FRC Blog

Christian Voting Myth #2: “God Is in Charge Anyway So It Doesn’t Matter if I Vote”

by Joseph Backholm

October 8, 2020

This is part 2 of a 4-part series debunking four common myths Christians use to not vote. Read myth #1: “One Vote Doesn’t Make a Difference”myth #3: “I Don’t Like Either Candidate, So What’s the Point?” and myth #4: “I’m Not in the Majority Where I Live, So Why Bother?”

Anyone who has spent 15 minutes around a church during election season has heard someone say some version of the following: “Don’t worry about the election. It doesn’t really matter what happens because God is always in charge anyways.”

It’s true, of course, that God is always in charge. Neither human frailty nor human stupidity threaten God’s plan for the world. He will accomplish His plan despite us. But it isn’t logical to conclude that because God is sovereign, we don’t have to care about what happens in government. Here’s why. 

The freedom we enjoy in America is unusual. Even if you’re not a political activist, you’re probably thankful that life in the United States is different than life in places like Venezuela or North Korea. It’s not just different, it’s better. We can own property, say stupid things online about our government without fear of the police arresting us for it, and even help determine who our government is.  

These freedoms are so normal for Americans that we tend to take them for granted, but they were unimaginable for generations past. Billions of people have lived and died under a monarchy, oligarchy, or some form of dictatorship. That’s not only true of the past, it’s true of the present. Most people alive in the world right now are not free in the way Americans understand freedom.  

Those of us who have freedom and prosperity probably didn’t do anything to earn it. We inherited it. We’re political trust fund babies. Though we didn’t do anything to get it, we are responsible for what we do with it. To whom much is given, much is required. That’s why indifference isn’t an option. The American form of government is a gift, and we owe it to those who gave us that gift to treat it with appropriate respect and appreciation. One way we do that is by taking care of it.

A republican form of government, like everything in our lives, requires constant maintenance. If you decide to never mow your lawn again, never replace the breaks on your car, or never fix the leak in your roof, God will still be in charge and He will still accomplish His purpose. Nothing about neglecting adult responsibilities threatens God’s sovereignty. But we don’t decline to fix our roof because God is sovereign, nor is God’s sovereignty the reason we would fix it. We fix the roof as an act of stewardship for the good gift of a house that God has given us and as an act of service to the people in our family who live in the house. So it is with governments.

Educating ourselves, voting, and running for office are forms of civic maintenance. They feel like chores because in a real sense, they are chores. They’re civic chores and they’re a privilege. We shouldn’t complain about our civic duties any more than we should complain about the maintenance costs on our private fleet of jets. Some problems aren’t problems, they’re blessings. It is a privilege to be able to query which candidate is most tolerable. At least we get to have an opinion. Doing the work necessary to keep the luxury items God has given us in good condition does not show a lack of trust in God’s sovereignty, it shows good stewardship of what He has given to us and kindness to our neighbors.

After all, well maintained governments make life better for everyone. Ideas are not neutral. All ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims. When we allow bad ideas to take root in government, people get hurt. Engagement in our government is not just a way to fulfill a civic duty, it’s a chance to make life tangibly better for other people. Babies who would otherwise die get to live. People who would otherwise be punished for speaking the truth get to speak. Businesses that would otherwise be shut down can flourish. Parents who would otherwise lose the right to direct the upbringing of their children get to have the final say. Communities that would otherwise be unsafe are able to thrive. Justice exists where it didn’t before. Some political choices are purely a matter of opinion—chocolate or vanilla? But sometimes they’re a matter of life and death.

It’s true that God is in charge and we can trust Him, even when things are hard. It is also comforting to know that God will restore all things in His time, even if something bad happens. But that’s no excuse for indifference. God has placed us on earth to be His hands and feet in a broken world. Our efforts to make the world better by living out our beliefs are not a sign of misplaced trust but a recognition of who He made us to be.

Read myth #3: “I Don’t Like Either Candidate, So What’s the Point?”

