October 11, 2018 | Wanda Alger, IFA Field Correspondent
What is it that determines our vote? Why do we follow particular political parties and candidates? Is it out of loyalty to our family and generational traditions? Is it based on our unique cultural context and the felt needs of those around us? Or, is it based upon a clear understanding of biblical standards as applied to various issues? Depending on our priorities, our vote may be determined more by our historical past or our favorite political party rather than the biblical values attached to either.
Tywana Pendleton Hampton is a sincere follower of Christ who only recently discovered that the political party she had been following her entire life did not support the biblical values she held dear. Due to family traditions, generational mindsets, and a lack of awareness of the issues, she blindly supported candidates who opposed her biblical convictions. Her story might inspire others to consider the urgency in rightly understanding the issues at hand and how the Word of God must be foundational to our voting practices.
Hampton grew up in central Virginia and earned a B.A. in Sociology in the early 1980’s. During her college years she served as a chaplain in her sorority and later began her professional career at the State Department as an administrative assistant. Hampton grew up in a family that voted Democrat and was, herself, a life-long Democrat. It was always believed that this party was the most supportive of the black community and there wasn’t much thought or priority given to specific issues.
It was during the 2008 presidential election that Hampton got the first hint that something might be amiss in her voting record. A well-respected woman in her prayer circle at church challenged the group by saying, “I know you all want to vote for Mr. Obama, because he’ll be the first black president, but we as Christians really track more closely with the Republican platform.”
Hampton was surprised at the statement from this well-respected woman in her community but didn’t change her mind. She voted for President Obama in 2008 and again in 2012, though by then she was growing increasingly uncomfortable with how she was voting. She found herself asking more questions and talked with her friend at church about her Christian values and how they aligned with the different political parties. Through these conversations and researching the issues and platforms of each party, Hampton discovered that her own conservative views and biblical convictions were not being upheld by the party she supported.
Hampton is pro-life and values religious liberty. She also believes in the biblical standard for marriage. The more she studied Scripture and reflected on her past, the more she understood that her priorities had been misplaced. She knew she couldn’t align herself with a party that opposed the very biblical values she stood for. After years of following a system out of loyalty to her past and her family’s party, she chose to follow the platform that most aligned with the Word of God.
When asked how her Christian family could align with a party opposed to some of the very biblical values they embraced, Hampton said her family was more focused on their cultural history than the specific issues. Though she was raised in a home that taught godly principles, they would still vote for candidates who believed otherwise. Hampton eventually realized that she had violated her own conscience in the past because of the cultural bias. “I was raised conservative. If my parents had voted the way they were, they would have voted conservative. They vote against their conscience, and they always have. It makes me so sad…” Hampton grieves for those who are blinded by their past cultural perspectives and unable to uphold the biblical standards for righteousness in their votes. The Lord convicted her of this when she realized, “They’re more concerned with their skin than their sin.”
Hampton believes that many sincere followers of Christ are in the same predicament she was in. Regardless of a person’s cultural background or family tradition, she believes Christians must rightly understand what the Word of God teaches about the various issues and support parties and candidates who align most closely with those beliefs and values.
Since her wake-up call, Hampton has become a champion of voter intelligence. The Lord opened doors for her to get involved in the election process, both in the 2016 presidential election and in the 2017 gubernatorial race. In hopes of educating believers in seeing the issues through Scripture, she and some of her friends recently produced a brochure as a resource for voter awareness (www.godsballot.org).
“What inspired my brochure was my desire to educate Christians about the importance of knowing what they are affirming when they cast their vote . . . . Many just do not understand political platforms. When the Lord opened my eyes to how I was voting against Christian principles, I wanted to make sure that all Christians would understand what is at stake before casting their votes.”
As we prepare for the upcoming mid-term elections, may we be rightly informed of the issues and thoroughly equipped with the word of truth in order to vote God’s values.
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