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iVoteValues.com rig underscores ‘moral obligation’

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Although evangelicals are one of the most outspoken groups in the United States when it comes to moral issues, research indicates it’s not readily evident at the voting booth because, in large part, they are not there.

To help in the national push for evangelicals to vote on Nov. 2, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted the iVoteValues.com Mobile Voter Registration Event Center on the Wake Forest, N.C., campus Sept. 16.

The center is a 65-foot tractor-trailer loaded with digital capabilities including computerized voter registration assistance, plasma multimedia screens, kids’ games, all providing nonpartisan voter information on values-based voting. Developed by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the rig began touring the country on June 9 for rallies promoting voter registration and education.

According to a statistic on Focus on the Family’s website, of the 60 million evangelical Christians in America, three out of four failed to vote in the last national election.

Southeastern President Daniel Akin welcomed the rig’s arrival, underscoring the responsibility of Christians to fulfill their God-given duty to vote their biblical values.

“As Christians, it is our responsibility to be salt and light in this world,” Akin said. “One way we do that is to be involved in the political process, working to elect persons who promote righteousness and justice, mercy and compassion, truth and wisdom. Casting our ballot for these kinds of persons is our Christian duty and moral obligation. Anything less is to sin against both God and our fellow man.”

Leading Southern Baptist ethicist and Southeastern professor Daniel Heimbach echoed Akin’s sentiments.

“Christians need to understand that voting is a moral duty for which we are responsible to God,” Heimbach said. “I am afraid that Christians who ignore this responsibility are guilty of doing the same thing Jesus illustrated when He condemned the way the priest and Levite behaved in the story of the Good Samaritan. Christians are obligated to make a moral difference in this world, and it matters to God how we respond to opportunities He sends our way.”

The voter registration/information rig’s operators, Sid and Jill Yochim, along with their children Tucker and Sidney, spent the better part of the day answering students’ questions about the voting process and reminding them to vote their values.

“We’re trying to really educate about being salt and light and doing our duty as Christians,” Jill Yochim said. “Basically, we’re just encouraging people to be informed when they vote so that the candidate they vote for is somebody that lines up with their values.”

The Yochims have spent the last three and a half months crossing the United States, each day receiving more requests than they can fill from churches inviting them to educate their people about the voting process. Yochim said she is glad for the opportunities they have received and hopes the center’s impact will be seen at the polls in the upcoming election.

“Jesus asked us to be salt and light,” Yochim said, “and we can’t be salt and light if we’re not out there and being involved. We have to elect godly leaders. We just want to educate, and I think when you educate, people are better informed when they go out to vote. They vote with their consciences.”

It is the Yochims’ prayer that, come November, every Southern Baptist does just that.

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  • Kyle Smith