The importance of this election

DON EMMERT AFP/GETTY IMAGES Landon Peterson peeks out of the voting booth while his mother Meghan votes March 20, 2012 … Continued

DON EMMERT

AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Landon Peterson peeks out of the voting booth while his mother Meghan votes March 20, 2012 at Christian Union Church in Metamora, Illinois.

This year, I’ve had many people ask me if this is an important election—if the events of this November will truly make a difference in the history of our nation. “Should we even bother to vote?” they inquire. Disheartened by politics as usual and the seeming gridlock of Capitol Hill, people have become disillusioned by the legislative process and wonder if their votes really count at all.

But I believe that our votes do make a difference. In fact, I am convinced that every generation has a responsibility to safeguard the wonderful liberties we’ve been given, at every opportunity we are offered to do so. We cannot afford to be apathetic, because our democracy is always just one generation away from being lost. This is especially true because of the serious issues confronting our nation today. Terrible financial difficulties, increasing unemployment, and a rise in the number of broken families tear at the very fabric of our society. If we fail to consider how it all impacts the generations that come after us, the consequences will be devastating.

I confess I often think about the path America is on and how it will affect my grandchildren. What will this nation be like when they have their children? Will they have the same opportunities you and I had? Will they experience the same liberty to serve God and raise their families with the values they hold dear?

Perhaps what troubles me most, of course, is how we are losing our reverence for the Lord. Where there is no healthy awe of God, there is usually a loss of respect for all authority and a failure to follow godly principles—such as wise stewardship of resources and the preservation of each person’s dignity and right to live. In other words, we forfeit the very foundation that made this country great in the first place.

Of course, no one man or woman is at fault for all the problems of the nation, and no one man or woman can solve all the troubles our country is facing either. But as citizens, we can make a difference in its direction and we must take responsibility for its future. After all, the leaders we elect reflect our values and who we are—therefore, we must act wisely.

This is why Proverbs 11:11 teaches us, “The good influence of godly citizens causes a city to prosper” (TLB). When Christians influence those around them to seek God and inspire others to live by godly values, the entire nation is blessed. This is why I am so committed to asking believers to pray, stand up, and be a light to those around them. Because I believe that when they do, the whole country will benefit.

So ask yourself: Who are the men and women running for public office who faithfully represent the values you stand for? Who votes for laws that uphold the dignity of human life and godly stewardship principles you believe in? Consider your candidates carefully and allow God to guide your decision.

Because you and I have a choice and we can make a difference. We can vote; influence those around us; teach others about the salvation, justice, and loving-kindness of the Lord; and restore the godly foundations of our nation. But if we forfeit our right to vote we will only be contributing to the further erosion of our freedoms as citizens of the United States.

Winston Churchill reminds us of the consequences of giving up our privileges so easily in “The Gathering Storm.” He writes, “If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

So if you ask me: “Will this be an important election? Should I vote?” I will unequivocally say, “Absolutely.” Because to give up our rights to speak into the direction of the nation may one day result in a country where we have no voice or vote. And I’m sure you would agree, my friend—that would be far worse than any challenge we face now.

Charles Stanley is senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta, founder and president of In Touch Ministries, and a New York Times bestselling author who has written more than 50 books, including his newest release, “The Ultimate Conversation: Talking with God Through Prayer.”

  • It wasn’t me

    When you pretend Christians start practicing what Bible preaches then you will get President worthy of your ideas.

    Your example of that racist Churchill and his book proves my point

    let me end once again with this.

    I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
    Mahatma Gandhi

  • dlafave

    While religious believers often believe that “healthy awe of God” is necessary for proper functioning of a society, the evidence suggests the exact opposite. In fact, when we look at measures of social disfunction such as rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, unemployment, and poverty, more religious nations shows greater social disfunction than less religious ones. The same is true in the United States. Religious Mississippi scores much higher on measures of social disfunction than irreligious Vermont.

  • nickthap

    Not an insightful column in the slightest.

  • job22

    @ complete— hense your name

  • way_over_here_nm

    “let him without sin, cast the first stone..”

  • CATTYG1

    We are looking at a lost gereration. God has been taken out of the schools and they are brainwashed in government schools. Where is the patriotism taught in past gererations? It is ashame that the first black president has set his mind to destroy America. Socialism takes away freedoms. Wake up or we will live under government rule.

  • Maggie501

    On what scale? I love it when people write official-sounding gibberish that they back up with absolutely nothing. Whose studies are you quoting? How about some references?