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What Does it Mean to be Both a Christian Citizen and a Patriot?

by Molly Carman

October 7, 2020

Most people are citizens of someplace, either by birth or by choice, and with citizenship comes certain responsibilities. But what does it mean to be a good citizen? And how should Christians balance their primary allegiance to the kingdom of heaven with their earthly obligations to their communities and countries? This six-part blog series, produced under the direction of David Closson, FRC’s Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview, aims to explore how Christians can best steward these responsibilities from a biblical worldview. Learn more at FRC.org/worldview.

This is part 5. Read part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

Patriotism is defined as devotion and support for one’s nation or homeland. This national loyalty can result from a variety of factors, such as a person’s ethnic, cultural, political, or historical background. While a love of country can be a positive trait, we must remember that Christians are ultimately citizens of heaven; our earthly nations are not eternal. Therefore, we must recognize the line between appropriate, God-honoring patriotism of our earthly nations and idolatry.

Both extreme Christian perspectives on citizenship, previously discussed in this series, have distinct attitudes on patriotism.

According to the first, which views loyalty to the state as a primary good, patriotism is vital to good citizenship because it strengthens national unity and encourages a positive form of nationalism. Therefore, according to this view, anyone who is not patriotic is not a good citizen.

The second extreme perspective views the integration of religion and political power as the ideal government and sees patriotism as only good if (and only if) the state is guided by Christians. Those who hold to this view see patriotism for a secular or pluralist country as not good.

The first extreme is correct that patriotism strengthens national unity. The second extreme is also correct that we should support Christian leaders, values, and ideals. However, as we have discussed previously, the basic premises these two perspectives are founded upon are flawed. Both regard earthly kingdoms more highly than they ought. We must remember that we are still living with the consequences of sin in a fallen world; no earthly nation is perfect or can save us. Nations are temporal, and we must be careful not to put our ultimate hope in our governing authorities.

We must be careful that our patriotism does not become overzealous and slide into a type of nationalism that willfully defends one’s country even when it is in the wrong. Extreme nationalism can also lead to more insidious beliefs, such as thinking one’s countrymen are genetically superior to all others. This perspective led numerous countries throughout history to seek the eradication of different people groups in an effort to “purify” their race or country. This happened within the past century in Turkey with the Armenian genocide and in Germany with the Holocaust. It is happening today with the Uyghurs in China.

Christians must keep two things in mind in regard to patriotism.

First, we are ambassadors of Christ before we are ambassadors of any other country. Christians have a duty to represent Christ and the kingdom of heaven while on earth. As Paul reminded the church in Corinth, “In Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors of Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20). Everywhere Christians go on earth, we represent the kingdom of God.

Second, we are called to be involved in our countries and communities. It might seem godly to completely reject earthly patriotism and only show affection and loyalty to the kingdom of heaven. But as we discussed in the part 3 of this series, we ought to seek the welfare of the place where God has situated us and pray on its behalf. Love of neighbor should stir up godly affection for one’s country that seeks its good rather than idolizing it. We are Christians before we are Americans, but that does not mean it is wrong to be proud of being American.

By engaging politically, contributing to the economy, upholding justice, raising a new generation that fears God, and appointing leaders who will uphold godly values and virtues, we represent Christ and promote the kingdom of heaven by being involved in our nation. As we go to the polls to vote this fall, may we vote for a patriot that does not place their ultimate hope in our nation, but loves our nation enough to defend its God-given constitutional freedoms.

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Northeast Syria: A Rare Bloom of Religious Freedom in the Middle East

by Kelsey Bohlender

October 6, 2020

A fragile flower has bloomed in the Middle East. It’s a rare specimen, requiring significant help to ensure the roots go deep and the plant survives. Miraculously, religious freedom has found fertile ground in a nation torn by war on a narrow strip of land between two enemies. The time to protect this tender shoot is now, before it falls victim to the prevailing winds so common in the region. The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) has been a bastion of democratic success in the midst of chaos. It has proven a safe haven for Kurds, Yazidis, and Christians alike. Additionally, it has championed gender equality in a way rarely seen in the region.

Survival in this territory is a challenge. The World Food Program claims famine is on the horizon in Syria, as the very basics of life remain difficult to access because of sanctions, economic crisis, and regional turmoil. Citizens in AANES face forced removal from their homes, the destruction of sacred sites, and even the bombing of civilian areas. AANES needs assistance from the outside in order to stimulate democratic progress and keep people alive.

Although the AANES region remains a part of Syria, it should not be understood as synonymous with the Assad regime. With its own constitution upholding freedom of religious belief and expression, the protection of property rights, and social equality, the pop-up provincial democracy of the AANES remains the best soil in the region for religious freedom to flourish. Kurds, Arabs, Yazidis, and Christians have lived in affinity with representative government since 2013. The flag of religious liberty has been firmly planted in the AANES, where Christians can worship, spread the gospel, and even build churches. Other religious minorities enjoy the same liberties. Supporting the AANES is one of the best ways the U.S. can safeguard and nurture the seed of religious freedom in the Middle East. 

The United States’ actions in Syria matter. The Syrian Defense Force (SDF), the military arm of the AANES, allied with a U.S.-led collation to drive out ISIS in 2014, winning a victory for democracy and religious liberty. With the radical Islamic threat eliminated, democratic development prospered in the AANES. In 2018, Turkey and its Islamic-extremist allies began to plan their attack on the vulnerable AANES once again. An October 2019 call from Turkey’s President Erdogan to President Trump all but divulged Turkey’s intentions to engage militarily in the AANES. When President Trump agreed to pull troops from Syria, Erdogan moved in. Turkish troops invaded, raided, and plundered, leaving a swath of destruction and suffering in their wake. Christians, Yazidis, and Kurds were forced from their homes, their villages looted, women kidnapped into sex slavery, and citizens killed. Turkey has been accused of war crimes in the AANES, resulting in a massive humanitarian crisis.

Now, Northeast Syria is left to rebuild in the wake of this destruction. This region needs the opportunity to develop its economy, and that requires the U.S. taking one small step at no cost to itself. In a June hearing of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Commissioner Nadine Maenza recommended “an expansion of U.S. engagement with and assistance to the AANES, including lifting sanctions for only AANES-governed areas.” Maenza asserted, “It is also important that the new Caesar Act sanctions, passed by Congress to penalize the Assad Regime, are implemented in a way that does not negatively impact the AANES.”

U.S. sanctions against Syria should be lifted from the AANES for the sake of continued development, religious freedom, and the lives of vulnerable Kurds, Yazidis, and Christians in the area. The tender shoot of democratic development and religious liberty must be cultivated, and lifting the sanctions on the AANES is the best way to start. 

Kelsey Bohlender is an intern focusing on international religious freedom with the Center for Religious Liberty in FRC’s Policy & Government Affairs Department.

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Christian Voting Myth #1: “One Vote Doesn’t Make a Difference”

by Joseph Backholm

October 6, 2020

This is part 1 of a 4-part series debunking four common myths Christians use to not vote. Read myth #2: “God Is in Charge Anyway So It Doesn’t Matter if I Vote”; myth #3: “I Don’t Like Either Candidate, So What’s the Point?” and myth #4: “I’m Not in the Majority Where I Live, So Why Bother?”

In an age where we’re constantly told to follow “the science,” everyone wants their decisions to be data driven. We study and research to ensure that what we are doing does not simply feel helpful, but actually is helpful.

At the same time, we’re all told we should vote because every vote makes a difference. We’re often told this by the same people who tell us that our decisions should be data driven. Sometimes the idea that every vote makes a difference isn’t actually supported by the data. For example, in the 2016 election, 139 million people voted in the presidential election. That’s a lot of people.

Those of us who followed the law only voted once. You don’t need to be a math major to realize that one vote out of 139 million isn’t going very far to determine who the president is. Let’s be honest, if you or I had decided not to vote, we would still have the same president. But our vote still matters. Here’s why.

While presidential elections are usually the first thing we think about when we think about elections, elections are about much more than a presidency. State and local elections not only have a big impact on your life, they are often decided by a small number of votes. In 2017, a Virginia House of Delegates race ended in a tie after more than 23,000 ballots were cast. The winner was decided by pulling a name out of a bowl, which also decided the majority in the Virginia House of Delegates.

