By FRC's Dan Hart
In just 20 days, America will pick its president and new Congress. Just how critical is this election for religious freedom? As the seventh episode of FRC's Pray Vote Stand 2020 webcast series revealed, the numbers speak for themselves. There have been 87 incidents of churches being singled out and persecuted by local governments across the country in the name of "safety" during the coronavirus lockdown. But the church is fighting back: 68 churches in 16 states are suing to stop the unconstitutional crackdown.
Dr. David Brat of Liberty University's School of Business kicked off the webcast by pointing out that this hostility to faith is nothing new: "It's been publicly announced by the Left for years. In academia, we've seen it coming for 30 years. It's a neo-Marxist onslaught to take over and destroy the institutions that made the country great with really no plan of their own. It's just deconstruction."
Brat further noted that the central importance of the church is why it is being persecuted: "The last cornerstone is the church, and out of the church the family and our Judeo-Christian values. That's where it all rides and that's where it all began, but that is under attack now as well." He urged the church to let its voice be heard: "The numbers are still there" to have a large cultural impact "if Christians speak up."
Speaking up at the polls instead of finding excuses not to vote is a fundamental civic responsibility for all Christians. FRC's Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement Joseph Backholm joined the webcast to bust some common myths about voting that many Christians believe, including the idea that "God is in charge, so it doesn't matter if I vote" and that "one vote doesn't make a difference." In addition, Backholm tackled common misconceptions like "I don't like either candidate, so what's the point?" and "I'm not in the majority where I live, so why bother?"
The webcast also featured a profile of Cristian Ionescu, who fled the communist regime in Romania for the freedoms of America. Now, this pastor in Chicago is fighting to keep our nation from falling into the kind of oppression he fled. "When I heard that you cannot meet with more than 10 people [due to COVID restrictions], it was another way of saying 'the church should be closed,'" he said. "The church cannot survive without public gatherings. This is a death sentence to us."
Ionescu gave an impassioned plea for the church to stand for freedom and to vote at this critical juncture: "There comes a time when you cannot be neutral. And this is that time. Obey God and his commandments. Be ready to suffer persecution. And never, never fit the narrative of a corrupt, hostile government. Vote for life, vote for independence, vote for religious liberties. When we do that, I think God will bless that stand and will give us the victory."
Faith Wins founder Chad Connelly closed the webcast by clearly summing up how Christians should approach the election: "Since Jesus isn't running and we're voting for the lesser of two evils, we've got to weigh out where those stances are so that we find those candidates at the local, the state, and the federal level whose policies and principles most closely reflect the biblical worldview and vote that way." He issued a clear challenge to church leaders: "Whether you are a pastor, or a deacon, or a Sunday school teacher, it's our responsibility to tell the people in the pews: We need to have 100 percent of the people in our churches voting and voting biblical values."
Be sure to watch the entire seventh episode of our Pray Vote Stand 2020 webcast.