With a little more than 70 days remaining before arguably one of the most important elections in U.S. history, a new study from the American Culture and Faith Institute has discovered a new sense of urgency among conservative Christians.
SAGE Cons – the Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservatives tracked in the ACFI research – have a mindset that there is no time to lose in leading America onto a different track for the future. They consider the 2016 election to be a major life event: 98% say the outcome of the election will make a difference in their life. Nearly three-quarters of them (71%) say it will make a "big difference." That sense of urgency is much greater among the SAGE Cons who plan to vote for Donald Trump: 75% of them say the election will make a big difference, compared to only 50% of those who say they will not vote for Mr. Trump holding the same perception of the elevated importance of the election.
Various factors contribute to their concern about the election. For starters, more than four out of five SAGE Cons (83%) say they are extremely or very proud to be an American. That contrasts with just two-thirds of the SAGE Cons (67%) who do not plan to vote for Donald Trump.
More than nine out of ten SAGE Cons (92%) are angry about the current state of America. Given that sentiment it is not surprising that the survey revealed that a similar proportion of them (93%) are completely or mostly dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S.
Their attentiveness to the election is heightened by the fact that a majority of Christian conservatives (52%) say they are worse off now than they were in the past. Consequently, seven out of ten SAGE Cons (69%) say that they are "worried about the future."
Dr. Alex McFarland, a nationally-renowned religion and culture expert, radio and television host, and author said the results demonstrate the Christian vote—especially in swing states—will make a huge difference in the results of the presidential election. The more that the faithful speak their minds at the polls, the better chance the U.S. has of having a values-driven leader as commander-in-chief.
"The issues important to evangelical voters are certainly the hot-button issues for this election: the appointment of Supreme Court justices, religious liberties, the sanctity of life, marriage and foreign policy," he said. "No longer can the faithful remain silent when it comes to the leadership of our country. The evidence of taking a back seat in politics is clear; no longer can we sit by idly as constitutional, foundational and biblical principles are swept under the rug." For evangelicals who may be struggling with their own votes in November, McFarland offers eight points to consider when they go to the polls:
- Remember that "the perfect is the enemy of the good."
- Will my life be better or worse under this president?
- Will this president protect my religious freedom?
- How will this candidate protect life?
- Will this candidate protect our country?
- Who will this president appoint to the Supreme Court?
- Will this president protect the financial resources with which God has entrusted us?
- Will I feel good about the decisions this president will make?
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