The Denison Forum Podcast Episode 43: How to vote for imperfect political parties: A conversation with Jason Yates

Monday, December 5, 2022

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The Denison Forum Podcast Episode 43: How to vote for imperfect political parties: A conversation with Jason Yates

October 3, 2022 - Denison Forum

Denison Forum podcast logo, protraits of Dr. Mark Turman and Dr. Jim Denison

Jason Yates, CEO of My Faith Votes, discusses why our faith should matter to our politics, principles for voting based on biblical truth, and how to wrestle with imperfect political parties.

Show notes:

Jason Yates, CEO of My Faith Votes begins by explaining their mission and why they exist: To encourage Christians to pray, think, and vote (1:45). They discuss why Christians should vote and overcome apathy to begin with (10:31). Yates provides four principles to remember while we vote:

  • God is in control
  • Life is valuable
  • Freedom is from God
  • The government can’t be everything to everyone

He continues by discussing the different levels of government and personal responsibility (19:10). Yates talks about how we often misuse the idea of “separation of church and state” (27:11). They move to talk about how to prioritize the issues when voting and how to struggle well with difficult political questions (31:50). Yates talks about the importance of how to disagree without giving up biblical principles (43:28). They close by affirming the importance pastors talking about the issues to their congregations, without endorsing any party (52:22).

Resources and further reading:

About the host

Mark Legg is the Associate Editor for Denison Forum. He graduated from Dallas Baptist University in 2021 with a degree in Philosophy and Biblical Studies.

About the guest

Jason Yates has over 25 years of proven leadership experience in strategy development, marketing, and product development from Fortune 100 companies. In 2015, his passion to see Christians act on their faith to make a difference in their communities and our nation led him to leave corporate America and assume the role of CEO of My Faith Votes at its inception. With Jason’s leadership, My Faith Votes made a measurable impact on Christian voter turnout in 2016 and is continuing to do so by motivating and equipping every Christian to Think, Pray, and Vote. Jason has served in leadership roles on several non-profit boards, including his role as Chairman of the Board for Club Christ Ministries and Board Director of Governance and Strategic Planning at Junior Achievement. Jason has a BA from Carleton College and an MBA in Strategic Management and E-Business from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

Transcript

Transcribed by Otter.ai

Mark Legg  00:03

Welcome to the Denison Forum Podcast. My name is Mark, Legg associate editor here at Denison Forum today I’m joined by Jason Yates. Say hello, Jason.

Jason Yates  00:14

Hey, Mark. Thanks for having me on, of course.

Mark Legg  00:17

So you might notice my voice is a little bit different because I’m in fact, not Mark Turman. I’m Mark legg. And as you can see, I’ve been trying to usurp slowly, bit by bit Mark Turman, his job as executive director. And so I think I’m getting closer, closer and closer every time he listens back. That’s a joke. But anyway, we’re really excited to have Jason on today. And so let me introduce you a little bit. Yeah, so he has 25 years of leadership experience in strategic planning, marketing and product development. So around 2015, and we’ll get into this a little bit when we talk about your story and how you got connected to my faith votes. He had a passion to see Christians make a difference in their communities. And so you left corporate America to become CEO, my faith votes, whose mission is to motivate and equip every Christian to think, pray and vote. Jason has served in leadership roles at several nonprofit boards. And so we’re very thankful to have you on. So first of all, introduce us a little bit to what my faith votes is, what’s the mission there? And if you have any other introductory remarks you’d like to make?

 

Jason Yates  01:35

Yeah, thanks, Mark. It’s great to be on this podcast. I was telling you, before we jumped on, I have the greatest respect for the Dennison forum. And I love the tagline of how we discern the news on at least the daily email that comes out from Dr. Dennison. And you know, that you mentioned, pray, think and vote. And that’s a key part of my faith votes, is how we help people pray unceasingly for our nation and for our leaders, how we think biblically about the issues. And then how we vote consistently in every election. And my faith votes exists, simply to motivate and equip Christians to do those three things all the time. It’s, I say, it’s a little bit of a formula for the Christian life, right? It’s right. We shouldn’t be praying and seeking God and all we do, we should be approaching the Word of God in revering it for what it says. And then we should be putting our faith into action, living it out. And in our case, we’re encouraging people to live it out by voting. But there’s so many other ways. And I often say, you know, you vote every day, every day, you’re making choices. You’re voting based on what you want to see happen. What’s the good that you want to see happen in the world? Unfortunately, you know, the reason why we got started is because we saw a disconnect. In fact, we saw that 25 million Christians in 2012, were registered to vote, but sat on the sidelines, didn’t vote in that presidential election. And, you know, Mark, I often try and put this in context a little bit. And so let me do that for the audience. 25 million Christians not voting is the equivalent of 312,000 churches, the entire congregations saying, No, I’m not gonna vote. It’s, it’s the equivalent of the voting population of 22 states. Not voting. So, I mean, it’s a lot of people, right. And, and we just got got started to motivate and equip Christians. Because we saw Hey, for some reason, there’s a disconnect between our faith in this idea of being involved in the public square. And so we’re, we’re trying to help that we’re trying to reach people and and close that gap. So that every Christian is in need brain thinking biblically and voting consistently in every election.

