In the coming Presidential election, crucial issues are at stake both at home and abroad. While much of the focus has been on the war in Iraq, domestic concerns related to faith, including abortion, stem cell research, and gay marriage, have become hot topics of debate. In response to this, leaders of the Christian community are amplifying their efforts to ensure that conservative Christians assert their voice at the polls on November 2.
In the 2000 elections, a large proportion of the conservative Christian community failed to vote, resulting in about 4 million fewer voters than expected from what is an important and powerful part of the electorate. This year, many groups are working to reach out to voters, through rallies, online voter registration sites, and distribution of voter guides.
Alabama resident R. Randolph Brinson established his own version of MTV’s “Rock the Vote,” a program dedicated to mobilizing the young MTV generation. “Redeem the Vote” is a nonpartisan group dedicated to reach religious youths and encourage them to vote, through the support and publicity of 35 Christian rock performers.
Others have focused on voter registration: the Southern Baptist Convention has established a mobile registration center, taking to the streets in an 18-wheel tractor-trailer. In addition, the group has set up voter websites, including iVoteValues.com and iVoteValues.org.
The Washington-based Christian-Coalition of America was active in the 2000 elections and is working even harder this year. Bill Thompson, the Christian-Coalition National Field Director, commented, “We are not going to let Christians sit at home this year.”
A conference earlier this year trained 1,000 volunteers in voter registration and mobilization efforts. Many also plan to help transport people to the polls on election day, to ensure that everyone gets out to vote. The Christian-Coalition will also distribute voter guides, available in print and online. These guides include information on both candidates and their positions on many important issues. The Christian-Coalition has worked closely with the Internal Revenue Service to ensure that information is unbiased and factual, in accordance with regulations that religious groups may participate in voter registration efforts, as long as they do not endorse any one candidate.
Pastors throughout the states are doing their part, encouraging their church congregations to get out and vote. And groups are utilizing special events to further emphasize the message. Today, Reverend Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church in Seattle will lead the “Mayday for Marriage” rally, to organize Christians against same-six marriage and further mobilize religious constituents in these last two weeks before the vote.