INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–According to Bureau of Transportation statistics, nearly 5 million commercial semi-trailer trucks are registered in the United States. But in a few days, one truck will stand out in the convoy of 18-wheelers on our nation’s highways — the iVoteValues.com Mobile Voter Registration Rig and Information Center.
While iVoteValues.com — an initiative to register voters and underscore the importance of voting one’s values — was launched with its website as the primary vehicle to carry the message, it now has a partner on wheels ready to cross the country.
The rig, which made its debut on the exhibit floor during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis, is decorated in a red, white and blue motif and packed with resources, including video screens and computers to aid voters in appreciating the importance of voting on Election Day and the necessity of considering biblical truths when entering the voting booth.
SBC President Jack Graham was the first to enter the iVoteValues.com truck the morning of June 14. He praised the initiative for calling Americans to engage in the “simple act of registering to vote” and for its focus on informing citizens of issues critical to the nation and its future. Graham is pastor of the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano.
The 77-foot semi-trailer is designed for visitors to have an interactive experience as they walk through it. The truck will be equipped with seven computer stations to allow guests to begin the voter registration process and to be introduced to the concept of values-based voting.
Graham said he looks forward to the iVoteValues.com truck traveling the “nation’s streets and highways” taking the message of “personal involvement and social responsibility” to voters across the nation. “I am hoping that Southern Baptists and millions of evangelical Christians will get on the truck and vote their values this November,” he said.
Long emphasized by SBC ethicist Richard Land, the principle of values-based voting calls for Americans to vote their values, not their political party or the candidate whose economic proposals stand to benefit them financially. Land is president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the group spearheading the iVoteValues.com campaign and which outfitted the mobile voter registration unit for the road.
Land noted it might appear a little unorthodox for the moral concerns and public policy entity of the Southern Baptist Convention to have a tractor-trailer, but he said the circumstances that brought the truck to the ERLC were not happenstance.
“The truck has had a storied life,” Land said, noting the semi previously carried equipment and merchandise for the Charlie Daniels Band as they toured the country. The truck’s owners, Sid and Jill Yochim, left the music business soon after they gave their lives to Jesus Christ in 1989. The truck subsequently was dormant while the Yochims looked forward to a day when God would have a need for it.
“We had several opportunities to sell the rig and we really could have used the money, but we hung onto it,” said the Yochims, members of First Baptist Church in Lebanon, Tenn. “We are glad we didn’t sell the truck because now the Lord is going to use it.”
While the ERLC is refurbishing the vehicle for the iVoteValues.com effort, the Yochims are only looking for the costs of driving the truck from stop to stop to be covered. Yochim said the truck already had traveled to every state in the union. “We played just about every coliseum, convention center, private party and beer joint you could imagine,” he said.
“Looking at the truck now, I realize I have done a 180 percent turn-around in every part of my life,” said Sid Yochim, who will be piloting the iVoteValues.com truck with his wife and two children on board for the tour.
“Instead of traveling all over the country going to honky-tonks and beer joints, we’re going to be traveling to churches, Christian concerts and other events with a message that calls Americans to reflect on their cherished right to participate in our democracy.”
The iVoteValues.com Mobile Voter Registration and Event Center will leave Indianapolis after the Southern Baptist Convention and head south to an event sponsored by the Georgia Baptist Convention in Atlanta. Other stops already scheduled for the truck are Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; and an iVoteValues.com conference at Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville. The truck also will travel to Sioux Falls and Rapid City, South Dakota; Orlando and Tampa, Fla.; Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C; and Baton Rouge and Shreveport, La. More events are yet to be scheduled.
In addition to Land, Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice and Jerry Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., will be headlining some of the stops.
(BP) photos and graphics of iVoteValues.com truck on BP photo archive.