Tony Perkins has "been there, done that." Born and raised in Oklahoma, a graduate of Liberty University and Louisiana University, he joined the Marine Corps. Following his military service, he became a police officer assigned to the U.S. Department of State. He then served in the Louisiana House of Representatives and, in 2003, became president of the Family Research Council (FRC), a group started by James Dobson to mobilize believers to make a difference in society.
Currently, in addition to serving as head of the FRC, he is a commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, a government-chartered organization that defends persecuted Christians worldwide.
The FRC works with a network of nearly 15,000 churches nationwide to provide information and updates to help engage believers in local, statewide and national issues of concern to believers—from promoting the biblical positions on life, freedom, homosexuality, religious freedom to education and other issues.
With the election just weeks away and the fact that nearly 59 million Christians did not vote in 2016, Perkins said he believes a survey taken a few years ago provides answers as to why so many believers do not vote.
"I think there is a lot of apathy, a feeling that 'my vote won't count' and just general feelings among believers that historically has kept them from being involved in society at large," he said. "We work with our network of 12,000 community impact teams that put together voter guides and voter registration drives at churches nationwide and are currently working hard as we near the election."
About the contrast between massive anti-government, antifa, Black Lives Matter and so many other organizations mobilizing hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in the face of a nearly silent church, Perkins expresses concern as well as hope.
"Historically other than large occasional allies, the church has not been as visible as it should be," he said, noting the annual Right to Life rally and march—and some similar events—are visible, but there should be more. And Christian media must be increasingly supportive of those serving Christ in public service and other areas.
As a defender of persecuted believers worldwide, Perkins knows that nearly 80% of those enduring religious persecution are, in fact, Christians. And nearly 80% of the Christian persecution taking place happens in Muslim-majority countries.
In the ultimate irony, the FRC has been the subject of religious persecution, regularly attacked and labeled as an anti-homosexual hate group. Persecution provoked a terrorist attack against the FRC's headquarters on Aug. 15, 2012, when a man shot 50 rounds into the lobby in Washington D.C., injuring a staff member. More recently, a critical fundraising event for the Southern Poverty Law Center was cancelled due to anti-Christian sentiments. The cancellation seriously impacted the center's finances at a critical time, just days before the election.
Perkins gives President Donald J. Trump credit for helping bring to pass what many believers have spent decades praying for—the appointment of two U.S. Supreme Court justices, more than 300 judgments, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, removing the Johnson Amendment, strongly advocating for life and, most recently, defending churches when they were being forced to close because of the coronavirus.
Bestselling author of God, Trump and COVID-19 Stephen Strang echoes Perkins' words with: "We cannot assume others will do it. President Trump can't win without our help. Each of us must do our part. God demands no less." As the Bible states in Deuteronomy 1:13: "Choose wise, discerning, and knowing men, among your tribes, and I will appoint them as leaders over you."
Perkins is one of the many who was mentored by the dean of prayer mobilization in Washington D.C., the beloved Dick Simmons, who pioneered outreach to Congress from his headquarters across the street. Perkins also believes strongly in spiritual warfare and the power of prayer, concluding, "We need to operate in biblical truth, recognizing that we are in a battle, and as the salt and light in the world, engage in spiritual warfare on our knees as well as in society."
Perkins and many others are working hard to mobilize Christians to pray and vote, to stand together to retain the blessed heritage of America, founded as the "city on the hill" to proclaim the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Amir George is the author of Liberating Iraq and directs The World Helpline at theworldhelpline.org.
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