PDT Staff Writer
Tim Throckmorton, pastor of Crossroads Church of Christ in Christian Union in Circleville, says there are 65 million evangelicals in the U.S. Of those, half are registered to vote, and of those registered to vote, half of those, or 17 million, actually vote.
“Here is the fact,” Throckmorton said. “Fifty-five million votes elects everybody, president; both the House and the Senate, every governor, every state legislature, every dog catcher. So what’s the problem? If we’ve got 65 million evangelicals, they are either not aware; they’re not informed; they don’t care for whatever reason. So we’re encouraging pastors to stand on values, to preach values, to preach about life, preach about traditional marriage, that stirs the pot.”
Throckmorton said a recent meeting in Scioto County was one of many scheduled across the state.
“Last week we had an event here (Portsmouth) with (former U.S. Rep.) Bob McEwen, and pastor’s briefing,” Throckmorton said. “We’ve been doing them all over the state.”
Throckmorton said, earlier this year, several pastors from around the state formed an initiative called Awake 88, with the goal of visiting all 88 counties to urge pastors to rally their congregations to get politically involved. The group partnered with organizations such as the Family Research Council, an offshoot of Focus on the Family and Alliance Defence Fund.
“They are about equipping, encouraging pastors, networking pastors, offering everything from hand-outs on life and marriage, that you can download and use in sermon illustrations; video clips too,” Throckmorton said. “I am using a Tony Perkins video clip and recommending it to get out the vote. Tony has a great line - ‘bad politicians are elected by people who don’t vote.’”
Throckmorton said one of the points the group is making is talking with pastors about what they can and cannot do in their churches.
“We talked about the Johnson Amendment of 1954,” Throckmorton said. “Prior to that you could do anything you wanted as a pastor. Then, after 1954 you couldn’t. There are some things you can do in church and there are some things the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) says you can’t. Whether or not that is Constitutional is up for debate.”
Throckmorton said Citizen Link gave Awake 88 a grant to open call centers around the state to work with Citizens for Community Values in Cincinnati. He said the call centers target evangelicals.
“We talk about pastors talking to parishoners; passing out voter guides; encouraging them to talk about the issues, and even encouraging them to create a cultural impact in their church,” Throckmorton said.”Do voter registration drives, plan events such as prayer events. Many churches are praying and fasting up through election day.”
What about those who would ask for encouraging evangelicals to vote is an act of partisan politics?
“I don’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat or a Liberterian or a member of the Green party. I don’t care who it is, if they stand for the biblical values that began this nation,” Throckmorton said. “This isn’t a partisan thing. Jesus wasn’t a Republican or a Democrat, and quite honestly, Washington (D.C.) or Columbus (Ohio) can’t save us.”
Throckmorton said anyone wishing information about Awake 88 can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com