  • MASR53

    A wise man speaks.
    Will Americans listen?
    I hope and pray they will.

  • Caldw010

    “The first black president has set his mind to destroy America”-Very strong words and allegations. I attend First Baptist Atlanta, and as a Christian I would never assume those things about any president being I do not know his heart. We should all vote and voice our concerns in a Christian manner. Christ never cast stones… and as Christian neither should we. There are so many ways, including voting to make a difference in the world but it starts within… <3

  • CWard

    I would tend to think that the vast economic differences between the two states weighs in there somewhere…more so than religious differences. There are many, many churches in VT too.

  • SODDI

    Your vote doesn’t count because the Electoral College elects the President, not the popular vote.

    And the Electoral College is a rigged game.

  • HPW3506

    I wish more pastors would be bold about this and tell their listeners to research the candidates. Those who care about this country and its future should look at the voting record of the candidates, candidates real experiences, their peer groups (reflects on who people really are), and what the candidate believes. Sadly, today many people are not expending the effort to do research and are dumb in listening to a TV or media person tell them an opinion of facts. The media by design is not meant for conveying true facts. People should research voting records on public accessible websites.

    Everyone wins when elected officials, stand for and vote for the right to life for all. Then we will have elected officials who respect individual’s rights, citizens to pursue their own dreams, build their own businesses, keep more of the money they have made, and give more to charity. Then the country will prosper and everyone will win.

  • CATTYG1

    I also attend FBA. Socilaism does destroy our liberties. It is evident, through his own words, that his agenda is socialism. He has also said he supports a woman’s right to an abortion. I agree there many ways to make a difference. Prayer and discernment top my list. I love Dr. Stanley and believe him to be a very wise man of God.

  • jamesw60

    This is not a religious nation…we took the Bible and any reference of God out of the public schools… what did we get in return? This arrogance allowed evil to turn our schools upside down with epidemic violence. Our children are fighting for their very right to exist! We sacrifice our “poor helpless innocent unborn and born alive children” on the altar of a “women’s right choose” to the “god of selfishness.” Over 56,000,000,000 poor innocent children who’s blood cries out unto God from the ground. This is a heathen nation! In danger of futher judgment from God. Read Psalms 106.

  • edismae

    Unemployment is going down, preacher man.
    Get your facts straight.

    I am sick unto death of you people wanting government to let your business friends run amok through the countryside, killing and maiming with no regulation, but you want the government to regulate how people live their personal lives.

  • Heart4God

    Thank you, Dr. Stanley, for your wisdom and boldness. You have been my hero for years and your teaching of the word has brought me so much peace through the loss of my career and the heartache of all that goes with such a life changing experience. I will be voting this November for the best and only right choice.

  • Kitchenkats

    If you knew anything about our Christ the son of GOD, that you like, then you would realize why his life was ended on the Cross. Answer: Because he loves you and us Christians who he knew are not and never will be sinless or perfect

  • allenm

    “Conservs” can’t see beyond their own lives…

  • allenm

    Mr. “Jameswy60″–We are officially a “secular” nation, and better for it. You want a “religious” nation, go to Iran and see how you like that. Though I may not approve of those who had “religion” taken out of schools, the cat is out of the bag, and will not, and cannot be returned. We are a nation of “various” beliefs–some believe in God differently, some don’t believe in God. That is their choice in this nation.
    As for “religion” in schools, actually, it has never been completely “removed”. What was done was that those who are employed by a public school cannot teach or preach their personal beliefs during regular school hours. In Georgia, we have a “moment of silence” at the beginning of the day. If you (student or staff) want to pray during that moment by yourself, you are welcome to do so. Also, religious organizations for students are allowed to meet on campus outside of regular school hours (in a high school in my area, that would be before 8:25 or after 3:30). In fact, a teacher is allowed to have materials related to their belief/worship “behind” their desks–it just cannot be in plain sight of the students’ desks. So to say that we “took the Bible and any reference of God out of the public school” is factually incorrect. Also, you “number” has too many zeros (56 billion? the world population is only 7 billion!). I would rather serve God (as I do) out of my own choice and desire rather than it being dictated by my government, as you seem to endorse. It is the individuals and the churches job to preach the gospel, not the government. If you want scripture, then what Jesus said about “rendering unto Caeser what is Caeser’s…” could also apply.

  • coreypaul

    GLAD THEY GET SO MANY TAX RIGHT OFFS THEY BELIEVE THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW

  • savedandsanctified

    Is this the pastor who questioned the birth certificate of the President from his pulpit?

