HolyCoast: Letter From Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Letter From Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church

My pastor, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, sent this message out to all of our church members, and I think it's worthy of passing on to you:
Subject: The Most Important Election


Dear Saddleback Church family,

Tuesday, November 2nd, will be one of the most important elections Americans have had in 50 years. How could that be?

Because up to four of the Supreme Court Justices will likely retire during the next presidential term and their replacements will be selected by whomever is the next president. These new judges will affect the future of America for at least the next 40 years. It would be difficult to overestimate the impact that these judges will have on our lives, our families, our culture, and the direction of this nation.

Presidents serve for only 4 years, so they can only make a limited impact. But Supreme Court Justices serve for life, and they are the ones who decide on issues like abortion, gay marriages, human cloning, harvesting babies for stem-cell research, revoking the tax exemption of churches, removing "under God" from the flag pledge, and "in God we trust" from our money. In most ways, the Supreme Court has far more influence and impact on our day-to-day lives. This extremely important fact has been overlooked in most of the campaigning.

President Bush and Senator Kerry have VERY different opinions about the type of people who should become Supreme Court Justices. They could not have more opposite views about these matters. Either man will shape the court in very different ways.

If the members of our congregation fail to vote on Tuesday, we are actually surrendering our responsibility to choose the direction of our country for the next 40 years. If we do not vote, we have no right to criticize or complain when unbiblical decisions are made by the court in the decades ahead.

Over the past several months at Saddleback, we've been urging our members each week to register to vote. We even arranged to have a voter registration booth set up on our church patio because we believe it's that important that every Christian citizen exercises his or her right to vote for those who will govern us.

During the last presidential election in the United States, there were about 4 million Christians who weren't even registered to vote! To me, that is inexcusable when you consider what the Bible says about our responsibility as citizens and when you consider the many, many men and women who've given their lives to provide and protect our freedom to vote.

The U.S. election of 2000 was a clear reminder that every vote counts and that every voter has a duty to be involved. As church leaders, we know our congregations are not allowed to endorse specific candidates, and it's important for us to recognize that there can be multiple opinions among Bible-believing Christians when it comes to debatable issues such as the economy, social programs, social security, and the war in Iraq.

But for those of us who accept the Bible as God's Word and know that God has a unique, sovereign purpose for every life, I believe there are 5 issues that are non-negotiable. To me, they're not even debatable because God's Word is clear on these issues. In order to live a purpose-driven life - to affirm what God has clearly stated about his purpose for every person he creates - we must take a stand by finding out what the candidates believe about these five issues, and then vote accordingly.

Here are five questions to ask when considering who to vote for in this election:

1. What does each candidate believe about abortion and protecting the lives of unborn children?

2. What does each candidate believe about using unborn babies for stem-cell harvesting?

3. What does each candidate believe about homosexual marriage?

4. What does each candidate believe about human cloning?

5. What does each candidate believe about euthanasia - the killing of elderly and invalids?

Please, please do not forfeit your responsibility on these crucial issues! This election REALLY counts more than most others have.

Be sure to vote, and be sure to encourage every Christian you know to vote on Tuesday. If you are able to vote early, do so. Then ask all your Christian friends on Tuesday "Have you voted yet?" and pray for godly leaders to be elected.

Pastor Rick Warren

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