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Conventional Thinking: Faith voters

During the recent U.S. Vice-Presidential debate, the candidates were asked what role, if any, faith plays in their policy-making decisions. One of the candidates replied, “I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, about how to make sure that people have a chance in life.”

I think most Oklahoma Baptists can identify with that response. Our faith affects the way we think, act and vote. Our Christian convictions guide our everyday lives, including on Election Days.

That is partly why the Ethics & Religious Liberty Committee (ERLC) of Oklahoma commissioned the “2012 Oklahoma Voter’s Guide for the Well-Informed Voter of Faith.”

While most issue-based surveys represent a single interest group, such as gun rights or abortion, this 25-question survey covers a broad range of issue areas, including the Economy, Education, Pro-Life, Lottery/Gambling and the Family.

The nonpartisan survey questions, which were crafted by an independent research firm in Oklahoma called Equip Research, were sent to all statewide, Congressional and legislative candidates in Oklahoma. The results are now available online at bgco.org/vote. There is a printer-friendly view, for churches that wish to print out the results.

 

To give you a sampling, here are three questions from the survey:

1. “Do you support or oppose the federal ‘The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’ (sometimes called ‘Obamacare’)?”

2. “Should companies be punished for moving jobs outside the U.S.?”

3. “Twelve states allow adoption (either full or of step-children) by same-sex couples. Would you be in support of or opposition to such legislation if introduced in Oklahoma?”

It would be an excellent exercise for you to go online to take the survey yourself, then compare it with the candidates’ responses.

We commend each of the candidates who took part in our nonpartisan, issue-based survey. It takes bravery to put your policy positions on the line, especially on moral and ethical issues.

On a national level, there are other good information sources related to the election created by faith-based groups, such as Focus on the Family. Resources such as these certainly will help citizens vote in more informed ways in 2012.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s own Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, headed by Richard Land, also has produced a document worthy of consideration. Called the 2012 Party Platform Comparison Guide, the document “covers a wide range of issues comprised of selected excerpts from both the Democratic Party Platform and the platform adopted by the Republicans at their convention in September. The resource contains excerpts from the parties’ position papers on the issues of civil rights, human trafficking, immigration, justice and the environment, among others.”

Regardless of the voting information resource, we believe prayer is the most essential ingredient in a wise vote. You may have seen the slogan “Pray, Vote, Pray.” That is an excellent statement.

Whether or not you self-indentify as a Faith-Voter, this November, please set aside the time to seek the Lord’s leading in your vote. The future course of our country depends on such prayers.

P.S. For their many hours of work and prayer on the 2012 Oklahoma Voter’s Guide project, we thank the following ERLC committee members and also select BGCO staff: Grant Bivens, Don Coleman, Jerry Ervin, David Hooks, Teresa Linn, Linda Lowber, Stephanie Miller, Darla Neighbors, Clayton Paslay, Matt Smith, Samantha Stroder, David Weston, Heidi Wilburn and Tiffany Zylstra.

 

Brian Hobbs

Author: Brian Hobbs

Brian is editor of The Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Brian Hobbs.

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