November's presidential election has become a values tug of war. Democratic Sen. John Kerry hardly evokes the typical "I Vote Values" crowd, but in July he explained his campaign this way: "In the end, it's about values." He is using values to change his public image just as President Bush used compassion in 2000.
That both candidates are appealing to values should be encouraging to evangelicals. With up to 40 percent of the American population, evangelicals are in every region and both major parties. Granted, 80 percent of evangelicals voted for Bush in 2000, but up to 4 million didn't bother to vote at all.
Values matter deeply to all Christians, but not just any values. The National Association of Evangelicals' recent draft commentary on civic responsibility advises Christians "to vote to communicate biblical values to their government representatives." The modifier makes all the difference. With that in mind, here are six areas of urgent concern:
Export Religious Freedom
We must not sacrifice human rights—especially religious freedom—on the altar of security. Free expression of faith is not uniquely American, but is enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. It should have a hallowed place in the laws of every nation.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, the Muslim majority seeks to create an Islamic state. But as we've seen in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Sudan, repressive interpretations of Shari'ah law deny religious freedom for minorities. America's leaders should fully affirm the central place of religious freedom in our foreign policy.
Follow the Roadmap to Peace
The Bush administration's roadmap to peace in the Middle East holds much promise for a durable settlement. The winner of the November election ...1
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