 

Mark Legg  04:45

Yeah, yeah. Which is a great mission. I think it’s key that you guys aren’t partisan, either. There’s not a you know, whenever you go to the site, there’s a place to look at all the different parties and their platforms just to educate And I do think you’re right that we ought to be living out in the public square. And in this particular time frame where America’s this democratic constitutional republic or whatever, however you want to frame it, there’s there’s a representative aspect where we get to vote and which is an odd thing in history, if you think about it, but we’re very grateful for it. And so I do think it’s such a man that’s so important to get people to vote.

 

Jason Yates  05:29

Yeah, I mean, you mentioned, we are a constitutional republic. And, and, and we are a representative government, you’re absolutely right, and the arc of history. The idea and the concept of a representative government, especially a constitutional republic, is is unique and different. It’s why we refer to it as a great experiment. And it’s why the words are so powerful, we the people, because we all are expected to play a role and to bring the values into the our own values into the public square, we all own that right, to represent what we believe, and how this country should be run.

 

Mark Legg  06:21

Absolutely, yeah. And we get that unique position as Christians to do that with a solid, biblical understanding of truth, of love, of justice, and all those things are key when we’re voting, and a piece and everything like, you know, there’s the call to live peaceably with others. And so how, how can we take all of those things? And then kind of allow it to trickle down, let’s say, into our politics and how to do that. So? Yeah, so who are the kind of the founding people of this? How did this get off the ground? And kind of what has the response been since then, of people, you know, young, to older to, you know, what’s kind of the, who’s been drawn to this?

 

Jason Yates  07:13

Yeah, thanks for asking that question. So we, we got started back in 2015. Because our founder, was working with Dr. Ben Carson. Dr. Carson was working with him as his literary agent, on his books, and in writing one of his books, called one vote, make your voice heard. And it’s all about how to become informed in how you cast a vote. But in writing that book, both our founder and Dr. Carson learned that fact, around 25 million Christians not voting. And they just said, man, we got to do something. So out of that was birthed the concept of my faith votes. It’s the idea of really, our founder said, man, what can I do? You know, and he was, he was so stunned by that, because he’s a man who has lived his entire life, integrating his faith into every area of his life, he couldn’t imagine someone who would say no, this, this big thing called politics, which affects all of us every single day, I’m going to leave my faith on the sidelines, I’m not going to engage, I’m not going to bring the good of my faith in the the solutions that that we can influence. I’m not going to do that. And it just couldn’t understand that. So we got started in 2016, operational, we invited Dr. Carson to be our honorary national chairman, which he accepted. Of course, he went on to the to the administration to serve as the secretary of HUD in starting in 2016, or 17, I should say. And so we looked around, and we said, Who’s Who’s the the next best person to serve in that role? You know, and we landed on someone who’s been a pastor, who’s been in politics and been a governor, who’s run for president and who is in media is influential today. And that’s Governor, former Governor Mike Huckabee. So he serves today as our honorary national chairman. And, you know, we just have a number of people, a number of pastors, speaking into our mission and what we do in the variety of ways that we do it through church outreach, Christian college, and university outreach, using media broadcasts and Digital number of different ways to influence people. But that’s who’s been involved with it. And I think I think we’re having an impact. I think we’re starting to see more and more people wake up and say, No, we’ve got to do something. We’ve got to be involved in this process.

