In Pivotal Election Year, Where Is the Church?

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NBC News reports that the Biden campaign plans to mark the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade—which in 1973 guaranteed the federal right to abortion—by bombarding the country with messaging and events aimed at contrasting President Joe Biden’s views with those of former President Donald Trump.

Planned Parenthood must have been throwing its hat in the air in clamorous celebration of its ruthless termination of 1.11 million unborn lives between 2019 and 2021 and, what counts for even more, having been on the receiving end of $1.78 billion in taxpayers’ dollars. Conservatives should denounce former Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (2015-2019) for this outrage.

The obdurate organization misnamed Planned Parenthood has been receiving federal goodwill tax dollars since 1970.

Christians will by now have had enough of the doublespeak of moderate establishment Republicans who run as conservatives and then govern as Obama clones. If Russell Kirk (1918-1994), the father of modern American conservatism, is correct that “politicians are actors performing a script that is written by the audience,” the question still remains: Where, then, is the church?

On June 24, 2022, evangelical and Catholic Christians showed their happiness with the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision—the overturning of Roe vs. Wade and returning the decision to the states. But I cautioned in an email:

Evangelicals ought to think through what’s coming soon to their surroundings and prospects. Specifically, with the U.S. Supreme Court looking as if it may overturn Roe vs. Wade in the Dobbs vs. Jackson case, tremendous pressure will now be applied to state legislators and courts.

The battle over snuffing out the lives of children in utero will move from the Judiciary to the Legislative Branch of government, hence to a place where grassroots, precinct-level organizing determines success or failure.

Christians will have to take their Civics game to a new level. Somebody’s values are going to reign supreme in the public square. If Evangelical and Pro-Life Catholic Christians stay home from the voting booth—in a presidential year, no less than half of all Christians unfortunately refrain from being registered and voting— then those “who speak perverse things, who leave the paths of uprightness” … will elect their candidates, create and pass legislation, bringing about anarchy as its “natural consequence and fitting punishment” to a spiritually apathetic nation.

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Former President Trump conceded last week that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which overturned the constitutional right to abortion, was likely to blame for the GOP’s lackluster performance in the 2022 elections when an anticipated “red wave” didn’t come to fruition. Simply put, evangelical and pro-life Catholic Christians stayed home on Election Day.

This was easily predictable since attendance, multiple buildings, sprawling campuses and massive budgets are the contemporary measure for success in America’s churches.

Last year’s constitutional amendment in Ohio reinforces the point. Issue one: The Right to Make Reproductive Decisions, including the abortion initiative, was on the ballot on Nov.7, 2023, when 57% of Ohioans approved the amendment to classify abortion as a state constitutional right.

When asked where the pro-life organizations and campaign consultants were, in light of the anemic turnout for life, one could have heard a pin drop. It underlines John F. Kennedy’s observation that victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.

Inside the Beltway and across the nation, family policy leaders are particularly proficient in public relations: boosting their reputation, improving their image, increasing their awareness, self-promotion and raising money. However, winning elections and serving as a thermostat to regulate the moral climate in America turns out to be beyond their capabilities.

In modern culture, Christ’s light is hidden under the bushel inside the church building (Matt. 5:15). Having been sequestered there for the last 75 years, the church exerts little cultural influence. Present-day American Christianity poorly understands how to muster and marshal the troops to the ballot box. Consequently, it leaves secularists unopposed to elect their representatives, to draft and pass legislation and to codify into law their profane values.

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The political ineptness of conservatives is mind-boggling. Wrapping an organization’s logo around a bus and running it across a state the week before an election—when 50% of the vote is already in from early voting—is political ignorance and self-destruction.

The good news, on the other hand, is that secularists have their problems as well. California, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan will continue to lose congressional seats over the next few decades as people flee self-righteous and heavy-handed leftism. Each of these states lost one congressional seat in the 2020 census.

California lost a congressional seat for the first time in its 171-year history. Had the 2020 census occurred not right before but after the despotic COVID edicts of Governor Gavin “Newsomlini,” the Golden State would have likely lost two more congressional seats. Unless, of course, California can figure out how to include “foreign visitors” and assorted aliens in the state’s census count.

The difference between the early American founders’ approach and contemporary American Christendom in regulating the moral temperature of culture is as different as darkness is from light. One ends in talk, while the other is expressed in deeds. One breaks down when put to the test, while the other survives every trial it is exposed to. One is inoperative and ineffectual, while the other is active and powerful.

In speaking to those whom Jehovah is raising in the first quarter of the 21st century, remember that, as you hone your skills and walk in His stride, “Joseph didn’t have to tell Potiphar that the Lord was with him; Potiphar could see it for himself” (Charles Swindoll).

While God generally doesn’t announce His appointments in advance, it is still clear that Gideons and Rahabs meanwhile are beginning to stand. You may want to join them.

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David Lane is the founder of the American Renewal Project.

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