In 2016, a New Mexico State House seat was decided by two votes out of 14,000 ballots cast. School board elections, which happen in every town in America and determine what kids will be taught at school, don’t have hundreds of millions of votes—in many cases they have hundreds of votes cast. Total. These are critical decisions that make a big difference in our lives that are decided not by millions of people, they’re decided by dozens of people. Each one of those votes matters a lot.

But that’s not all. In elections, as in all of life, many small decisions make a big difference. When one person decides not to vote, it’s easy to make the argument that it doesn’t really matter. But what happens if millions of people decide that voting doesn’t matter?

In 2016, there were 235 million eligible voters in the United States, but only 139 million of them actually voted. That means that almost 100 million people who could have voted chose not to. Many of them probably thought their vote wouldn’t make a difference. But it did.

For Christians, however, voting isn’t just a practical decision. It’s also about doing the right thing.   

Romans 13 tells us that government was created by God in order to punish evil and reward good. If any of us had been born into royalty and grown to be king or queen, our duty to God would require us to use the power God gave us to punish evil and reward good. Most of us weren’t born into a royal family and won’t be monarchs, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have political authority. Those of us privileged enough to vote have authority, and it, like everything, came from God. That means we have stewardship responsibility to use our authority in a way that recognizes where that authority came from and what it is for. Indifference is never good stewardship.

It’s true that we can’t always control what happens, but we can always control what we do with what we have, and that’s what we’ll ultimately be responsible for.

Read myth #2: “God Is in Charge Anyway So It Doesn’t Matter if I Vote”

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The Imperative of Raising Good Citizens

by Molly Carman

October 5, 2020

Most people are citizens of someplace, either by birth or by choice, and with citizenship comes certain responsibilities. But what does it mean to be a good citizen? And how should Christians balance their primary allegiance to the kingdom of heaven with their earthly obligations to their communities and countries? This six-part blog series, produced under the direction of David Closson, FRC’s Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview, aims to explore how Christians can best steward these responsibilities from a biblical worldview. Learn more at FRC.org/worldview.

This is part 4. Read part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Good citizens are vital to the health and growth of a community. If we want our communities to continue flourishing in the long term, we must raise the next generation to be good citizens. Christians have the added opportunity of discipling the next generation to be good citizens of not only their earthly communities but also of heaven. This can be done through bearing biological children, adopting or fostering children, or teaching and mentoring children.

Today, fewer and fewer couples are having children. This is due to various reasons, ranging from personal choice to circumstances beyond a person’s control, such as infertility. But fear is a major factor in why many otherwise healthy couples opt against having children. Indeed, bringing children into a fallen world and taking responsibility for them can be a scary thought for potential parents. But one of the most practical ways that Christians can seek the welfare of their earthly communities—and potentially expand the kingdom of heaven—is by bearing, raising, and teaching children to have biblical beliefs and godly values.

Scripture is clear that “children are a blessing from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3), and every married couple should be open to any and every child that the Lord wants to bless them with, be it through natural means or adoption. This is not a posture readily embraced by our culture, but in this we must be counter-cultural. In an article from the Colson Center, John Stonestreet and Shane Morris said, “Ours is a culture that hinders children, instead of welcoming them. That we look at God’s blessings as mere lifestyle choices, even as punchlines for wisecracks and mockery, marks that we are a dying culture. And maybe a dying Church.”

Christians are ultimately citizens of heaven and called to be imitators of Christ. Therefore, we should welcome children as Christ did (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16) and seek to teach them the fear of the Lord. Christians have a unique opportunity and responsibility to raise good citizens of earth and heaven who will be good ambassadors for Christ, blessing the nations through their actions and inspiring gospel hope with their words.

Discerning how to teach children to be good citizens of both heaven and earth can be challenging. The Bible is our best guide. Throughout Scripture, parents are commanded and encouraged to disciple their children. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not part from it.”

An important part of discipling children in Christian faith and good citizenship is modeling said behavior with humility, integrity, and courage. Children are always watching, and we can demonstrate godly traits—like resolve in the face of evil, hard work and diligence without complaint, and contentment with all of God’s blessings—through our daily actions.

