You have heard me use the phrase “biblical citizenship” many times. Biblical citizenship can apply to many aspects of the political process: from lobbying to letter writing, from “get out the vote” campaigns to voting for God-fearing men and women candidates. With elections just around the corner, let’s talk about voting.
There are two important aspects of a candidate for office: their personal character and their policies. Both are typically indicators of what will happen if the person is elected.
On the character side, we all want someone who exhibits Christ-like servanthood, but who can also take strong unbending stands on moral issues when needed. Someone who uses the Bible as a touchstone for their actions and doesn’t merely pay lip service to the Scriptures and its teachings. A person who truly wants to pursue biblical solutions to tough problems.
Is there a perfect candidate on the character side of things? Not a chance. Some may be closer to this ideal than others, but nobody meets these criteria to the extent they should, and that includes both of our current presidential candidates. I’m sure there are also candidates running for office here in our state that miss the mark to one extent or another.
All I can say is, let’s give a little grace on these character flaws. That’s not the same as giving politicians a pass – they should be held accountable for what they say and do. However, always keep in mind that you and I are just as flawed as the next person. Someone once told me, “we’re all broken, some of us just show the cracks sooner than others”.
On the policy side, there can often be substantial differences between candidates. As Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota, we obviously focus on issues that fall under our umbrella, so here are some of the biblical issues I would consider for candidates at all levels.
Abortion: Does the candidate plan to enact policies that protect life from conception to natural death?
Religious Liberty: Is the free expression of religious beliefs something the candidate will protect, consistent with the First Amendment? This applies to individuals, businesses, elected officials, and others.
Education: Does the candidate uphold and protect the primary rights of parents to determine and guide the education of their children?
Marriage/Family: Is marriage defined as being between one man and one women, biologically distinct from birth, and is this marriage the nucleus of a healthy family?
Disadvantaged: Is the candidate committed to helping the “widow and orphan” – those living on the fringes of society – as God commanded? This might include those such as the homeless, unemployed, families who can’t make ends meet, the disabled, etc.
While both personal character and policies are important when choosing a candidate, the difference is that policies live on and shape our country long after the elected official has faded into history. Some of the greatest presidents this country experienced over the years had spotted character attributes but did amazing things for the advancement of our nation and ensured we held to the fundamentals upon which this country was founded.
Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota® is nonpartisan, and we want to keep it that way. We want you to vote your conscience and vote your values on the types of issues highlighted above. If you do that, you are exercising your biblical citizenship and one of your most privileged freedoms. Do not waste it.
President and Executive Director
“(The Lord) said to Moses: ‘Count all the Israelites. List the name of each man with
his family and his family group.’” ~Numbers 1:1b-2
It’s 2020, a year ending in a zero, and the U.S. Census is underway.
Counting the people of a nation stretches back through human history, including the Lord’s command to Moses in the book of Numbers to count the Israelites, listing each man with his family and family group.
Our own U.S. Constitution directs Congress to number the people, one of the relatively few powers specifically delegated to the federal government. Yet the Census has become controversial and polarizing in our country, with many questioning whether they should participate or how the results could impact them—presumably negatively.
You might be wondering the same thing, which is why I want to encourage you that participating in the census is as much a part of biblical citizenship as voting or serving on a jury.
As Americans, we have inherited a birthright of freedom and self-government, both of which depend upon our active and ongoing engagement. In fact, there are many positive and truly critical aspects of the census—ones that the family of believers in America should not ignore:
- Every vote counts: One of the most significant aspects of the census is that it is used to redistribute Congressional seats between the states based on population—and as we’ve learned in recent presidential elections, that representation also determines the number of Electoral College votes each state has. We know the Electoral College is critical for ensuring smaller and more rural states are not just “flyover country.”
- Every person counts: Another extremely important aspect of the census is that state and federal legislative districts will be re-drawn based on where populations are located within each state. We know elections have consequences, and the state legislators who are elected this November will use the Census data to redraw legislative districts that will impact election outcomes for the next decade. If areas with lots of conservative, pro-family people are under-represented because of low Census participation, that will likely mean other areas get more legislators—who in turn will be less likely to hold pro-family values.
- Every dollar counts: The census is also used to determine where over $675 billion in federal funding—for services such as schools, hospitals and fire departments—will be allocated. Funding for rural areas is especially dependent on accurate Census data.
