Thursday, October 29, 2020


The Right to Vote: Where Christianity and Politics Converge.

September 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Talk, News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

America has a long track record of voter suppression with the sole purpose to make it harder for segments of the population to exercise their rights as citizens to vote. Entrenched powerful groups of the American population continue to discover new ways to suppress the vote out of the hands of the less powerful. The landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed by Congress took major steps to curtail voter suppression; however, in 2013 the Supreme Court ruled against the Voting Rights Act in its ruling on Shelby County v. Holder, allowing states and jurisdictions with a history of voter suppression to re-enact restrictive laws to prevent or suppress the right to vote to their respective citizens.

black people voting

The hypocrisy of voting in America

The right to vote in America is a sustaining principle of our democracy. Voting is the power of the people in action and allows for one’s participation in the governance of their respective communities, cities, states, and country.

Initially voting was a right reserved for white men who owned property. In 1870 the 15th Amendment gave black men the right to vote.  However, states prevented voting of African Americans by enacting suppression tactics such as poll taxes, literacy tests, and other barriers designed to deny and suppress them from voting.

As America claims to be a God-fearing nation, many are voting hypocritically to the word of God. Voting is an expression of our will based on our values. Christians should vote for candidates that reflect Christian values and those that align with God’s values.

In our current political atmosphere, it is puzzling how White Evangelicals continue to support the Presidential candidate who openly lies, deceives, race-baits, and now applies voter suppression tactics via the postal service. How can someone claim Christian values, yet support the candidate who proudly boost the exact opposite? Why would so called Christians demonize moral candidates to vote for immoral candidates? These are all questions that we must address for ourselves and for posterity.

Strategy and tactics to remain in power

The Republican party is comprised majority of white men with white evangelicals as its base. The party has some major concerns, first the American population is becoming more demographically diverse. By 2040, whites will drop below 50% of the population, with Blacks and Hispanics growing or remaining steady. Another strike against the GOP is that millennials are less affiliated with a religion, so the evangelical base will greatly weaken. Therefore, the Republicans are now defaulting to the white segregationist, Jim Crow play book, to work feverishly in denying voting privileges for specific sects of the population.

Today we are witnessing the spreading of lies and false propaganda concerning early voting. This tactic is designed to create fear, doubt, and anxiety concerning the voting process. This distraction only sets the stage to contest the results if the President does not win.

An example of suppression tactics is reducing polling hours in specific localities, closing polling places, or “consolidating” polling places for certain communities. This is designed to make voting less accessible and discourage people from voting by creating long waiting lines. In 2018, the Georgia Senate passed bills cutting voting hours in Atlanta (where African Americans are 54% of the population) and restricting early voting on weekends.

Another tactic used by the current administration was to add a question to the 2020 census asking if someone is a US citizen. Voting rights and civil rights groups pushed back, stating this was an attempt to instill fear in immigrant communities. The purpose of this question was to obviously undercount the immigrant population and reduce its political power and influence on elections.

Considering all the tactics being employed, there is a scripture from the book of Job that comes to mind that might help to describe this present moment. In response to God’s inquiry to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” He answers “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life” (Job 2:3, 4). Might this suggest that a man will do whatever he needs to do, by any means necessary, to remain in power and control?

Conclusion

America is better than what it has exhibited over the past four years. During this period, not only has the ugliness of institutional racism and social injustice reared its head again but now used as instruments to divide and stoke fear amongst the nation. As Christians, we cannot support a candidate who promotes a racist and divisive agenda (Gal. 3:28).

In this upcoming Presidential election, neither candidate is perfect. Voters must not be motivated by fear but be of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). We must be vigilant, informed, and aware of wolves in sheep clothing (Matt. 7:15).  Many candidates will invoke the word “God” and “Faith” just to win your vote, but not demonstrate the Spirit of God in their acts or deeds. We must practice in our voting what we preach from our pulpits.  When believers support ungodly candidates, we minimize our beliefs and damage the message of Jesus. As believers, we must cast our votes to represent the values of our faith. We know a tree by its fruit (Luke 6:44); the Church must look at the fruit of the tree, and vote for the tree that bears good fruit.

Written by Rev. Dr. Larry E. ThompsonRev. Dr. James A. Cobb, Rev Henry L. “Charlie” Sanders Jr, and Deacon Glenn Davis.


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