This fall, American Christians will have an opportunity to vote for leadership and policies that directly impact future generations. We have an obligation to vote for leaders at the local, state, and national levels who will defend and lead our children well. We must be wise in our decisions while modeling political engagement that is motivated by love of neighbor.

Whether married or single, parent or childless, every Christian has a role to play in raising the next generation to be good citizens of earth and heaven. It is important that we do not despise children for their youth (1 Timothy 4:12) but rather intentionally guide and counsel them. Christ said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Let us be good citizens for the glory of God and teach the next generation to do the same.

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FRC’s Top 7 Trending Items (Week of September 27)

by Family Research Council

October 2, 2020

Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:

1. Update: Nancy Pelosi Is “Not Going to Get Into” Defending Religious Liberty?

In recent days, as the list of leading Supreme Court candidates has narrowed, top Democrats have launched unfair and unconstitutional attacks against Amy Coney Barrett for her Catholic faith, suggesting that her beliefs may render her unfit for public office.

2. Update: The Attacks on Judge Barrett’s Faith Are Despicable and Must be Condemned

Amy Coney Barrett is a favorite among many religious conservatives but has been attacked by the Left not only for her position on judicial interpretation but for something far more personal — and protected — under that same Constitution: her Christian, specifically Catholic, faith.

3. Blog: Armenia: An Unwelcome Conflict and a Call to Prayer

In recent days, violence has erupted in Armenia’s corner of the world. This involves Christian Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh versus Muslim Azerbaijan. And now, Islamist Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has entered the fray, fueled by his dream of a neo-Ottoman caliphate.

4. Blog: Presidential Order Recognizes All Newborn Life is Precious

President Trump recently signed an Executive Order (EO) that reinforces existing protections for children born premature, with disabilities, or in medical distress, including infants who survive abortion. The Executive Order on Protecting Vulnerable Newborn and Infant Children responds to credible concerns that some hospitals have refused to provide medical screening and stabilizing treatment to such infants.

5. Washington Watch: Secretary Ben Carson sets out to empower the faith community with HUD’s new Mustard Seed Series

Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the launch of the Mustard Seed Series, a HUD initiative that will highlight how the faith-based community is working to help some of society’s most vulnerable.

6. Washington WatchJames O’Keefe exposes a massive voter fraud ring in Minneapolis driven by Rep. Omar supporters

James O’Keefe, Founder of Project Veritas, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the organization’s undercover investigation exposing a cash-for-ballots voter fraud scheme in Minnesota.

7. Pray Vote Stand broadcast: The Courts

On this edition of Pray Vote Stand Tony welcomed Pastor Garrett Booth, Senator Marsha Blackburn, Travis Weber, and Dr. Mark Harris to discuss the state of the Supreme Court in light of the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

For more from FRC, visit our website at frc.org, our blog at frcblog.com, our Facebook pageTwitter account, and Instagram account. Get the latest on what FRC is saying about the current issues of the day that impact the state of faith, family, and freedom, both domestically and abroad.

Family Research Council’s vision is a prevailing culture in which all human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives. Join us to learn about FRC’s work and see how you can help advance faith, family, and freedom.

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Violence Is Increasing Against Nigeria’s Christian Communities

by Lela Gilbert

October 2, 2020

In July 2020, Family Research Council published a major report on the suffering of Nigeria’s Christians, describing the murderous attacks against them and the Islamist ideology that lies behind them. Since then, the death toll of those Christians who are targeted solely because of their faith has continued to soar.

Our FRC Issue Analysis began:

Since the dawn of the twenty-first century, and with horrifying acceleration in recent years, verified reports of murders, rapes, mutilations, and kidnapping of Christians in Nigeria have persistently increased. These attacks are frequently accompanied by the torching of homes, churches, villages, and agricultural fields. A July 15, 2020 headline reports that 1,202 Nigerian Christians were killed in the first six months of 2020. This is in addition to 11,000 Christians who have been killed since June 2015. Such violence has reached a point at which expert observers and analysts are warning of a progressive genocide—a “slow-motion war” specifically targeting Christians across Africa’s largest and most economically powerful nation.

