The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

It’s About Conviction, Not Convenience

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Guest blog commentary by Nathan A. Cherry.

It was just a matter of time. I honestly thought it would take less time than this, but the reports have started already. Last month the Alliance Defense Fund held “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” for the purpose of challenging the 1954 law that was unconstitutionally passed in order to keep tax-exempt corporations from lobbying for or against any certain political candidate. Many anti-Christian organizations such as the Washington based Americans United for the Separation of Church and State act as self-imposed watchdogs for the IRS law in order to keep a strangle-hold over pastor’s and their pulpits. But the hold is loosening and the grip of fear once held over pastors is slipping away as religious rights groups such as the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Council, Family Research Council, and Family Policy Councils across America educate pastors and citizens of their constitutional right to speak up and out about candidates.

On Pulpit Freedom Sunday, over 30 pastors in 20 states purposely preached sermons endorsing their choice for president in the upcoming election. The point was to dare the IRS to come and take away the church’s tax-exempt status; and subsequently to challenge the IRS law in order to see it taken to the Supreme Court and reversed. And recently, the American Center for Law and Justice ( and Newsmax ( have reported that one pastor may have gotten the IRS’ attention.

Bishop Robert Smith, pastor of the Word of Outreach Christian Center in Little Rock told his congregation that he “will be voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin” on November 4th. He even told his congregation of the possibility of an IRS investigation and that he planned to send a recording of his message to the IRS. And quite frankly, we need more pastors like Bishop Smith in America.

There are two aspects to this story that are worth noting. First is the Bishop’s choice of candidate. I cannot help notice that for decades now many African American pastors have been endorsing candidates in their churches as part of a “social gospel” or “equal rights movement” and have not been investigated or even contacted by the IRS. Why? Is the IRS afraid of them, afraid of being labeled prejudice or racist? That just screams reverse racism on the part of anyone who would hold such a view. Would Bishop Smith be the center of all this attention had he endorsed Barack Obama as his choice for president?

The second aspect worth noting is the reason he chose to endorse McCain/Palin. Smith, an African American, whose congregation is mostly black, has been questioned by some of his congregants as to why he is not supporting Obama. He said, according to the report by the ACLJ, “I just tell them it’s not about race to me, it’s about principle. I wouldn’t care it it’s my mother. If she isn’t for life or for heterosexual relationships, I wouldn’t vote for my momma.”

Thank-you, Bishop Smith, for voting your conscience and convictions and not your party, race, or wallet! Reports across the internet constantly tell us that African-Americans are planning to vote for Obama simply because he is a black man. Wait a minute, is that enough to put a man in office? Proverbs says, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule the people mourn” (Prov. 29:2). Christians have a singular responsibility to support and vote for the people that most resemble the beliefs and convictions that we hold to according to God’s Word.

When I step into that booth on November 4th it won’t be about who can put money into my pocket, which has the best national defense plan, or what party I align myself with. Christians are Christian’s first and all other things second. Therefore I am a Christian first and a U.S. citizen second. My voting then is according to the Bible first and everything else second. And when I look at the candidates I can easily agree with Bishop Smith’s endorsement based on principles and convictions.

If we as believers want to “rejoice” we must choose to vote according to the values that are supposed to define us as Christians. The sanctity of life, marriage as established by God and the traditional family are beliefs clearly expressed in God’s Word. I don’t want to wake up one day and “mourn” because of what I see taking place in this country as a result of voting according to race, party, or my wallet. I want to rejoice because my life, my beliefs, and my vote all agree. 

Nathan A. Cherry holds a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity Theological Seminary.  Nathan provides leadership in discipleship, culturally relevant teaching, and outreach as Associate of Ministry at Central Chapel in Hedgesville, West Virginia.



Written by Jeremy Dys

October 21, 2008 at 12:59 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] Family Voice Blog of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia has this post by Nathan A. Cherry discussing ADF’s Pulpit Initiative and voting responsibilities of […]

  2. Well said! Watch out Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, here comes Nathan Cherry and Bishop Robert Smith! All I can say is good for you. It is about time someone is bold enough to verbalize what the majority is thinking but not saying. It is fine to be tactful and considerate. It is quite another to let grave injustices transpire because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. We need to vote for the big picture (like what will happen if we don’t support Israel) and not vote based on family traditions, race, and sad but true, Hollywood looks. I hear people constantly say they are going vote for someone because they are “hot”. What kind of infantile thinking is that? People should be elected or hired based on qualification, NOT on gender ethnicity, or age. Name me one other country that votes for someone just to be our twisted version of “fair”.

    Keep up the good work!

    Michelle Duerr

    October 22, 2008 at 1:59 am

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