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SBC leaders: moral values were hopeful sign on election day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Many politicians and reporters hadn’t placed much emphasis on moral values in recent months, but they found reason to rethink their negligence once the nation’s Nov. 2 votes began rolling in.

“For the sake of the soul of our land, it was appropriate that moral values bubbled up … at the polls yesterday — and there was an incredible contrast in the choice voters had on that issue,” Robert E. (Bob) Reccord, president of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board, said in a Nov. 3 statement to Baptist Press.

“With easily the largest voter turnout in U.S. history,” Reccord added, “this election was a tremendous testament to the fact that in our nation every vote truly does count and that we should view it not only as a privilege but also a responsibility to participate.”

Among various Southern Baptist leaders who joined Reccord in issuing comments to Baptist Press were:

— Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee: “I am elated and grateful for the record number of Americans who took seriously their civic responsibility and voted in the national elections yesterday. By all accounts, as an issue, moral values topped even concerns about the economy and security, for those who voted. Importantly, the turnout by people of faith was a decisive factor in passing the 11 state initiatives to protect the definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”

Concerning the re-election of President Bush, Chapman said, “I look forward to four more years of leadership by a United States president who openly confesses his belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Chapman commended Richard Land, president of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, “for his remarkable leadership as a national voice for evangelicals on key ballot issues. I am convinced that his vision for the ivotevalues.com initiative, combined with his tireless effort to energize Christians to register and vote their spiritual values, made a strategic difference.”

— James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources: “The election is past. Americans have made their decision. Our duty now is to pray for President Bush and ‘… for all those who are in authority so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity’ (1 Timothy 2:2). The good news is that record numbers of Americans voted. It is clear that America, despite the massive attacks on biblical values, is still a nation of moral and spiritual conviction and commitment. I thank God that we have once again demonstrated the strength of our faith and depth of our patriotism.”

— Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas: “This election was not about candidates or political parties. It was a referendum on marriage and on runaway judicial activism. It says that the vast majority of the American people recognize the intrinsic value of the home for a stable society. They also recognize that judges who wish to deconstruct the Constitution of the United States have done enough harm, and we need to go back to those who are strict constructionists. The concern that I have coming out of the election is for the ‘blue states.’ They represent a kind of thinking which, if it cannot be reversed, would eventually reduce us to the effeminate indecisiveness of European nations such as France. I pray that we will be able to do something to help the people of those states understand the nature of the American republic.”

— Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif.: “I am delighted that marriage between one man and one woman was affirmed in every state it was contested in this election. I am particularly grateful for the hard work done by Northwest Baptists in Oregon to win on this issue. They were on the forefront in this effort and did a great job under very difficult circumstances.”

— Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.: “The 2004 election saw the moral concerns of America rise to the surface. The election of a pro-life/pro-marriage president, and the overwhelming support of marriage amendments from coast to coast, sent a clear signal across our great nation. Christians now should commit themselves to pray more fervently than ever for the elected leaders of America. We must pray that they will make wise and godly decisions, promote righteousness and justice, and lead our nation to do those things that please God. Proverbs 14:34 teaches us that ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.’ The 2004 election was a step in the right direction. However, we still have much to accomplish if ours is to be a nation that truly honors the true and living God.”

— Phil Roberts, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.: “The people of the United States have spoken. And they have chosen for their president a man who is self-confessedly born again, who prays daily, who reads his Bible systematically, who is unabashedly pro-life, supportive of free enterprise and a strong national defense, and who has taken a bold stance lawfully to wield the sword in order to defend and protect the people of the United States. This election, therefore, was a clear and resounding victory for moral values. It will likely appear clearer in the days ahead that the election was due largely to the fact that Christian people took seriously their responsibility as citizens to vote and express their convictions at the ballot box. The people’s choice bodes well for the future of the United States – simultaneously, however, God’s people need to be reminded that the greatest need for our nation is for heaven-sent, prayed-down revival. This election is a mercy from the Lord, but ‘showers of blessings’ we need if America is to experience the lasting spiritual change essential for thorough, moral spiritual awakening.”

— Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary: “The Kingdom of God is never affected by a presidential election, however the results of elections can make the work of the Kingdom more or less difficult. We rejoice in the election of President Bush and pray that it will lead to the further discussion and wider application of values we cherish. We also hope it will result in a growing openness of the world to religious liberty and the right of all people to hear the Gospel and respond in light of their conscience no matter what their family or ethnic origin might be.”

— R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.: “I think there’s no doubt that America spoke on values issues yesterday. You can look at an electoral map and you can see that the great heartland of America voted very clearly for the candidate that stood, as they understood it, for family, for the defense of the union of a man and a woman as the very definition of marriage — that stood for life against the wanton destruction of human embryos and a whole host of issues. We also had 11 states actually voting on amendments related to marriage. And so, just given the exit polling data and the layout of the electoral results, it’s clear that these moral issues were very much in the forefront of the nation’s conscience.

“These issues are at the very top because we are actually dealing with where we live,” Mohler said. “When we talk about an issue like marriage, we’re not talking about something abstract and even something as remote as economic, fiscal and tax policy. We’re talking about who marries whom. And that relates to every family. There’s a deep commitment to marriage. That’s one of the most reassuring aspects of yesterday’s vote. All across America, there is a deep reservoir of support for what marriage is, and I think we should be very thankful for that. …

“What happens when we have a great election day like yesterday is that you really find out where the nation is,” Mohler said. “And I think, on these issues, it’s clear that America is a more conservative country than a lot of people thought. That’s not due to any kind of organized political effort. It’s just a deep conviction. On other issues, I think there are many levels of debate. In this country, there’s a clear division, which really needs our attention, between persons who have very different worldviews on these issues. But I think, in the long run, we will look back at yesterday as an historic election when the American people spoke very clearly about what was most important to them.”

Reccord, in his comments to Baptist Press, also took note of the unseating of Democratic minority leader in the Senate, Tom Daschle, by Republican challenger John Thune.

“John Thune’s victory over Tom Daschle in South Dakota shows what happens when political leaders get out of step with their constituencies,” Reccord said. “Daschle was instrumental in blocking the Federal Marriage Amendment in the Senate while voters in 11 states across the nation voted last night in support of such measures. Daschle supported unrestricted abortion, while Thune stood strong for life. This should be a reminder and encouragement that on the most important issues of our time, biblical values can still win the day.”

Mohler, in in his Crosswalk.com weblog, took note of the vote in California to endorse $3 billion in bonds for embryonic stem cell research.

“So, citizens of the nation’s most populous state will now be involved in the systematic creation and destruction of human embryos, all in the name of medical science,” Mohler commented. “… For that state, November 2 is a day that will live in moral infamy.”