Last week—two months later—Decision Magazine reported, “Pressure has mounted recently on the Trump administration to more aggressively address the violence that has claimed some 60,000 Christians in the last 15 years….In addition, an estimated 2 to 3 million people have been displaced by the violence committed by the ISIS-affiliated terrorist group Boko Haram and militant Muslim Fulani herdsmen. There are reports of widespread hunger and health needs among the displaced, who are often living in squalor.”

The number of Nigerians dead, mutilated, wounded, and left homeless in the past decade is accelerating. This is particularly true when, for multiple reasons, the U.S. and other governments have done so little to stop the carnage.

Retired Congressman and religious freedom expert Frank Wolf, along with several others, participated in a September 16 press conference hosted by the International Committee on Nigeria [ICON] in Washington, D.C. An outspoken voice against the Nigerian government’s failure to control the killers in their midst, Mr. Wolf addressed the question of whether the crisis is a “potential genocide.” He emphatically rejected the word “potential,” “Genocide!” he asserted. “Genocide is taking place in Nigeria!”

Three groups are responsible for the attacks against Nigeria’s Christians: Fulani radicals, the notorious Boko Haram, and the burgeoning Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). The UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent influential report that the Fulani herdsmen have adopted “a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity.”

Meanwhile, Nigerian reporter Akin Osuntoku writes, “Today, a new breed of herdsman has emerged: an aggressive and murderous terrorist bearing sophisticated firearms such as AK-47s and even rocket launchers. And they become the mobile avant-garde army of political Islam in Nigeria. Given the country’s porous borders, many of them are recent immigrants from neighboring countries. Herdsmen from Niger, Chad and Mali can walk across the border and immediately lay claim to all the sacrosanct rights appertaining to bona fide Nigerian nationals.”

Because of the aggression of these brutal jihadi groups, and thanks to the muted response of the world’s most powerful nations, Nigeria’s tragic stories never seem to stop. For that reason, reflecting FRC’s increasing alarm over untold numbers of abused and neglected Christians, we invited Richard Ikiebe to the Values Voter Summit to participate in a conversation with us from his Nigeria home. His words bring to life the ongoing struggle he and his fellow believers are facing:

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How Should Christians Use Social Media?

by Claire Gatzke

October 2, 2020

In a world ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more of our communications with family, friends, and others are happening online, including our political discourse. With more of our speech happening through social media, we need to evaluate our social media “speech” in light of God’s Word.

With the 2020 election fast approaching, the number of political posts on Facebook and other social media platforms increases day by day, with each side posting things in condemnation of the other. As Christians, we have a responsibility to engage politically on social media in a way that is glorifying and honoring to God. But what does this mean? As Christians, how does the command to love our neighbors affect how we use social media?

Speak the Truth, Even When It’s Unpopular

One way of loving our neighbors is to speak the truth in love. With both candidates appealing to Scripture and claiming that it supports their policy proposals, the question of Christian faithfulness is at the forefront of this upcoming presidential election. Because only 6 percent of Americans hold a biblical worldview, many are unsure which candidate is more in line with God’s Word. As God’s ambassadors, we must be true to his message and be faithful in proclaiming it in a way that reflects His character.

This means not shying away from posting controversial or unpopular things on social media. We must be bold in our affirmation that the Lord’s statutes are good, holy, and just. As Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” Not only must we not be ashamed of the reality that we are all sinners who can only be saved through belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection, but we also must not be ashamed of anything that God’s Word says is true, including His teachings that are unpopular in our culture. In a society that is increasingly hostile to the truths of God’s Word, we must be bolder than ever both online and in person.

Verify Your Sources

The need to speak the truth offers another guideline as to what we should post on social media. We live in an age of disinformation where it is harder than ever to discern fact from fiction. We must humbly recognize the limitedness of our intellect, acknowledge the possibility that we could be deceived by false information and try to protect ourselves from falling victim to this.