Please engage in our system of government in this year’s Census—as a reflection of your faith, as a good citizen and as someone who loves your neighbors as yourself. Our participation will affect our ability to influence elections and, therefore, the policies advanced or opposed as a result of those elections.
For better or worse, our families and our values will be impacted by this Census—so let’s unleash our biblical citizenship so that we can ensure that impact is for the better, for a nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.
Standing for the family of believers,
Chief Operating Officer
The legislative session kicks off next week, and… I never thought I’d say this… that means I’m going to see some dear friends and incredibly godly people. Yes, that’s right folks. I count many of your elected officials to be some of the finest human beings I know, and I’m actually grateful for the time I spend around them.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that they are all wonderful, and there are certainly scoundrels among the ranks of opponents and, sadly, also amidst those who vote with us on the issues. But, I am nevertheless encouraged by the men and women of faith, sincerity, kindness, conviction, and servant-heartedness that I have enjoyed the privilege of getting to know under the Gold Dome.
So, while I certainly don’t look forward to the early morning daily drives to the Capitol this time of year, I am looking forward to 40 legislative days of working alongside brothers and sisters to advance our values. And, as we approach this critical time, I’m asking you to Unleash Biblical Citizenship by connecting with the legislators who represent you.
Most members of the Georgia legislature are married. Most have children. Most have other jobs. All are real people with lives, concerns, and feelings. All are capable of being encouraged and disheartened. And, all need to know you’re watching.
I’m asking you to proactively reach out to your legislator, get to know them as people as best you can, let them know they’re in your prayers (AND ACTUALLY PRAY FOR THEM!), and engage with us to let them know how you feel about particular issues.
Going into the legislative session, I tend to have an idea of how most legislators will vote on a particular issue, but your biblical citizenship is important:
- Because you, as a follower of Jesus, are called to show Christ-like love to all, even politicians
- Because you, as a citizen, are called to know the issues and be engaged
- Because you, as a human being, are called to build relationships – relationships that can change hearts, minds, and the outcomes of particular votes
- Because you, as a voter and community leader, are called to leverage your political power to affect change
Your actions in pointing a legislator to Christ, providing your legislator with crucial information, building a meaningful relationships that changes minds, or by using your power as a voter, could make all the difference on key issues this legislative session: one where casino gambling, parental rights, school choice, and protecting our kids could all be prominent issues.
Please stay tuned for upcoming action alerts on particular legislation, but, as we kick off legislative session, I implore you to reach out to your legislator, add them to your prayer list, and begin developing a routine of contacting them to show you sincerely care.
For His Glory,
President and Executive Director
PS. In the coming days, we’ll begin making endorsements for the 2020 elections – a great way to reinforce strong action by our legislators and begin removing those opposed to our values. While what happens at the Capitol is important this session, a big emphasis of this year remains growing our pro-family ranks at the ballot box.
PPS. As the end of year approached, we made it clear that financial support would be imperative to continue growth in 2020. I want to say THANK YOU for how you responded. The close of 2020 doubled the 2018 year-end push, which was a previous record for the organization. Because of you, we are in a STRONG position heading into the New Year! We will accomplish great things together!
In my email last week, I offered three biblical reasons why Christians should involve themselves in politics.
Recognizing that positively influencing civil government is a biblical responsibility, what should serve as our motivation for political engagement? The answer, biblically speaking, is that our participation in politics should flow out of our love for God and love for neighbor.
Jesus was once approached by a Pharisee who asked him, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40).
Indeed, our love for God should compel us to reassert the Lordship of Christ over all things—including civil government. Jesus is King of all existence. God created government to serve Him by acting as His ministers of civil justice. Therefore, it is the duty of Christians to make sure government fulfills the purpose for which it was created. We should champion a vision of government where God is honored and His eternal standard of justice, as revealed in Scripture and general revelation, is maintained.
Moreover, the divine mandate to “love our neighbor” should compel us to seek the good of our neighbor. One necessary means of accomplishing this is through the political process. Let us not forget the wisdom of the Bible, which says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2). We need to elect godly leaders who fulfill the requirements given in Scripture for those who hold office: qualified, Godfearing, trustworthy, and virtuous (Exodus 18:21).
Another way to tangibly demonstrate our godly love for our neighbors is through promoting public policy that produces human flourishing. God wants every person to reach his or her highest potential as His image bearer. This will not happen if government inverts its purpose and promotes that which God calls evil while punishing that which God calls good.
