Nov. 2 had 2 Chronicles 7:14 written all over it
Don HinklePathway Editor
November 9, 2004
"If my people … shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
— 2 Chronicles 7:14
For the past several years one of the most quoted verses of Scripture among conservative evangelicals has been 2 Chronicles 7:14. It has become a Scriptural response by American Christians troubled by the death of 40 million unborn babies since 1973, alarmed by calls to legalize homosexual marriage, grieved over the destruction of human embryos in stem cell research, distressed over the demise of the family through divorce, gambling and drug abuse and startled over a seemingly growing hostility towards people of faith.
I do not claim to be a prophet, although I hope The Pathway has become – and will always be – a prophetic-type voice for Southern Baptists in Missouri. Yet I cannot help but believe that the results of the Nov. 2 election (and Aug. 3, too, for that matter) was an answer from God to the cries of His children. It’s as if God has said, “Ok, I’ve heard your cry, I forgive your sins and I will heal your land, but you must be obedient.”
God’s hand seems to be written all over the outcome of Nov. 2. Consider this: It has been estimated that four million evangelicals did not vote in 2000, triggering the unsettling events in Florida that gave President Bush a narrow victory in the Electoral College, but left him about 500,000 behind Al Gore in the popular vote. Given the data we have seen from the exit polls in this most recent election, there is good reason to believe those four million evangelicals showed up at the polls this time. Bush won by 3.5 million votes. If you subtract four million evangelical votes from Bush he ends up right back where he was following the 2000 vote – 500,000 less than his opponent.
Coincidence? I report, you decide.
Even in Missouri, where Bush won easily and probably helped get a string of fellow Republicans elected to state offices, voters turned out in a record number (2.7 million, breaking the 1992 record by some 300,000). About 25 percent of Missouri voters cited moral values as the issue that mattered most to them, according to exit polls conducted by the Associated Press. That was the No. 1 issue both in Missouri and nationally. Of those voters in Missouri, Bush beat John Kerry 90-10 percent. Nationally, voters who cited moral issues as their top priority supported Bush over Kerry by 80-18 percent.
When voters were asked which one quality mattered most in a candidate, among those who cited trustworthiness, honesty, strength as a leader and strong religious values as being important, Bush won in a landslide in Missouri and nationally.
Indeed Bush won every county, but four, in Missouri and two of those he lost were the Democratic strongholds of urban St. Louis and Kansas City. Kerry got clobbered. About 33 percent of Missourians characterize themselves evangelical or born-again Christians and 75 percent of those voted for Bush.
The trend continued among most statewide races. For example, in the governor’s race, Democrat Claire McCaskill was favored among those who viewed the economy, education and health care as the most important issues. However, Republican Matt Blunt overwhelmingly received support of voters who cited gun control, same-sex marriage, taxes and abortion as their most important issues.
All across the nation, voters concerned about the moral issues of the day, turned out in droves to defeat homosexual marriage in all of the 11 states in which it was on the ballot. In Mississippi, the pro-family traditional marriage vote garnered 80 percent (compared to the 71 percent the measure got in Missouri Aug. 3).
Meanwhile, gambling interests went down in flames as voters in at least five states turned back efforts to expand gambling (Remember the Rockaway Beach vote here Aug. 3?). For example, in Nebraska voters rejected six separate measures to legalize casinos or slot machines at locations around the state. Iowa voters in three Des Moines-area counties overwhelmingly rejected efforts to open the area to casinos.
Two of three statewide measures to legalize or liberalize marijuana were defeated and all three states with cigarette tax increases passed. Voters in Berkeley, Calif., rejected a measure that would have decriminalized prostitution.
It should not be overlooked the role Southern Baptists played in this election in Missouri and across the country. There was a massive effort to get much of the 600,000 Missouri Baptists in the state registered to vote and to turn out at the poles. More than 26,000 Pathway voter guides were distributed prior to the election.
Indeed, God has heard our cries and we should give thanks to Him for the Nov. 2 results. But the work has just begun. We must continue to pray for our government leaders and Christians cannot disengage ourselves from public policy matters. Being a good Christian citizen demands that each of us is involved (Rom. 13:1-7). We must hold our public officials accountable while urging them to stand for righteousness whenever sin rears its ugly head.