Before posting or resharing something on social media that makes a factual claim, it is wise to double check the source. If it is not a reputable source, it needs to be vetted. What is the source’s background? Do they have reliable information and connections that would bolster the veracity of their claims? Do they have expertise? If not, avoid sharing. As Paul wrote in his letter to Titus, Christians must have “soundness of speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:8). This means that our speech, including the posts we share and claims we make on our social media platforms, must be based on valid reason and good judgment.

Be Respectful

Speaking the truth in love also means that we must be respectful of those with whom we disagree. In 2020, it seems like there is more to disagree on than ever before. Not only is there disagreement between the two main political parties and between the church and the secular culture, but there is also disagreement within the church itself ­—on everything from wearing masks to what political and moral issues are most important. Despite our ideological differences, we must show grace and love to those who disagree with us —even if they are not showing grace and love towards us.

Very practically, this means that we should refrain from writing or sharing inflammatory posts about someone else or responding in anger to people online. We can and should attack false and evil ideas, but we must not attack the people deceived by them. As James explains, “with the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be” (James 3:9-10). Before posting something on social media, ask yourself whether you are being respectful towards those who think differently than you, whether they be your fellow Christian or a non-believer.

Even if other professing Christians and those we agree with politically are not following these principles, Christians have a responsibility to follow what God’s Word says. As Martin Luther said, “Be careful not to measure your holiness by other people’s sins.”

Full of Grace, Seasoned With Salt”

In today’s world, we have many opportunities to interact with non-believers and share the truths of the Bible quickly through the internet and social media. However, we need to make sure that our use of these tools does not cause more harm than good. Before posting something on social media we need to ask ourselves: “Would posting this damage my witness to my friends, family, and coworkers who follow me?” As Paul said in his letter to the Colossians, “Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:5-6). Just as we pray for wisdom and discernment in our interactions with people in person, we need to pray and let God lead us in how we should present ourselves and communicate with others online.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that our chief goal is not to convince people we are right or persuade others of our position; our chief goal is to glorify God. While speaking the truth is no doubt a part of how we glorify God, the way we speak that truth and the way we speak towards others and about others is equally important. Brothers and sisters, in this election, let us speak the truth loudly and lovingly.

Claire Gatzke is a Policy & Government Affairs intern focusing on biblical worldview.

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Communities Need Good Citizens to Flourish

by Molly Carman

October 1, 2020

Most people are citizens of someplace, either by birth or by choice, and with citizenship comes certain responsibilities. But what does it mean to be a good citizen? And how should Christians balance their primary allegiance to the kingdom of heaven with their earthly obligations to their communities and countries? This six-part blog series, produced under the direction of David Closson, FRC’s Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview, aims to explore how Christians can best steward these responsibilities from a biblical worldview. Learn more at FRC.org/worldview.

This is part 3. Read part 1 and part 2.

Being a good citizen isn’t easy; it takes work, conviction, and determination to uphold truth, reform shortcomings, and seek justice. However, despite the inherent difficulty of good citizenship, good citizens are essential for any community to flourish.

Communities need the good citizenship of their Christians. Although Christians are first and foremost citizens of heaven, we are not called to sit back and passively accept whatever is happening within our communities. Like the Israelites in exile at the time of the prophet Jeremiah, we ought to “seek the welfare of the city” where God has placed us, and “pray to the LORD on its behalf,” because our welfare is bound up in its welfare (Jeremiah 29:7).

It can be tempting to think that our civic engagement is unnecessary because we have the assurance that God is in control. However, confidence in God’s sovereignty does not give us a license to be lazy or passive, as Scripture makes abundantly clear. Christians have an active role to play in our communities as we “let our light shine before men” (Matthew 5:16), modeling for our neighbors what it looks like to fear God and honor those in authority (1 Peter 2:13-17). When the work of good citizenship is hard or unpopular, we should not shrink back in fear, “for God has not given us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).

While many aspire to be good citizens and expect the same of their neighbors, the truth is, not everyone wants to do the hard work of being a good citizen themselves. Doing the right thing often requires endurance, courage, and resolve, which is partly why we have bad citizens. Most bad citizens are passive, contributing little to the flourishing of their community. Meanwhile, they selfishly expect good citizenship from their neighbors so they can reap the benefits of a thriving community while doing none of the work.