Our neighbors are blessed—and God is glorified—when we faithfully discharge our biblical responsibility to elect righteous leaders with a biblical worldview and then hold them accountable once they are in office.
This is where Family Policy Alliance of Idaho® comes into the picture. We exist to help you and your neighbors understand the tremendous rights, responsibilities, influence, and opportunities you have as citizens. We equip and elect statesmen. Then, with your help, we represent you and your values at the seats of government power throughout this great state.
Will you stand with us?
Standing with you,
Director of Advocacy – Idaho
I had an interesting conversation recently with my uncle who lives in St. Louis. I was telling him about my work with Family Policy Alliance® here in North Dakota and he interrupted me and said, “Oh, I know about Family Policy Alliance. They have that Statesmen Academy℠ where they train politicians on how to act on their faith once they’re elected, right? I think that’s great and really makes your organization stand out, because I don’t know of anyone else doing that.”
I was surprised at his statement, but why? After all, he described it well, knew what it was called, and knew that no other organization was doing the same thing. I was surprised because out of all the things Family Policy Alliance does at the national level and here in North Dakota, that was the one thing that stuck with him. Why?
First, people get it. As with my uncle, it’s a concept that people see as concrete and easily measured. They know that the Statesmen Academy will make a difference in populating our state legislatures with Godly men and women, in an era in which legislators holding Judeo-Christian moral beliefs are facing evermore hostile media and highly divisive politics.
Second, they can picture the power of the program. Our Statesmen Academy graduates were primary sponsors of bills honoring life, parental rights, and freedom in school choice. Because of the principles on which our Statesmen stand, now North Dakotan woman have to right to know chemical abortions might be reversed, homeschool families have more freedom, and dismemberment abortions are banned.
I deeply respect and am so appreciative of our three Statesmen Academy graduates currently in the legislature: Representatives Dan Johnston, Luke Simons, and Michelle Strinden.
With three current Statesmen Academy graduates, and three more planning to attend this year’s Academy in July, three will become six. What if next year we can find five more, and then seven the next, and so on? Pretty soon you have an empowered force with incredible momentum in the halls of the Capitol who will work hard to advance policy in a nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished.
Won’t you help us with this important task? Your financial support will go a long way to preserving and expanding biblical values in our state legislature. If you give today, your tax-deductible gift will currently be DOUBLED, thanks to a $140,000 matching grant provided by generous ministry partners.
I see a future. A future where Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota, our Statesmen Academy graduates, and other Christian legislators all work together to preserve and advance biblical values at a never-imagined level. Let’s make it a reality!
President and Executive Director
What is biblical citizenship?
To answer that, we need look no further than the prophet Daniel, who when given a vision by God of future times proclaimed, “the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action” (Dan. 11:32).
Consider that for a moment…God gave Daniel a glimpse of the battles ahead and there, in the midst of the struggle, we see God’s people—not only present, but standing firm.
Today, the battle against God’s truth (Jn. 14:6) is growing more intense, but just like in the days of Daniel, God’s people are present and actively working to proclaim the Gospel in its fullness.
What is special and true about these people? They know their God and He knows them. They know and trust Him because they rely on His living Word (Ps. 119:11, Acts 17:11); pray through the indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:26); and fellowship together for discipleship, encouragement, and accountability (Heb. 10:24).
As a result of knowing their God, they stand firm, resolutely proclaiming the truth of Scripture, standing together side by side, committed to endure through whatever may come, and whatever the consequences—out of love and obedience to Christ , genuine love for their neighbors as themselves (Mt. 22:39) and the desire to “seek the welfare of the city” (Jer. 29:7) in which the Lord has placed them.
From that love, the people who know their God will stand firm and take action. Love of neighbor demands action—action in ways that point neighbors to the cross and then to living life in abundance (Jn. 10:10) through obedience to His Word (Rom. 6:16).
Biblical citizens understand this is not our home (Phil. 3:20). We are merely stewards with a God-given mission to fulfill. It requires us to know, live, and proclaim the entire Word (2 Tim. 3:16) and act in ways that bring transformation to the communities, societies, nations, and world in which we live.
In the United States of America, we have already been given unique rights and responsibilities that allow us to engage in our culture and system of government—which is how Christians can take action to “seek the welfare” of the nation in which we live.
“the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action” (Dan. 11:32).
If this prophecy were first given today, would you be counted as part of the people? Do you know God? Do you know God enough to discern evil from good and stand firm? If so, are you willing to take action?
