Editor’s Note: The following is part of an interview with Attorney David C. Gibbs III, president and general counsel of the National Center for Life and Liberty, conducted by Katie McCoy at BiblicalWoman.org.
Q: Why Is This Election So Different … Or Is It?
A: The November 2012 election is different from previous elections because for the first time in most of our lifetimes, there is a clear choice in this election as to which path America will take—perhaps for the rest of the 21st Century.
The presidential candidates in particular have very different philosophical views of our Constitution and of government, although the same philosophical differences can also be seen in many candidates running for Congress and for state and local government offices as well.
In some ways, the 2012 election is similar to the presidential election in 1980 when Ronald Reagan defeated the incumbent Jimmy Carter. In 1980, just as in 2012, America was facing potential catastrophe, both economically and in foreign affairs. On Nov. 4, 1979 Iranian militants breached the United States Embassy in Tehran and took 70 Americans hostage. These hostages were held for 444 days until after President Reagan was inaugurated, while a new Nightline TV program was counting the days of their captivity. The American economy was in free fall, taxes were high, government revenues were low, mortgage rates were 14-17% or even higher, gas lines sometimes extended around the block and President Carter was advocating wearing sweaters to save fuel oil. The federal government was headed for bankruptcy much faster than the average citizen realized at the time.
Christian leaders called other Christians to serious prayer for God to bless our nation and to provide us with godly and competent leaders. In 1980, over a half million people gathered at the National Mall in Washington D.C. to repent and pray for the nation and the world during a Washington for Jesus rally. Americans needed God to bless this nation again and God graciously answered those prayers. After President Reagan was inaugurated, the Middle East quieted down, America won the Cold War and the economy came roaring back in less than 3 years. Lower taxes led to more revenue coming into government coffers with fewer businesses seeing a need to shelter profits in off shore tax avoidance accounts. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were created and welfare roles were reduced as Americans found work to support their families. America’s economy took off running again.
But, as Scripture predicts, when God blessed America in 1980 and set the nation’s economy and foreign affairs right again, many Christians very soon went back to being apathetic toward their government and turned again to their own pursuits, most of which were very worthy endeavors like their churches and families.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the increased repentance and prayer, which again focused attention on God and government, lasted only a few short weeks before Christians again became apathetic and returned to their own pursuits. Meanwhile, Christians tended to leave the political playing field to gay rights groups, politically correct candidates and abortion activists. A similar Washington for Jesus rally in 2004 attracted only 25,000 people, not the half million who showed up in 1980. Just as we see in the national cycles of catastrophe, repentance, deliverance and apathy found in the Book of Judges, Americans, including many Christians, once again returned to apathy.
The same 1980 economic and foreign policy issues are at play again in the 2012 election. God seems to be trying to get our attention once again.
The Middle East is once again on fire; the so-called “Arab Spring” has become a “Muslim Brotherhood Winter,” and an American embassy was breached once again for the first time since 1979—this time in Libya. God needs to get the attention especially of Christians because II Chronicles 7:14 tells us that God will bless a nation based on the conduct of His people, not the conduct of others. He also tells us that He blesses those nations who bless Israel. America’s connection to Israel over the past 3 years has not been good—in fact, probably the worst relationship since Israel was reconstituted after WWII.
Economic and foreign affairs problems seem even worse in 2012 than they were in 1980. They include a $16 trillion debt that is still growing, government entitlement programs about to go bankrupt, a net loss of 2 million jobs since 2008 with 8 million fewer Americans now working, a housing crisis with millions of homes foreclosed and a looming college debt crisis. Instead of only one country, Iran, presenting foreign policy problems, today nearly every nation in the Middle East is in turmoil, with TV images of burning American flags and President Obama being burned in effigy.
But there are other important philosophical and moral issues that will also be decided in the 2012 election. This election will set America’s course for many decades, since whichever governmental philosophy the American people choose in this election, will likely become irreversible by 2016. Do Americans want a bigger government or a smaller government? More or fewer government services? More government regulations or more individual freedom? More debt and more taxes or lower taxes and a balanced budget? Gay marriage or restoration of biblical traditional marriage and family? Pro choice or pro life? Euthanasia or care for the disabled and elderly? Honoring the Creator God as the irreplaceable foundation of our government or pushing Him farther away? Parental choice in education or continued domination of education by the government? More small businesses or more governmental control of business? More legal or more illegal immigration. These are questions that will be decided either directly or indirectly by American voters in the 2012 election.
It is rare that we are offered such a clear and directly opposite political choice. The ship that is set in motion by this 2012 election will be very hard to turn around later. In America, the people choose their rulers. Those who do not participate in 2012 as fully informed voters are not fulfilling their obligation to the government God blessed America with as a result of our revolution against the tyranny of Great Britain. Do we now want to put another governmental tyranny in place of our Constitution? One presidential candidate supports the Constitution, which limits the rights of government over the people. The other thinks the Constitution needs to be reinterpreted to guarantee greater power for government. That is another very clear question for November 2012 voters.
This is why the 2012 election is so much more important than previous elections, why it will have so many more immediate and likely irreversible consequences, and why Christians need to repent, pray and become more fully informed voters now more than ever before.