 

Mark Legg  10:21

Yeah, and I’m sure we’ll circle back around to that a little bit later, especially to what degree churches should be involved in politics or should not be. And so I think those are important questions that we can pop into a little bit that I mean, there isn’t a forum as a whole, in our different podcasts, interviews, and what we’re writing and thinking about, like, these are issues we’re thinking about, too. So we’ll circle back around to that in a second. But yeah, I actually wanted to kind of start at a different place where, so for the audience to know, personally, I am in the Gen Z kind of cohorts. And I’ve actually written a lot about Gen Z, it’s been kind of a blast to do that, and kind of point the finger at myself there a little bit. But I personally have not decided how I ought to vote, especially along different party lines. I’m a young professional, I love thinking deeply about things, I have grown up and have learned a lot of strong biblical principles. And so I think in that way, I’m kind of this ideal candidate for as a blank slate. Just tell me not how to vote, but how to approach voting. And I think that’s what I something that’s been lacking the past couple of years of my life, where I’ve kind of put it to the side of like I have, I think a lot of people will be able to relate to this of all ages, that there’s this just kind of distaste for what’s going on right now a strong sense of maybe apathy or kind of giving it up because it’s so vitriolic and and it doesn’t feel beneficial, or it just feels like we’re not getting anywhere. And so it can feel like we should just give it up. And that’s certainly my temptation, though, I know it’s not the right way to go. And so with all those things in mind, I’ve come to the point of okay, I’ve set for myself some better principles, some better values. So how do those values? How should they relate to who I vote for? Because, and I don’t want to take up too much time. But just to say that I was doing a podcast interview about peace in politics last week, and I had this question of, why are people so confident in how their values will trickle down to policy? Because it’s not, it’s to me, it doesn’t seem clear. But people seem very competent, that it’s a very easy step from one to two values to policy when, really, I mean, we’re talking about laws that will affect people from New York, all the way to West Texas. You know, the small town person all the way to, as I think I said, like a designer in the Bronx, something, you know, I mean, thinking about the effect of that. So, all that to say, that’s some setup for how should I approach voting? What are some techniques you’d recommend besides that?

 

Jason Yates  13:36

Well, and I’m glad you set this up. I’m glad you, you even acknowledged sort of your own internal struggle, because I think that’s some of the, the angst we see. And, and I think it begs the question that we’re trying to also solve, which is the first question of, should I vote? Right, should I? And then how should I write I mean, those are the two sort of questions, right? And I think, Mark, that you, you have to come first to some principles, principles about voting about elections, and so forth. So let me give you five principles that I think about that, that address both of these questions of, Okay, should I and how should I write? Yeah. The first principle is this, that God is in control, right? He alone sits as the ultimate government over creation, right. And so right. We know he’s in control. And so, so that’s principle one, right. And, and, you know, it’s interesting, so many people misinterpret that I think a little bit because they say, Hey, God’s in control. Therefore, are it doesn’t require anything of me, I don’t need to be involved in the process, right? And I think there’s a temptation to think that, oh, okay, I’m, I’m saved by the grace of God. And so I’m here on Earth, just to hang on, just to hang on until Christ returns. Right? Right. I don’t read that in the Bible, right? We are in in salt, and light, we are to influence the world around us. Galatians 610, it says, as we have opportunity, do good to everyone, but especially those of the faith. And so we are called to be involved to do good, and we need to look up, look out, you know, from our own circumstances, and, and see what the what the Spirit is telling us of how we should engage in how should we should act, God’s in control, but it doesn’t mean that we are not to be involved. Second, the second is this is that God is the Creator, and sustainer of life. And only God has the right and authority to take that or give it. Okay. And we don’t, we don’t own that, right. And so, I do believe that important for us to think about not only in recognizing that God gave life to everyone around us. And that principle of doing good. It’s important, it’s connected to that principle of life, because God has created each and every one of us. And so that call to do good in that call to influence other people is important because he created an engaged value to all those other people. Right? And so there’s, there’s a call to that in a call for us to value life and in how we think about voting as well. Here’s another one, freedom is a god idea. Okay. Galatians five, one says, it is for freedom, that Christ has set you free. Yes, he wants us to be free from our sin. He wants us to be free from the spiritual struggles. But he values freedom. And we should, too, in what we do. And so I think that an important principle God is fourth principle is that God established the family as the foundation of civilization. So how we approach the polling booth needs to value the family in in how we think about our vote. And then finally, I would say this, government can’t be all things to all people. It was several civil government cannot be God can be, but government can’t be. So those are principles that I think that when I think about how I approach my vote, especially, but also the fact that I should, because of all those principles, because God values the family, because God values life. I mean, those are calls to action to be involved. So I think we keep those principles in mind. Okay. We also need to understand that God established government, right, and there’s different layers of government, their self government, first of all, ecclesia, Ecclesiastes, chapter 12. It says, Fear God and keep His commandment, because this applies to every person for air for God will bring every act to judgment, everything which has been hidden, whether it is good or evil, we are called to self govern ourselves. Okay. I think that’s a principle to and thinking about what is the role of government and what is the role we know that and some of the founding fathers, you know, said some really powerful things. I’m not going to quote it exactly, but it basically gets to the point that our system of government here in the US, will not survive if we do not have a foundation of morality, and even religion. Right. And so that needs to be, be in place. But there’s family government, recognizing that Christ is the head of the husband has been the head of the wife, and the husband and wife, over the children. So there’s a structure there, God created that he established it. And he speaks to it in the Word of God. And then we talk about church government, the ecclesia. You know, the thing about the church is it’s there not only to govern what’s happening in the church body, but also to be the moral conscience of the government. So I know you said, we’ll get to it, but what is the role of the church? Well, the church is there to say, you know, to speak out into the public square and say, Hey, these things are right. And these things are wrong. We need to have a voice. And then there’s civil government and what we’re talking about and being involved in voting, but all those things exist, if we don’t have those principles and frameworks in mind, then how we cast our vote and how we think about it sometimes doesn’t make sense. Because we’re tempted, maybe even to think, Oh, my vote doesn’t matter. But it does, because because of those principles, because of the value God puts on life, on freedom, et cetera, those things matter. And because he’s established government, civil government as a part of that, but but so are the other things. So anyway, okay. I went on a little rampage.