Every generation is required to make this choice.
We at Family Policy Alliance are called to stand firm and take action for a nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished. We accomplish this vision by advancing biblical citizenship in the Church and culture, equipping and electing statesmen, promoting policy and serving an effective alliance all committed to a common vision.
Will you join us?
President & CEO
This week, Stephen Hawking passed away. For many, he was considered among the most brilliant minds this world has ever known, and there is no denying his incredible intellect or the remarkable life that he lived. Despite suffering from a rare form of ALS, he and his work will be remembered for centuries to come.
Yet, despite all this, Stephen Hawking was an incredibly deceived man.
A theoretical physicist and man who studied the cosmos, Hawking was an avowed atheist who became increasingly hostile to the notion of a Creator.
While his intellect was undeniable, he said some of the most unimaginable things including, “spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing.” Such a notion- never witnessed, utterly irrational, and devoid of all logic- is seemingly inexplicable for a man whose IQ could run laps around mine.
Or, is it?
Scripture teaches us that we are spiritually dead and blind to even the most apparent truths unless made new by the Holy Spirit. Spiritual understanding comes not from intellect or study but only from divine revelation. So, when one of the world’s most brilliant minds spends a lifetime studying the cosmos- something that can only be explained by the existence of a Creator- it is only natural that he would draw every conclusion except the most obvious one.
Throughout his life Stephen Hawking combined intelligence and obliviousness, and this phenomenon is certainly present here in Georgia. When intelligent people bend over backwards to explain why a baby with a beating heart and human DNA is not really a person, it’s because they suffer from similar blindness. Same thing when the Left tries to argue that someone who is physically and biologically one gender is actually really another. Or, that the First Amendment of the Constitution which provides for the “free exercise of religion” actually means that you cannot live out your beliefs. Those making the arguments may be intelligent people, but they are utterly blind and ignorant.
So, where do we come in?
Well, I often write to you regarding political elections or lobbying activity, but my activity with the Family Policy Foundation of Georgia, our educational organization, is designed to equip believers to understand and articulate the truth.
In a hostile and blind world, we believe it is important the Christians articulate biblical truth on the vital issues of the day. Most adults choose to ignore the topics in public, and many of our young people are being sucked in by the leftist arguments- believing ridiculous ideas like gender is a “feeling” rather than scientific evidence of God’s design.
Many of our well-intentioned politicians also find themselves defenseless against the adamant points of a purely political, faithless agenda from the Left. This is why we founded the Statesmen Academy to equip godly legislators to know, articulate, and win others over to the truth.
My friends, intelligence does not necessarily mean an ability to see the truth. That’s why we are committed to helping Christians defend biblical principles from a hostile, ignorant, and sometimes “intelligent” world. Your support of our efforts could supply your pastor with much needed resources, your fellow congregant with biblical truth, your child with the science to back up what Scripture says, or your legislator with the facts needed to stand firm.
Thank you for your support. We could not do this without you.
In His Service,
President and Executive Director
Idaho is such a great place to live! We love our freedom, our independence and our sense of community. We love our great summer days here. And as we near the middle of August and summer threatens to wind down, the smoke in the air tells us that summer heat is still hanging on.
Lately, we have been waking up to a bright red-orange sunrise. We are greeted with “air we can see” and a weather forecaster telling us of another “air quality alert” day. Our Idaho seems to be covered in a haze that obscures our view of the mountains and hangs in the air between the plants and trees in town. Yet, even in the smoke and haze, we love living and raising our families here. Because Idaho is a gift.
As I was driving through our hazy air this week, unable to see landmarks like the Boise foothills and Bogus Basin, it occurred to me that families are laboring under a similar haze. This cultural pollution comes from multiple sources, and makes the oxygen of freedom, difficult to find. Media, education, politics, entertainment, the internet and social media all seem to be spewing particulates that obscure family, faith and freedom.
This means that just as we must be diligent to guard against fires in our environment, we must also be diligent to guard against the flames that rage against biblical truth.
Our launch of Family Policy Alliance of Idaho could not have come at a better time. Family Policy Alliance of Idaho will increase our “bandwidth” to strategically deal with growing cultural threats in our state.
This Christ-centered organization is part of a larger movement of states with a national presence. Our vision is an Idaho where God is Honored, Religious Freedom Flourishes, Families Thrive, and Life is Cherished. Working toward this vision together, we can clear the cultural air and fight to extinguish the flames that seek to deny family, faith, freedom and life.
