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“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Prov 29:2)

“I Thought Statistics were for Losers”

Virtually no one has been immune from the barrage of voting percentages and trends resulting from the past election.  In our information age, we consume slices of analysis all the time and attempt to fit them into our notion of what happened, or what we wanted to happen.  Most would agree that the dramatic map of blue and red counties across the nation is impressive and insightful, as is a recent “purple nation” version where gradations of color show the degree of dominance each party had in every county.

Voting trended to the conservative end of the political spectrum along many fronts – black, hispanic, evangelical, married, women, etc.  However, the much vaunted youth vote didn’t change appreciably from 2000 in percentage or how they voted.  The question I have, is should we be preoccupied with the “numbers”?  If your guy won, life is good – the details only give interesting insights.  If your guy lost, each wave of numbers just becomes a constant reminder of defeat.

Ultimately, we know the Lord is the deciding factor.  He who has counted the stars and calls them each by name has no trouble ensuring election results are consistent with His purposes.  He is not concerned about touch screen displays, ballot box conspiracies, voter fraud, dimpled chad, provisional votes or whether hyphenated-American voter percentages were greater or worse for President Bush this time around.

What carried the day, after all was said and done, was the support for moral values and leadership.  These factors weighed heavily in the Presidential election as well as in our state and county down-ticket races where a few more votes could have made a dramatic difference in championing our values in the public domain.

Interestingly, the major media outlets, and one large political party, appears to be completely befuddled about why their “values” didn’t carry the day.  What are these values that appear to be so out of step with theirs?  I’ll give my short, core list – yours may vary somewhat:

  • Protection of, and respect for, the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death
  • Protecting and encouraging the creation and strengthening of only traditional families (one husband married to one wife, with children) and not politically correct ones
  • Elimination of special rights afforded to sexual perversion and impurity
  • Protection of religious freedom and expression in the public domain
  • Protection of our nation against all enemies foreign and domestic
  • And finally, judicial restrain

Does the mandate President Bush received indicate a sudden, major increase in the number of people embracing a Biblical worldview and moral values as listed above?  I haven’t seen this.  It does appear, however, that those holding to God’s standard, those already embracing a Biblical worldview, participated to a much greater extent this time in both voting and getting out the vote.  As one poll showed, the greater the voter attendance, the “redder” he was.  Grassroots efforts were apparent across the nation, particularly with churches encouraging Christians to vote, and to vote their conscience.  This wasn’t true just in blue states.  In San Diego, one of the few red counties on the left coast, President Bush received 52.8% of the vote compared to only 44% statewide.  In Orange and Riverside Counties the percentage was even more dramatic (59.8% and 58.1% respectively).  This result is very encouraging since it shows a strong moral contingent still active in one of the most liberal states in the nation.

Statistics can be interesting, but we’re not to rely on them.  They can inform, they can give insights, they’re great to argue over, but they don’t become our standard to measure success or failure.  Our God reigns independent of the final vote.  As Christians become more involved in our local election and legislative affairs, the more our standards (moral values) will influence our community.  God’s pattern for mankind is eminently logical, wise, just and good.  We have the answers, and just like with the gospel, we need to begin applying it in our own backyard.  I am reminded of Francis Schaeffer’s comment in the early 1980’s during the Reagan Revolution that a door had been opened for evangelical Christians to influence our society for good.  Has another door been opened?  And if so, are we going to capitalize on it and keep it open and extend it? I trust we will.

As they say in the sports world statistics may be for losers, but right now I have to admit a smile comes to my face as I savor the numbers that came out of the presidential and congressional elections.

Frank Kacer
Executive Director, Christian Citizenship Council of San Diego

First published in the December 2004 issue of Good News Etc.