools and information necessary to prepare for participating in the electoral process through its iVoteValues.com website and a new toolkit, which can be ordered on the website or by calling (800) 275-9127.

The toolkit contains a variety of resources, including a multimedia CD-ROM with links to the project’s website. The CD also provides printable information concerning the values-based voting initiative and ways to get involved personally.

The Voter Impact Toolkit includes the following items:

— Interactive CD-ROM

— Legal Dos and Don’ts for churches and pastors

— Sermon outlines with notes and bulletin inserts

— Voter resource guide manual

— Voter registration forms with an easel stand

— Voting your Values handouts

— Toolkit folder for organizing materials

— Poster

Information about the toolkit can be accessed by clicking on “resources” at the iVoteValues.com website.

In establishing this “grassroots voter mobilization and education effort,” ERLC President Richard Land hopes to inform citizens of the importance of registering to vote and voting based on their biblically based values.

“It is absolutely critical that we impress upon people the need to be registered, to be informed and to vote their values,” Land said. “We should never try to tell people how to vote, but we should tell them that they have an obligation and a responsibility to be informed and to be involved in the process.”

The iVoteValues.com Voter Impact Toolkit is the latest voter education and awareness resource to be launched. It joins the Mobile Voter Registration Rig and Information Center — an 18-wheeler that is currently touring the country — and the iVoteValues.com website.

The toolkit, which is designed for pastors and churches, is a package of “tools” designed to help increase voter awareness and voter registration.

“It is vital that every pastor has resources in hand to aid his congregation in understanding the importance of voting our biblically grounded values,” Land said. “The iVoteValues.com toolkit provides pastors and other church leaders the materials they will need in bringing this critical message to their church.”

Referring to Matthew 5:13-16, Land said the toolkit can help Christians “influence every part of our culture.”

“The components in this multimedia kit are designed to support the church staff in their role to bring Christians to an understanding of what it really means to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in our communities, in our states and in our nation,” Land said.

Statistics show the need for such awareness, he added.

“It is regrettable that upwards of a third of the membership of an average Southern Baptist church are not even registered to vote,” Land said. “It is every adult Christian’s responsibility to be registered to vote, to be an informed voter and to vote their values, beliefs and convictions.”

The ERLC is also developing a party platform handout that compares the positions of the two major political parties on a wide range of issues. The platform comparison was a popular resource in the 2000 election cycle; the supply was exhausted after three printings. The informational handouts are expected to be available in September for purchase from the ERLC.
Natalie Kaspar is an intern working in the ERLC offices this summer. She lives in College Station, Texas, and is a junior at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. Kaspar is studying mass communications/journalism and hopes to establish a career in Christian journalism.

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  • Natalie Kaspar