An essential quality that works in tandem with good citizenship is unity. If citizens are self-interested and rely upon their neighbors to do the hard work of good citizenship, the people will be disunified and the community will suffer. As citizens work together for the good of their community, the people thrive, and there is peace. Christ touched on the importance of unity when He said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand” (Matthew 12:25).

Sin affects every area of life, including our citizenship. Many bad citizens are bad not because they misunderstand good citizenship, but because it is far easier to lean into our human brokenness and think that others can “make up” for our lack of contribution.

Christian reader, do not be fooled; it is not just non-Christian citizens who can be passive. Regrettably, some Christians think that, because God is sovereign, they do not need to play an active role in their communities. They fall for the fallacy that what we do does not matter. However, God invites His people to be part of His work in His world—which includes our communities—for His glory.

During the election, American Christians might be tempted to use God’s sovereignty as an excuse to disengage or not vote. But passivity is the wrong choice. It is not up to politicians, lawyers, and organizations to seek the welfare of our country, states, and cities. Rather, it is the responsibility of all citizens. Taking on this responsibility requires intentionality, discernment, and actively engaging our minds to consider how our prayers, conversations, and votes will further the peace of our communities and the flourishing of our neighbors. Good Christian citizens who are actively engaged and deliberate about their contributions to their communities set a clear example of the gospel message of hope.

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Presidential Order Recognizes All Newborn Life is Precious

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Ruth Moreno

September 30, 2020

On September 25, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) that reinforces existing protections for children born premature, with disabilities, or in medical distress, including infants who survive abortion. The Executive Order on Protecting Vulnerable Newborn and Infant Children responds to credible concerns that some hospitals have refused to provide medical screening and stabilizing treatment to such children because “they believe[d] these infants may not survive, may have to live with long-term disabilities, or may have a quality-of-life deemed to be inadequate.” However, such refusals violate multiple federal laws, as the EO explains.

An EO is not a new law. Rather, it is a directive from the president instructing the executive branch on how to enforce existing law. This particular EO is primarily concerned with ensuring the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) properly enforces three existing laws:

Specifically, HHS must ensure:

  • all federal funding recipients understand their obligations toward vulnerable children;
  • all federal funding recipients provide medical screening examinations, stabilizing treatments, or transfers when needed;
  • all federal funding recipients provide these services to all children, regardless of disability;
  • violation complaints regarding medical care for newborns and infants are investigated;
  • disability discrimination complaints can be filed on the HHS website; and
  • research into treatments for infants born with emergency medical conditions and programs that train medical personnel to care for said infants are prioritized.

This EO clarifies medical protocols for infants born with disabilities or who survive abortion. However, the executive branch is limited to enforcing the laws that already exist. A legislative fix is necessary to provide true legal protections for infants who survive abortion. Since 2006, five states have reported at least 179 cases in which an infant has survived an abortion. Because not all states report this data, the 179 cases we do know about do not even begin to paint the full picture of the number of abortion survivors in the United States. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is a bill before Congress that would legally require medical professionals to give the same level of care to infants that survive abortion as they would to any infant born at the same gestational age, and include criminal and civil penalties for any physician that fails to give appropriate care to these infants.

Unfortunately, pro-abortion politicians have fallen victim to the abortion industry’s lies. They have halted every effort in Congress to denounce infanticide and provide full legal and medical protection for these innocent babies. Vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) voted against this life-saving measure twice, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has continuously blocked Republican efforts to have a House floor vote on the bill.

Congress has neglected its duty to ensure that the right to life is secured for all individuals born in America. President Trump has stepped in to fill the void left by Congress’ inaction by issuing this Executive Order, demonstrating this administration’s willingness to do what is necessary to protect the unborn, the disabled, and every infant who has survived the horror of abortion.

Connor Semelsberger, MPP is the Legislative Assistant at Family Research Council.

Ruth Moreno is a Policy and Government Affairs intern focusing on federal legislative affairs, with a concentration on pro-life issues.

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