 

Mark Legg  21:38

Not at all. Yeah.

 

Jason Yates  21:40

Yeah, those? I think that’s the starting place.

 

Mark Legg  21:44

Yeah. Yeah. And I think those are good. All good starting places that you have you start with principles and values and kind of having almost this insider secrets into as a believer, what would make a culture run? Well, what would make a society run? Well, because we have some of those principles in the Bible, knowing what we do about human nature, about things of that sort, right, because of the way God revealed it to us. But also, like what you said that I think we need to start with what you started with, which is that God is in control. And I think what I have found is that anytime I think about voting or politics, I think, well, something that brings me comfort, I should say, in thinking about that is I will cast my vote, according to what I think is right. And then God will decide the outcome ultimately, which is to say, if someone who I did not vote for becomes president, or what like, that’s his decision, as well. You know, and I think people are quick to say, it was God’s will, when the candidate that they wanted became elected. But then if the candidate they didn’t want gets elected, they’re quick to say that that wasn’t God’s will. And you can push back on that if you want to, maybe there’s like some, a bit of nuance we could put on that theologically, but But I do think that you’re right, we need to act in the world. But as Psalms, as the psalmist says that, like nations fall just by by God’s breath, so whether he sustains them or holds them. Which brings comfort to me, I think in that, yes, my vote does matter. That doesn’t take away from that simultaneously. God is in control.

 

Jason Yates  23:38

Yeah, the thing I would not so much pushback, but from my perspective, when we talk about God’s will, I think there are many things that happen in the world that aren’t necessarily his will. But he allows, he allows because he has given us freedom, right? And we talked about that. And so he may allow us to create a to elect an evil leader. And because of the because of our hearts and where we are, and he just allows us to go down that road is that his will I think he would desire to see holiness, I think he would desire to see right choices, but at this same in the same vein. Every human is flawed, right? Jesus Christ isn’t on the ballot. And so every choice we make is a flawed choice in some way because of that, right? Yes. And so that’s why as we approach the vote, thinking about the principles, and how we prioritize as those in how we vote really makes a difference. And it’s why it’s so important for us to think about that. And to pray about it. We put in place, pray, think and vote, you know, the primary pursuit of the Christian at election time, should be to seek the face of God in prayer. That is, I mean, we need to be focused on what is His will, these aren’t easy choices. And these are flawed choices. So what is God’s will in that for us?

 

Mark Legg  25:34

Yeah. And I think it’s, it’s also good to remember that they are always flood choices too. Because, yeah, this side of when, when Christ returns to bring his full kingdom to Earth and create the, you know, transform everything into new creation, that until that day, there will not be a perfect government. And I think that helps us, again, not put our hope, and government. Even contextualize like one of my favorite things to do when talking about this or thinking about it is to contextualize in what first century Christianity looks like, which was, they had zero control over the government, and in fact, were strongly persecuted by it, which isn’t something I want to return to by any stretch, but it is certainly that the that falling Jesus began in that context. And so I think so much of it is ruled by fear when it doesn’t have to be not for the Christian way. Or other people. I can understand that. Because what can you put your hope in, except for maybe some kind of, I don’t know, utopia, humanity, or perfect government sometimes. And fairpoint, by the way, about God’s will and desire. I think I agree with you on that. Yeah. Maybe sanction.