  • LAntoW

    The President has made questionable decisions about abortiom & other immoral christian topics. But the way I see it is that he is a good man that is trying to make this country a TRUE DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY. A country that helps those in need of assitance (those who live in poverty, & those who need health care but were denied). The way this countries has stood for in the past. On abortion I don’t believe that our President supports abortion but he is allowing every person to make their own decision, which is an honorable decision just as our Lord gives us a choice to choose Him or our enemy. I don’t beleive in abortion & it causes me to cringe when I see people supporting it but as my mother says ‘it’s better to allow abortion to be legalized than for a young lady to go to a butcher shop and the results of her decision is between her & her maker’. Just as Dr Stanley says ‘Do what God says & leave the consequences up to Him. And God believes in giving everyone a free choice in choosing Him or not, following His commands or not, accepting His Son as our Lord and Savior or not. The President is allowing this country to be a free country & leaving our choices up to us. Enough said. LAW

  • HPP..HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY

    Print all the comments please not just select nes

  • HPP..HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY

    My last two comments were deleted..hopefully this one will be able to stand. Would be nice to have truly unbiased, and all factual comments….to allow independents to better decide on a candidate.

  • Judge Hal Moroz

    Thank you for your thoughtful article, Dr. Stanley! Especially for your timely reminder about how precious our privilege to vote for our national leadership is!

    Perhaps not since the 1980 presidential election has the choice of our national standard-bearer been more stark.

    We have, on one hand, a president with a lengthy record of broken promises and ominous firsts, such as, the first president to amast an annual budget deficit in excess of $1 trillion for each year of his regime, first president to declare “we are no longer a Christian nation,” first president to champion and pass a revolutionary piece of legislation (“Obamacare”) without a single bi-partisan vote, and first president whose party actually endorsed removing “God” from its platform. Ominous indeed!

    His opponent, a successful Republican businessman, is uniquely suited to correct America’s perilous economic downturn by returning confidence to our private business community and restoring a bi-partisan agenda to our legislative branch, as he did as the Republican chief executive of a democrat-controlled legislature in Massachusetts.

    However, the greatest impact of a Romney presidency is the prospect of returning a genuine sense of integrity and national pride to the fabric of America’s political discourse, especially in the wake of the Obama Administration’s latest scandal, that being, the incredibly poor handling of the sacking of American embassies in the volitile Middle East region and the death of a U.S. abassador at the hands of radical muslims.

    Without a doubt, this election is important! Thank you, again, Dr. Stanley, for reminding us!

  • alltheroadrunnin

    The record of human societies shows that the “strongman” was in charge, and made the rules. It did not work to benefit many in those societies, so humans eventually came up with the idea that something stronger than any human should be the ruler. That works a little better, after some long time trials. Humans are an unruly bunch, pay your money and make your choice. Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot ruled, using Reason only. America has been ruled by those who told us what a Judeo-Christian God wanted. If one can live by that, it’s not so bad — at least, not as bad as life (and death) under the aforementioned, Reason-minded strongmen.

  • Kevin Cahill

    Wonderful perspective on the principles that made our country great in the first place, and which can return our country to an appropriate status among all nations… a biblical perspective, a godly perspective.

  • TrueAmerica

    Last Sunday…Dr. Charles Stanley said before his congregation First Baptist Atlanta that we have one candidate that is a Mormon and one candidate that is a muslin. I will NEVER support racism under any circumstances.

  • TrueAmerica

    Last Sunday…Dr. Charles Stanley said before his congregation “First Baptist Atlanta” that we have one candidate that is a Mormon … and one candidate that is a Muslim. Completely not true. I will NEVER support racism under any circumstances.

  • Viet Nam Vet

    It was the same biblical presprective that kept millions in slavery……and the same nation of principle that never spoke up for Dr. King biblical..until he was dead.

  • Viet Nam Vet

    I wish pastors would do more research as well. Dr. Stanly stated in his sermon on Sunday, one candidates was a mormon and the other a Muslim. Where did he get hid facts from? Just by making this statement is telling Americans who to vote for. White or Black.

  • Viet Nam Vet

    Sin is Sin in any nation, and God is the judge.

  • bravenav

    Not True. What was said–by the assistant pastor-was that we have one candidate who is Mormon, and the other who says he is a Christian, but supports policies which are odds with Evangelical Christian beliefs.

  • bravenav

    -at odds

  • TSmith

    I was at the 11 am service and Dr. Stanley never mention either one being a Muslim or a Mormon.

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