Family Policy Alliance of Idaho will engage in four strategic spheres to help protect family values:
- Alliance building: Working intentionally to build strong alliances with churches and other pro-family groups to develop strategies that advance a culture of religious liberty, family and life.
- Advancing policy: Working in Boise, promoting sound policy to protect your family and your values by providing legislators the tools and information they need to protect our communities, our neighbors and our families.
- Rallying voters: Using Family Policy Alliance’s technology and strategic assistance to mobilize Christian voters to elect the candidates who best reflect our shared biblical and family values.
- Citizens’ voice: Equipping pro-family citizens to understand the issues and raise their voices in support of legislation that protects their families.
With our sleeves rolled up, Family Policy Alliance of Idaho has already hit the ground running!
With your help, we sent two Idaho legislators to the Statesman Academy in Colorado Springs last month. Understanding that politics and policy is one of the fronts on which the cultural fire is burning, the Statesman Academy helps advance biblical citizenship and train statesman who hold Judeo-Christian moral beliefs to serve boldly and effectively. It’s a project of our sister organization, Family Policy Foundation.
As 2017 progresses, we will strengthen our efforts to serve the Church, building on our strong alliances with like-minded organizations, while we also gather tools for Christian citizens to promote stewardship of our great state.
In order to get moving on these strategic goals, we need your help. Would you partner with us financially to work to clear the cultural smoke out of our great state?
TAKE ACTION: Family Policy Alliance of Idaho is passionate about standing strong for pro-life family values while pushing back against destructive cultural influences. Your help is needed today in this battle. Please consider partnering in this work with a financial gift today.
One early morning, I walked into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee and scroll through the news. The TV blared in the background with stories like:
“Pastors in Houston Texas have been issued subpoenas demanding they hand over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity, or anything about the city’s first openly gay mayor.”
And this: ”U.S. Common Core standards now require sex education from Kindergarten through grade 12. To qualify for federal grants, public schools are required to adopt these standards. Millions have been given to Planned Parenthood to hire sexuality teachers for public schools.”
I continued to read news stories about bills being proposed to restrain what a pastor can preach to his church, schools opening restrooms to kids who say they identify as another sex, and courts overturning good laws that were approved by the People.
I remember kneeling on the floor with tears rolling down my face asking God to use me to make a difference. I wrestled with many questions: What can one person do? Should Christians be in politics? What if people get mad at me when I stand up for what is right?
Then I remembered one of my favorite verses, 2 Chronicles 7:14, that says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” Two important words: “IF” and “MY PEOPLE.” That means us!
My fear soon turned to urgency and resolve. We send missionaries all over the world, yet we stay out of government affairs. The involvement of a Christ-centered church is not only helpful, it is crucial. Just think what we could accomplish when we stand together for Biblical principles. How we could change the world if we had more Christians on school boards, city councils, state legislatures and in our courts.
So, what does the Bible say about Biblical Citizenship?
- Pay Taxes and give everyone what you owe them (Romans 13:6-7).
- Pray for our government (Romans 12:12, Phil 4:6, and many more!).
- Participate in government. God would not ordain government (Romans 13:1) and then tell Christians to stay out of it.
Policy is shaped by public opinion. We need to speak up for Biblical precepts. Let’s pledge allegiance to His Kingdom and create a better nation.
So, the question is not, “Should Christians be involved in politics?” The question is: “How can we afford not to be?”
Robyn Essex is the new Director of Community Alliances with Family Policy Alliance of Kansas.
Moving closer to the edge of the cliff
2016 will be a critical year for your family and your faith. In so many ways, our nation is moving ever closer to the edge of the cliff – a cultural, political and spiritual cliff.
As followers of Christ, it’s our duty to trust in our Lord, remain faithful and engage in our system of government – to ensure pro-family Americans seize the opportunity to back away from that cliff. We need to band together with like-minded believers to protect our loved ones, our religious freedom and the sanctity of life – for ourselves and our families. We can do that in legislatures across the country and at the ballot box throughout the year.
Eli is a Christian school teacher who had never voted. Never, that is, until he attended an event sponsored by the Montana Family Foundation. He heard CitizenLink’s President and CEO Paul Weber talk about the importance of “unleashing biblical citizenship.” Now Eli is a registered voter!
Your partnership with CitizenLink makes stories like Eli’s possible. Visit www.citizenlink.com/donate to stand with us!