 

Jason Yates  27:01

Going back a little bit. I mean, here’s, here’s the thing. I mean, when you talk about, you know, first century Christians and what they were going through, I think they had a much better perspective because of, of, of what is their role here on Earth. I mean, it’s to influence the world with Christ, and they saw the things that were going wrong. I I’ve been reading rod driers book live not by lies, he presents a concept in there. It’s called moralistic therapeutic deism. Good phrase, right. But what it here’s what it is, it says it consists of the general belief that God exists, and wants nothing more from us than to be nice and happy. Right. And if if we’re a church that is believing that all that God wants from us, is to be nice and happy, then we’re going to be very discouraged by the discourse in politics, the friction, that happens, et cetera. And in fact, we’re probably going to look at the world and assume that, hey, if the government wants to give me more stuff, great, because I’m happy. And it doesn’t matter what that does to other people in my community. And it doesn’t matter what that does to future generations. If I’m nice and happy, then all is good. And we’ve got to so push back about against that belief. And I think that’s part of what’s driving some of the apathy in the church, even in engagement in politics. So so let me we’ll get to how to vote in a minute. But let me wrap up on on, should I vote? Because I often look at it in apathy is one of the reasons I think it’s apathy and laziness. It’s like, oh, my vote doesn’t matter. Right? Or, or, yeah, that I just shouldn’t, I’m just not going to vote. It doesn’t matter. They don’t see that God holds them accountable to that. I mean, we just talked about Ecclesiastes that says, you will be hold held accountable to everything good and evil that you do. So I think we’ve got to do a better job connecting there. But the there’s another reason people don’t vote. And it’s a little bit of what we were talking about here and I call it self righteousness. It’s that I could never vote for that person. So I’m just not going to vote or for either of these people. We already said it’s a flawed decision. I mean, it’s a decision between flawed choices. So we have to recognize No, we need to we need to make the best decision between the options we have. And then the last reason I would say is, I think people are deceived. You know, we’ve heard so much Mark about, I’m sure you have the separation of church and state. It’s not in our founding document. It’s a concept that, well, I won’t go into the history of it. But it was actually a concept that Thomas Jefferson was writing to a group of Baptists, where he was actually saying, No, the government can’t interfere with you. But it’s been distorted a long time. And, and so there’s so many Christians who think, and have taken that and believed, uh, we, as Christians shouldn’t be involved. We shouldn’t get engaged in this thing. And I don’t think that’s what the Bible is calling us to do. So if we can overcome those obstacles of being lazy and apathetic, being self righteous, or being deceived, if we can overcome those and commit to say, No, God wants me to be involved. I’m going to and just be involved, then we get to the place of okay, now how?

 

Mark Legg  31:40

Yes, that’s right. Yeah, getting there already is, takes quite a bit of work. Yeah. Because I think this is part of why is those I agree that we need to live an integrated life where politics is absolutely influenced by our faith. And I don’t know how you could do it any other way. But at the same time, or I guess, I should say, in addition to that, we know that, you know, Christianity can be lived out doing good for people. Without the government’s like help, which goes back to what you talked about with feeling, what would you say? You know, I voted one way. So I don’t feel like I have to help people in in need, like the government can’t I? I don’t, I think the government well, that’s, that’s, again, that gets into how you vote or something. But there’s this element of for either side, whatever you decide to go with, or or third option, or however you decide to vote. I think the idea of it’s my responsibility to help people regardless of what the government does, almost right. Which is not to say again, that we don’t invest in the government, because that is a great way to, to love people. Yeah, in a very disconnected way. But that goes into. Okay, so now we’ve got the principles. Yeah. And now how did it because man, I mean, I will tell you, I think some issues, there’s an easy one to one. Yeah. And I think other issues, there certainly are not. And then I personally run into the problem of, okay, well, and maybe can help me with this too, because the main problem is, granted, there are flawed candidates. But to me, it seems like right now we have this bifurcation, we have two options. We have two parties. And I find myself saying, Well, I agree with these things on this side, and these things on this side. And I disagree with these things on this side of it. And then I just find myself saying, well, which ones do I prioritize at that point? Because granted, they are flawed, but how do we prioritize? So I think that’s, for me, that’s just the core of how do I vote?

