The sons of Issachar were said to discern the times (see 1 Chr. 12:32). Today God is calling on the body of Christ to do the same so we can pray and vote with wisdom. Sadly, Christians too often sit on the sidelines of the political scene.
About 40 years ago our culture took a turn for the worse. There was an increase of drug abuse among the youth, the start of the gay rights movement, the legalization of abortion on demand, and a general downturn in the media and culture.
Then in the 1990s we had a president who brought wickedness into the White House. During his terms in office, a new round of immorality was unleashed in our country through the media--especially the Internet. A lackadaisical attitude toward terrorism developed as well.
Now those two things are at the top of the list of things that are wrong with this nation--immorality within and the threat of terrorism without.
Yet the church seems immobile. Only a few are standing up and calling for righteousness.
Thankfully, God has raised up a voice in the political arena to stand against unrighteousness and fight terrorism. Ten years ago he was merely the son of a famous father; today he holds the highest office in the land. Perhaps you've read about the transformation in his life and how he believes God called him to run for president in a book we published titled The Faith of George W. Bush.
It should come as no surprise that I endorse Bush and his running mate Dick Cheney for re-election this year.
The election isn't about Republican or Democratic politics. There are good things--and bad things--about both political parties. And people of deep faith belong to both parties. Undoubtedly there are issues related to taxation, governmental priorities or social concerns we could debate.
But when there are issues of morality facing our nation--as there are this year--we must pray to be like the sons of Issachar and discern the times.
I believe God is giving America another chance. The election is not about who's at the top but about the welfare of our nation and its role as a leader in the world.
Think of the laws that may be changed, the judges who may be put into office and the policies that may be put into place if Bush is re-elected. On the other hand, consider what might happen in the war on terrorism if John Kerry is elected. His publicly denouncing the war in Vietnam shows a lack of personal integrity and his waffling on the issues (see the article on page 34) makes the choice this year as clear as any in recent memory.
The No. 1 issue this year is the battle over the radical gay agenda--the attempt to legitimize so-called same-sex marriages. Though both presidential candidates oppose "gay marriage," Bush proposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, which defines "marriage" as the union between one man and one woman.
Kerry opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment. He supports same-sex civil unions that would give same-sex couples rights and benefits identical to those afforded to heterosexual couples.
Both candidates claim to be Christians. Kerry is Roman Catholic; Bush is Methodist. But this election isn't about who is the best "Christian." It's about which candidate lines up with the scriptural view of things.
I believe that just as wickedness increased as a result of Bill Clinton's being in the White House, so righteousness will result from our re-electing a man proven to be godly.
Take the time to read where the candidates stand on other issues, from school vouchers to faith-based initiatives, on pages 36 and 38 of this magazine and in other sources. Then, pray for God's will to be done in our nation. And motivate others to get involved--especially to vote.
Pastors, you have a responsibility to lead your people. Don't hold back because of the church's nonprofit status. That has been used by the government too long to silence the voice of righteousness. You must talk about the issues and urge your people to vote.
Studies have shown that many strong believers don't vote. Yet this year you must. In the wake of the close election of 2000, we know that a few votes can make a difference. Let yours be one of them.
Stephen Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma.