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iVoteValues.com rally points toward ‘most crucial election’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–“This is probably the most crucial election we have faced in our lifetimes,” said James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources.

“The issues have never been more clear; the dangers have never been more imminent,” Draper continued in hosting an iVoteValues.com rally to introduce LifeWay employees to the groundbreaking voter awareness and voter registration effort developed by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“It is going to be extremely significant that we are informed, ready and participating in the process this year,” Draper continued, saying the iVoteValues.com initiative provided a “very needed emphasis on voter registration and education.”

The iVoteValues.com initiative will help make sure every American is registered to vote and that every American understands they have an obligation to participate in the political process and vote their values, Richard Land told the April 30 rally. Land, president of the ERLC, said the effort’s website, www.ivotevalues.com, is at the heart of the initiative in which Americans are being encouraged to vote their values, “not their pocketbook or their party.”

“Jesus is calling us as born-again Christians to go out into society as a moral disinfectant and to be a preservative against decay and destruction,” Land said, citing Jesus’ instruction to His followers in Matthew 5.

“We want to make sure all Americans are registered to vote and that they understand they have an obligation to participate in the process,” he said, noting that the initiative will include a tour of cities across the United States featuring a specially outfitted tractor-trailer that will allow individuals to begin the voter registration process and to gain a better understanding of the need for Americans to vote their values.

“If we withdraw from society and we keep our salt stored away, it doesn’t do any good,” Land told the rally. “In order for salt to do its job, it has to come into contact with that which it is supposed to purify.”

Land said he dreams of an “America in which every American is registered to vote, every American is informed about how they are going to vote and every American votes their values, their beliefs and their convictions.”

The thought that Christians should stay away from public policy issues because the involvement might be controversial is “just plain wrong,” Land said. “The Gospel by its essence and nature is controversial because it offends fallen flesh.

“The light dispels the darkness. The [SBC’s doctrinal statement] Baptist Faith and Message says that every Christian has an obligation to seek to bring society under the sway of the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.

“Our loyalty doesn’t belong to our family, to any region of the country or anything as superficial as a political party,” Land said. “Our loyalty belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ.

“I do not believe the church should be endorsing candidates, but I do believe we should be looking for candidates who endorse us and who endorse our values and our convictions,” Land said.

The iVoteValues.com website will offer voters a side-by-side comparison of the major presidential candidates’ values, gleaned from the candidates’ political party platforms, along with aids to help church leaders discern what type of political activity is and isn’t legal for a church according to the Internal Revenue Service. The initiative calls on churches to mark Sunday, July 4, and Sunday, Sept. 26, as “National Voter Registration Days.”

What happens if the populace elects candidates whose positions don’t square with the Bible? Land said in that case, “We need to do a better job of explaining why they need to change their mind, change their perspective and change their values.” As believers, Christians are to be transformed by the renewing of their mind, rejecting the world’s way, he explained.

In launching the initiative to register and educate voters, Land said the goal of the “grassroots voter mobilization and education effort” is to register 2 million previously unregistered but eligible Americans for the 2004 election cycle. The effort also emphasizes an awareness of the immediate and long-term importance of “values-based voting.”

How to determine which values are most important? Land said voters need to make a hierarchy. He said he would vote for a candidate who promised to raise taxes but was committed to saving the unborn over a candidate who said he was going to lower taxes but was ambivalent about abortion.

Land went so far as to call those voters who in effect sell their vote to the highest bidder, “political prostitutes,” because they look for candidates who will benefit their bank balances over those whose primary goal is to honor God. A review of a person’s checkbook and appointment book will reveal much about their real values, he said.

A high level of civic participation by America citizens will best serve the nation, Land said. “We are either going to reassert the Judeo-Christian values upon which this nation was based or we are going to have a new established set of values which will be hostile to Judeo-Christian values,” he said.

“That is a decision that shouldn’t be made by the courts or a government elected by a minority of the people. It should be a decision made by the American people. I am willing to trust it to them if they are informed, are registered and if the vote their values,” Land concluded.

“We should take seriously the privilege we have in the U.S. -– to be informed and take action. The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; He brings it where he wills,” Draper prayed at the rally’s close, quoting from Proverbs 21:1.
For more information on iVoteValues.com, visit www.ivotevalues.com or phone 1-800-475-9127. (BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: READY FOR THE ROAD and CALLING ALL VOTERS.

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  • Dwayne Hastings