Voting is your sacred duty!

Dear citizen of America (and hopefully of heaven – Philippians 3:20), this Tuesday, November 8th, the citizens of Mississippi will be asked to exercise their freedom to vote. It is an historic election in that it is the first time Mississippi has had three constitutional initiatives on the ballot. At that privileged and solemn time, Mississippians will either exercise their right or simply stay at home, indifferent to the whole political process (Edmund Burke once rightly quipped, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”).

Shortly after this election, those who have intentionally not spoken with their vote will continue their endless whining about how the government has failed them, even though they are the ones to blame for choosing the path of civil apathy. Listen carefully — a citizen of a free land who treats his liberty to vote as no more important than eating a bag of potato chips, gets what he deserves (Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan”).
In 1992, when only 30% of Americans exercised their right to vote, Bill Clinton won with 42% of the vote, while George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot garnered 39% and 19% respectively. This meant that Bill Clinton captured the presidency with slightly fewer than 15% of the possible vote. In the 2000 presidential election, I discovered that a little more than 50% of all professing American Christians passed on exercising their freedom to vote at that crucial time (We all know how unnecessarily close that election was).

If Christians had been politically responsible in 1992 and 2000, what a difference it would have made! Very conservative estimates taken shortly after the 2004 presidential election revealed that roughly 50% of all Americans who were eligible and registered to vote actually did so. Fortunately, voter participation for the 2008 presidential election and 2010 mid-term elections were much-improved from previous years for both the Democrats and Republicans, respectively. However, the November 8, 2011 and the November 2012 elections must see voter responsibility exercised at the highest level on record if we are to truly garner the collective voice of our great nation.

Dearly beloved, how will this be possible? We must first repent of our personal and political apathy and then confront the American church’s similar sin. The time is NOW for us all to repent of our utter failure to be salt and light to our decaying culture (Our Lord said in Matthew 5:13-16: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”).

O dear citizen of Mississippi, we must also pray fervently for God’s mercy upon this Tuesday’s outcome and that of the first Tuesday of November in 2012 (Habakkuk 3:2: “O LORD, I have heard the report of You, and Your work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy”)! If you are an American citizen, and especially a Christian from Mississippi, you have no other choice but to do your best to inform yourself of the issues and people on the ballot, and then vote. Why? Because it is your sacred duty (Deuteronomy 16:18: “You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment”)!

In conclusion, please carefully and prayerfully consider the following words of wisdom from the great German Reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546):
“If I profess with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him.”

See you at the polls this Tuesday!

Jerry Marcellino is pastor of Audubon Drive Bible Church in Laurel. He can be reached by e-mail at pastorjerry@audubonchurch.org