 

Jason Yates  34:02

Is that question? Yeah, it’s it’s critical question. Because that’s what you need to do. You need to prioritize issues. And and think about how your values and frankly, Mark I would say how your virtues align with those issues. And I use the word virtues because we all have values, right? And, and someone values some things more than others. We see some people value life, some people don’t. And, and so when when I use the word virtue. I’m really trying to call attention to what we know is good based on not our definition, but on what the Word of God says. And so that needs To be our litmus test, to the very best degree that we can to be able to say, Okay, what is the word of God say, How do I prioritize things based on what I know to be true on those. So I think that there are three primary things. And it’s in the principles that I laid out, it is life, it is family and the way that God established the family. And it is freedom. And in those are three things. Now, put another one because it speaks so much into the Word of God speaks so much about having care and compassion for others. Right, and so. So we have to think about that. But with that, I would say, we also have to recognize the levels of authority that he’s established in communities, and I talked about self government, I talked about family and church, and then civil civil government. So as we think about how we care for and show compassion to those around us, our our inclination should be to first think about the individual, the family, the church, what are the roles and responsibilities of those organizations? And are we doing what we can all that we can to care for others through those levels of if you will, government, and not relying on civil government? That should be our bias, because that’s what how God has established order in communities. But I would say if we are prioritizing life, family and freedom in for us freedom, that can be so many things. But I think ultimately, we do have to think about religious freedom in the US, and don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about freedom, religious freedom for Christians, I’m talking about religious freedom for everyone. Because if you don’t have freedom for everyone, you don’t have it for Christians, either. And so, and we’re seeing heightened issues where people are being sued, arrested, fined, because of because they are living out their faith in the public square. So I think we have to recognize that that’s happening. So I would I would posit to you that that prioritizing life prioritizing family and marriage, and prioritizing freedom. And then thinking well about how society cares for in the best way, those in need. Those are the ways I would prioritize things and still not be clear answers. I mean, you still have tough issues like immigration and, and refugees and so forth. And what do you do with all

 

Mark Legg  38:33

that? And there’s also I think, it goes back to the fact that it’s, there’s no, well, there seems to be a more complex way to get from principle, even like what you’ve laid out, which, you know, you said, but there is that even with family? How much should the government regulate family, like to me, like, at first, at first blush, that seems to me, you know, in my opinion, that seems to be not the best route to go. When, which is a tough thing, because again, I 100% agree that family has to be strong for a society to thrive. There’s no doubt in my mind about that aspect. So then, but all I’m saying is pointing to even from something like that kind of principle. There is an extra step of how should the government in the civil government interact with this principle? When, when there is clear ways like a denizen forum, we believe that life begins at conception? So that’s one thing that is clear one to one, where if you believe this is typically I mean, again, there’s more complexities when it gets to, you know, saving the life of the mother or something like that. There. Absolutely. There are flex sees that we would agree. Even there, there’s complexity even where there’s someplace where it seems like there’s an easy one to one, where for the most part there is, there is an extra step, which is not to say I necessarily disagree with you, but simply to say, I see in my, from my perspective that there even then there’s that extra step that is hard for me to figure out.

 

Jason Yates  40:22

Yeah, and, you know, those are questions that I think every believer is going to have to struggle with. I think you need to ask, let’s just take the example of marriage. You know, we’re thinking about that. You know, you could say the same around abortion, right? That, do you say, Okay, let’s leave it up to the choice. The population, we know what’s good. We know what’s right and righteous. But let’s let everyone decide. And I think what you when that happens, first of all, I think we should be advocate for what is righteous, right? Yeah. And so if we are seeing things that are not good, and good, defined by the word of God, right, this isn’t right, anything else other than that, so if God defined marriage, is between a man and a woman, we should be advocates for that marriage, because that is what’s good. We can also look at what happens to society, you know, when that isn’t the play is, you know, happening. And so, I would argue with you a little bit, and this is for each believer to think through, but you have to look at the consequences to society, and the consequences, you know, to your communities, when you allow things that the word of God call unrighteousness. To, to be in place, and so I would, I would say to you, I want to be an advocate for what God states as truth in in good. And that should be reflected in my vote. And, you know, we will be at a place where, you know, Christians are not the end, we’re probably already there, the majority in the nation. But we still, if we don’t stand up for that, then there is a void, and it will be taken over by beliefs and values that don’t align with ours. And we know that when that happens, it is not good. And so that, I would just say, you got to look at ultimately what the Bible calls good and stand strong for it.

 

Mark Legg  43:18

Yeah. Yeah, I can agree with that, at that level. So I think it’s interesting, because I did want to ask as well, like, how do believers disagree on these issues? Well, like what have you seen when believers ended up disagreeing on these things? You know, maybe you and I would disagree on how the government should regulate marriage, or something like that. So then there’s a question of, you know, how do we go on from there? Because I think, as as most cases when there’s such a when there’s a lack of something, and is in a culture, when Christians step up to say, so what I’m referring to specifically is, there’s a lack of respect, there’s a lack of kindness, there’s a lack of, you know, valuing truth, certainly in the public debate right now. But there’s also just the, the absolute nightmare on social media of you know, what, when people try to talk about these issues, and for me, you know, unfortunately, I typically don’t see Christians being a whole lot better. Sometimes I do. And I’m thankful when we do, but sometimes you don’t. And so I would say, I guess I’m asking, you know, how do you disagree, especially with other Christians, even in your own church, within your own church? Because, to me, I think what a testimony, if we can say to people like, you know, we may differ on some of the politics things but one we do agree it’s important to be in politics and to we agree Are you on Jesus? And we we both follow him even though we disagree politically? And above all, we’re respectful and kind and these kinds of debates, look at that testimony to the world. You know, so I don’t know, I’m sure that you’ve seen both sides of the good and the bad about disagreeing on things.

