NEWS AND OPINION:
Churches may have closed during the coronavirus pandemic. Members of the clergy have been very busy, however — especially a trio of evangelical pastors determined to rally the 25 million Christian voters who sat out the last presidential election. The Rev. Johnnie Moore, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and pastor Jentezen Franklin are co-chairs of “Our Church Votes,” a bold campaign to get out the faith vote for the presidential election on Nov. 3 as well as 100,000 other state and local elections.
“The strength of the effort is its simplicity,” says Mr. Moore, who was appointed Thursday by President Trump to serve on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The new campaign offers ready-to-use online tools to help local pastors and their congregations mobilize “people in the pews,” get them registered to vote, and to the polls when the time comes. Their outreach includes “election prayer guides,” how-to plans for a “Voter Registration Sunday,” technology primers and promotional suggestions.
“We simply want to make it easier for churches to do what they know they should: tell their congregations to vote,” says Mr. Rodriguez, pastor of New Season Church in Sacramento, California, and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference — a network of some 40,000 Hispanic churches in the U.S. and Latin America.
“Christians and pastors cannot stand on the sidelines. One’s vote is the first line to protect righteousness and justice in our society,” he says.
“Some Christians think that their votes don’t really make a difference. They are wrong. If the faith community participated in full force, it would easily decide any election,” notes Mr. Franklin, who presides over Free Chapel, a contemporary Christian church with eight locations in Georgia.
The outreach is an initiative launched by My Faith Votes, a non-profit founded five years ago which counts Mike Huckabee as honorary chairman. Find the new outreach OurChurchVotes.org.
Public unrest following the death of George Floyd provided insight into the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Protests expose lockdowns and social distancing shaming as a farce,” writes Tristan Justice, a staff writer for The Federalist.
“While thousands gather in protest against police brutality across the country, no one seems to care about the ongoing public health pandemic after chastising those who dared break social distancing rules to reopen their states and reclaim their livelihoods,” he writes.
“In today’s America, churches can’t host socially distanced sermons including more than ten people but a violent mob can burn it down in the name of social justice. States had already made their priorities clear providing bars and casinos with greater freedom than houses of worship it deems nonessential, illustrating just how far we’ve strayed from faith even as millions of Americans desperately need it,” he notes.
STILL BRACED FOR IMPACT
“Over two-thirds (69%) of the public expects the country will see another surge in coronavirus cases in the next year. Just 26% believe the rate of new cases will continue to decline. Democrats (85%) and independents (76%) are more likely than Republicans (41%) to expect another surge,” reports a Monmouth University poll of 807 U.S. adults conducted May 28-June 1.
“Much of the public remains leery because it doesn’t seem they are convinced the virus is under control. Still, there is evidence that a sizable minority are getting antsy about the current restrictions,” says pollster Patrick Murray.
Americans also say public beaches, playgrounds, community athletic fields and churches should lead the list on locations which should open without any restrictions.
The National Rifle Association this week revealed that in the first half of 2020, over 2 million Americans became “first-time gun owners.” There are other numbers.
“May 2020 shattered the record for the number of National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) checks performed in a given May. FBI numbers show 3,091,455 NICS checks were conducted in May 2020, easily surpassing the previous record of 2,349,309 checks set in May 2019 and dominating the numbers from any other May since records began to be kept in May 1999,” writes AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News columnist who cites the influence of “coronavirus hysteria and the current spate of protests and riots” in a new analysis.
“Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting reported that May 2020 gun sales were up 80% over sales in May 2019,” he says, adding that March and April 2020 both set records for NICS background checks as well.
JAMES WOODS HAS A SAY
“Why don’t you folks who want to ‘defund the police’ simply ‘opt out’ from police protection? You could all send notarized letters to your local departments that you no longer wish to participate. Police costs would be less. Taxpayers would save money. Win/win for everybody!”
— Actor James Woods in a tweet Thursday.
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POLL DU JOUR
• 40% of U.S. adults think “outsiders trying to make protesters look violent” are responsible for protests which turn violent; 33% of Republicans, 35% of independents and 52% of Democrats agree.
• 36% say both outsiders and protestors are responsible; 43% of Republicans, 35% of independents and 32% of Democrats agree.
• 14% say only the protestors are responsible; 20% of Republicans, 15% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree.
• 10% are not sure who is responsible; 3% of Republicans, 15% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,497 U.S. adults conducted May 31-June 2.
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