Posts Tagged ‘ Champion the Vote ’

Churchspotting Special Report: A Viewing of ‘One Nation Under God’ – Visited on 1/7/12

Today’s Churchspotting is something of a special event.  Rather than our traditional visit to a York County religious service, this week we feature a religious-political event held at the Filbert Presbyterian Church on Highway 321, between Clover, SC in the north and York to the south.

The event in question was a public showing of the film ‘One Nation Under God,’ a video aimed to mobilize evangelical Christians as voters for the 2012 elections.  The movie showing was not itself affiliated with Filbert Presbyterian Church, though their pastor did attend the event to watch.  Rather, it was put on by a weekly prayer group that meets at the Pork N More, a barbecue restaurant in York, every Monday.

According to a Mr. Duncan who spoke for the group, their venue was simply a matter of calling local churches to find one willing to let them use their space.  It was this same Mr. Duncan to whom I introduced myself at the entrance to the venue, where he was greeting attendees at the door.  He asked whether I was Christian before I entered.

The viewing took place in the community hall of Filbert Presbyterian.  Both the church proper and the hall were modest buildings of red brick, with any woodwork in their facades picked out in white paint.  Inside, the hall was a yawning, airy space of white walls and arched ceilings.  From the kitchen near its entrance and the mobile basketball goals sequestered in a corner, the hall’s more regular uses appeared to be sports and community meals.

Well over fifty locals gathered to watch the film that Saturday morning.  The vast majority were older or elderly, though a handful of younger adults arrived with children in tow.  A few of the attendees were recognizable as members of churches visited previously by Churchspotting, including a few from Divine Saviour Catholic Church.  As it was not an official church function, dress varied with the attendees’ preference.

The showing of ‘One Nation Under God’ lasted approximately three hours, including an intermission between the film’s two halves.  Though it was shown in a Presbyterian church, the film’s intended audience was explicitly ‘evangelical Christians.’  The film premiered in mid-November of 2011 in Evangelical churches throughout the US and it references the evangelical movement by name throughout its presentation.

The film was fairly straightforward in its goal.  Its host was Bill Dallas, a former California real estate developer who founded the Church Communication Network, a satellite broadcast company, after serving a five year prison term for embezzlement.  Dallas introduced himself in the film as the CEO of United in Purpose, a non-profit organization with the stated end of mobilizing evangelical voters for the 2012 election.  He then introduced Champion the Vote, a campaign started by United in Purpose to find unregistered evangelical voters, register them, and ensure they voted in the 2012 elections for what he called “the agenda of the lamb.”

Three core issues comprise the “agenda of the lamb,” as presented by Dallas and other speakers in “One Nation Under God.”  First and foremost is putting an end to abortion in the United States.  The other issues are, second, support for ‘traditional marriage,’ i.e. between one man and one woman; and third, support for Christian influence and practice in public, daily life.

To support these issues “One Nation Under God” brought on speakers who included evangelical historian David Barton, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, and Dr. James Dobson, founder of the evangelical group Focus on the Family.  Each of these in turn voiced support for making Christian values, as embodied in the three issues listed above, central to American public and political life.

During the intermission pastor Matthew James of Trinity Bible Church in Rock Hill spoke to the audience.  He asked attendees to call on their pastors to get involved in politics, both national and local.  He added that should their pastors be worried about ‘attention from the IRS” as a consequence of political involvement they should seek out a program called SC Renewal Project, an organization that hosts conferences for pastors, including paid hotel stays on-site.