 

Jason Yates  45:18

Yeah. I let me say that. You know, you’re absolutely right. I think the church today is not good at disagreeing. Or, or having conversations. Here’s the beautiful thing, God created a diverse humankind, right. And yes, he’s placed in our hearts, different passions. And, and just because we have different passions, my passion may be, you know, for those in need around me, the poor, someone else may have a passion around voting, or someone else might have a passion for, you know, what we do, you know, to strengthen marriages, et cetera. We’ve all been given different passions. And, and those passions may lead us to prioritize things differently. But it doesn’t mean that we see the world differently. But we may see, I mean, in terms of biblical truth, uncertain things. But we may say, this issue is more important for me than this. But instead of us trying to understand each other’s passions, why we why we place more emphasis here than there. I see it and Mark, you’re absolutely right. Within the church, and I’m not talking just a local church body, I’m talking the big C church. Yeah. You know, I see a lot of name calling. I see, you know, a quick reaction to call people woke or, or nationalists, or, you know, all kinds of things that we just need to stop. And we need to ask question, we need to say, why do you believe that? Why is that so important to you? To understand each other’s perspective. Now, there may be some things where we do disagree on some key biblical issues. You know, I see a real problem in the church right now, with deconstructionism where we believe that we’re just breaking down what’s been taught in the church for 2000 years, and trying to create a new truth almost around what’s in the Bible? And, you know, I think there might be some differences of opinion on some social issues. But we’ve got to recognize where there’s a difference of opinion around what are primary issues of biblical truth as well.

 

Mark Legg  48:23

Yeah. Yeah, I agree with you there. We’ve talked this before, and we do discuss deconstruction a little bit. We’ve talked with a couple of podcast guests about it as well. Yeah, I think. Yeah, I think you definitely see this profound lack of trust in all kinds of institutions from, from my, you know, generation, like, and I feel it myself, I think, because everything is so open to the internet’s critique. That has a lot of positives, and it also has a lot of negatives, because people find that they can’t construct anything after, you know, and I think, I think insofar as we deconstruct the things that aren’t biblical truth, okay. That is a and depending on how you define the term, but I don’t want to get into this too deep. But you know, depending on how you define the term, because if you define it, like you’re critically thinking about something, and really wrestling with it, sure. Well, I think every Christian should do that. You know, there’s, there’s no, I would, you know, I would struggle like, are you really authentically believing this if you haven’t done that, you know, I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus. But that’s just a thought, you know, is

 

Jason Yates  49:43

yes, words, words matter how we really matter. And that’s, I would say to you, you talk about disagreement, I think it does oftentimes come down to word. What do you mean by social You’re just absolutely right. What do you mean about these different things? So, but here’s, let’s bring it back to voting to because, you know, I know we want to say how do you vote? Right. And so one of the things that, you know, if if your guests if held on and listen to me in this conversation for this long, you know, I want to be able to point them to my faith vote on our homepage, you know, I faith votes.org is something we call my voter hub, I really do think it’s one of the most comprehensive sets of resources for the Christian at election time. Yeah. It gives you the full ballot, a sample ballot from the top of the ticket down to the bottom, who’s running, what they stand for. But on there, too, you’ll find the party platforms, he’s talking about the party platforms, a number of different things for you to be able to research and, and understand where people stand and even understand where the party stand. And here’s what I would encourage people to do if, if you’re so inclined, like Mark to really dive in and analysis. I mean, I do encourage Christians don’t be the Christian who just says, Tell me who to vote for sure. Right? Do the work. You know, look up the candidates figure it out. But if you need to create, get out a piece of paper, put the issues that are most important to you put a column for Republican put a column for Democrat maybe independent, if that’s a consideration for you, and just list it out. Where do they stand? Yeah, the candidates, the platforms, the platforms matter, because a lot of the candidates when they’re elected, they vote according to platform. And so that should be a major consideration. But do the work, see where it lines up for you, and cast your vote accordingly, do the work, don’t just be the lazy person who says, Tell me who to vote. Right?

