The most amazing aspect of the 2004 presidential election is not that George W. Bush won a second term in the White House. The most amazing aspect, according to post election research, it why he was elected. For the first time in my memory, a majority of the American electorate were more concerned about values and morality than about any other topic.
According to Christian pollster George Barna, "Overall, born again Christians supported President George W. Bush by a 62% to 38% margin. As lopsided as it is, that statistic wouldn't have mattered if born again Christians hadn't gone to the polls in record numbers. Barna also discovered, "although the born again population constitutes just 38% of the national population, it represented 53% of the vote cast in the election."
It is an undeniable fact that the combined efforts of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Focus on the Family in presenting the "I Vote Values" campaign made a discernable difference in the election. Many political analysts and cultural commentators have tried to determine why moral values rose to the top of the political pool.
Some say it all started with the Supreme Court's Lawrence vs. Texas decision which overturned sodomy laws in Texas and led to a flood of same sex marriages. Americans were appalled when they turned on the evening news only to see hundreds of same sex couples embracing each other while standing in line in San Francisco to purchase a marriage license. They were aghast when Janet Jackson suffered a "wardrobe malfunction" in front of half the civilized world during the halftime show of the Super Bowl. They were disgusted at the vitriolic nature of the Hollywood left's hate campaign against the president. They were indignant when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared the Pledge of Allegiance to be too controversial to be spoken by American school children.
All of these events plus many more combined to reach a sort of "cultural critical mass" in the minds of decent, God fearing Americans and they were highly motivated to take a stand for decency. It was a stand which translated into another four years for President Bush.
When Admiral Yamamoto, the Japanese task force commander who lead the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor received word of his warplanes virtual destruction of the American Pacific fleet he said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant."
Perhaps the sleeping giant known as Evangelical believers were awakened by the pre-election onslaught on the moral values they hold dear. Now that we are awake, we need to stay actively involved in holding our leaders accountable to defend biblical values.
But we must also strike while the iron is hot, evangelistically speaking. Right now, people all around us are talking about how values affected the election results. These conversations are open doors for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As people try to understand how values could be so important to so many, we must take this unique opportunity to explain from where and from who our values arise. We must look for opportunities to introduce them to Jesus Christ, who is the source of the biblical values that transformed an election and which have the potential to transform a culture. But that transformation will only come through the power of Christ to change one life at a time.