 

Mark Legg  52:12

And so easy to want to do that we want. We want God to tell us exactly what to do in every minute of the day. And he says, I’ve already given you my word. And in there, there’s enough wisdom for you to live by that. Yeah, yeah. So we maybe have time for maybe one more question here. Maybe two if we squeeze him in, but we’ll just shoot for one year. Okay. So one thing that we have that we emphasize that there is some form, is that that, yes, politics is important. And also that we shouldn’t make it an idol. And especially a particular party or candidate, an idol. And I think it’s, it’s helpful for people to hear someone say both, yes, it is important, because I think we don’t want to go to the opposite end of the spectrum. If there is such a spectrum, to say, I don’t want to vote at all. Let me just, like avoid a conversation about it at all costs. Let me not spend any brainpower on this issue on politics. So, or they think something like what we talked about earlier, you know, maybe they do have the opinion, which I hold as well, that like, a pastor probably shouldn’t, unless it’s about maybe a specific issue, shouldn’t promote a party, probably from the pulpit, at least. You know, that’s, that’s an opinion. And but I would say that maybe they have that in their mind. But they also have, but politics is important at the same time. So there’s all those those discussions too. So I guess, my, my question is, how do we make it important without making it an idol? Because I see that that can be true of all Christians from every party. I see that happening.

 

Jason Yates  54:22

I don’t know that. And I don’t believe that pastors should be endorsing from the pulpit and encouraging people in specific ways that they should vote. But I absolutely believe that churches pastors should a be encouraging everyone to vote and to participate. And secondly, they should be speaking into the issues and that’s not just at election time. But let’s talk about I mean, the whether it’s Um, the pervasive use of multiple pronouns, the discussions around genders, the debates around Roe v, Wade, and abortion. You know what’s happening with immigration. All of these things matter, it affects every single one of us. Sure. And if a pastor is not speaking into them, they are not leading their flock. They aren’t helping people live and think biblically about the issues of the day. And so I just wholeheartedly you can hear the passion in my voice. I really believe pastors do need to stand up, and to make sure that they’re bringing biblical truth around those key issues that we face in our culture today.

 

Mark Legg  55:54

Yeah, I absolutely agree. Yeah. At our church, we had we, it was funny the other when we were doing a membership class, the person who was leading it was talking about how, when people come to disciple city, which is the name of our church. They, they think, they see the they think maybe it’s a liberal church because of the actions they take. But actually, we’re theologically conservative, not in a political way, of course, but in a in a biblical truth way. We believe in biblical truth. We’re acting it out in social ways that are really important. And just seeing like that, that side of like, we need to be teaching biblical truth. At the end of the day, our actions need to follow through with that and compassion for, you know, to love, justice, mercy, the orphan and the widow care for them. Like those are things that are our true religion. And, and so I agree that man, we have to be speaking out about cultural issues. And that’s what we try and do within this forum is help equip pastors, we have a pastors view, which is a news newsletter, that it’s kind of an article exclusive for pastors and leaders in the Christian community. And that is helping equip them say, you know, how do I response to gender issues, and abortion? And how do I talk to my congregation about those things, because at the end of the day, our moral conscious are our foundation in truth, and in family is what’s going to carry a culture and a society forward. You know, while still making room for discussion and conversation and disagreement, and so that’s super helpful, how to not make it an idle while still pursuing it, while still saying that yes, it’s important. Yeah. Yeah.

 

Jason Yates  57:57

You know, I believe that, you know, our faith does have something essential to contribute to what’s happening in the world today. And so, if you can recognize that and then recognize the principle that God is in control, I think those two things, counterbalance it to say, No, I need to be involved. This is essential. It’s good. But God’s in control. Right. I’m still called to act on my faith, you look at the book of John. Yeah, you know, put your faith into action. So we’re called to do that. But God’s in control. That’s going to help us balance it from being an idol in our lives.

 

Mark Legg  58:39

Yep. That’s good. Jason, thank you so much for coming on today. We really appreciate you. And we’re happy to have this conversation. And we’re thankful for the partnership we have with my faith, folks. And we’re excited both to talk with you guys in the future to continue to partner together. If you are curious on how to vote, the midterm election is coming up. And so it’s something that I’ll be doing, I’ll definitely be spending time at my faith vote started work in trying to wrestle with how to vote and how to, especially in this midterm, which is really critical. So we encourage you to do the same. And once again, Jason, thank you so much for being on.

 

Jason Yates  59:25

Mark. It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me. Have a blessed day.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV®️ Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®️), copyright ©️ 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The ESV text may not be quoted in any publication made available to the public by a Creative Commons license. The ESV may not be translated in whole or in part into any other language.

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