I must warn you upfront that this is not a typical December letter. How nice it would be to focus solely on the warmth and blessedness of this sacred Christmas season. However, what happened on Election Day 2023 must be addressed head-on if we are going to help change our country's current immoral and destructive trajectory. Yet, if you'll stay with me to the end, I believe you will be encouraged. Amidst these distressing times, there is still hope!
I am writing these words to you a few days after the recent mid-term elections, and, sadly, it was not a positive outcome. Actually, it was downright disheartening.
Nowhere was this outcome more glaring than in Ohio. Tragically, the people of this state enshrined within their constitution the right to murder an unborn child throughout any stage of pregnancy. Specifically, abortion is now legal if a physician deems the baby not "viable" or determines to abort the child in order to "protect the pregnant woman's life or health." Because the legislation defines "viable" on a "case-by-case basis" as determined by the treating physician, and fails to delineate the meaning of "health," this is nothing but a scantily disguised invitation for abortionists to do their butchery on our most vulnerable children. Almost as troubling, the language in the amendment provides no age limitations, meaning this so-called "reproductive" constitutional right is available to minors.1 No parental consent is needed! To add salt on this detestable and festering immoral wound, Ohioans also voted to legalize recreational marijuana.
I wish I could tell you that Ohio was an outlier. Yet, it wasn't. Across our country, fellow citizens voted against the sanctity of human life and biblically-based values, and elected both liberal politicians and policies. Kentucky was on the verge of electing a pro-life governor but chose not to. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the people elected a pro-abortion Supreme Court justice, and in Virginia, the liberal Democrats won full control of the state legislature. To put it plainly, America's shining light on a hill grew dimmer after this election, and there is no way to sugarcoat the fact that the ideologies of darkness have advanced.
Here is a sampling of information gathered by the Ohio exit polls.
Liberals accounted for 34% of voters in Ohio exit poll results, up sharply from 20% in the 2022 midterms and 21% in the 2020 presidential election. That's a record-high turnout among liberals in Ohio exit polls dating back to 1984. They backed both the abortion and marijuana referenda by vast margins, 94-6% for abortion and 85-15% for marijuana… What's more, turnout this year among Republicans, 35% of voters, was down 6 percentage points compared with the 2022 midterms. That's a low since 2012.2
An exit poll conducted by The Washington Post found that 24% of "White evangelical or born-again Christians" voted in favor of the Issue 1 amendment [for abortion].3
With literally life and death and good versus evil issues on the ballot, not enough Bible-believing, church-going Christians and conservatives showed up to protect our most defenseless children. Not only that, there seemed to be a significant percent of professing believers in Jesus Christ who voted for the right to murder unborn children. This is as outrageous as it is sickening!
Based on the explicit instruction found in Scripture, how can we, as believers, not proclaim and shine God's goodness when it is within our power to do so? This display of godly virtue by His people most certainly compels our civic duty to vote and to stand firm against the evils of our day. If not God's redeemed, then who?
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-14)
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. (Proverbs 3:27)
We know from Scripture that faith without works is dead, and this is difficult to write, but it appears a sizable portion of professing Christians' faith is dead or merely surviving on life support. The results of this election and the growing darkness in America speak to this reality. Either way you look at it, many pastors and church bodies in America are not willing to add "salt" or to "shine" God's living truth on the prevailing cultural issues that are destroying lives, families, and this nation, i.e., abortion, transgenderism, pornography, and critical race theory (CRT). Satan is having a heyday because of it. If God's people are reluctant to do good when it's within our power to act, then the people in this nation and the world have little hope.
However, we must not despair, and this is not a time to grow despondent. As a young boy, my parents echoed the saying of many men and women who had gone through extreme difficulties, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." My father and mother have embodied this statement their entire lives, knowing that their Heavenly Father is watching over them. Over the years, I've grown to appreciate the veracity of this saying when it is placed alongside Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Regardless of how grim things may appear, hope remains intact because of the God we serve.
At a recent event sponsored by JDFI, we were blessed to have Charlie Kirk, president of Turning Point USA, as one of our speakers. He addressed this very topic, and I believe it is a fitting message. Here is a short excerpt from what Charlie shared with us:
The attitude that I receive most from Christians is an attitude of despair. And that's a big problem. It should be the opposite. It should be an attitude of joy and hope and optimism. We know how the story ends. How blessed are we to live through all of this? To increase the population of Heaven as things are completely falling apart. To be salt and light. To occupy until He comes. But we are allowing far too often, and I'm a victim of it, an attitude of, "Boy, it all just feels as if it's fallen apart." We have to understand, I believe firmly, that that is an act of defiance against the Lord. In fact, our attitude must be one of hope, and our actions must also be about hope.
Amen, Charlie! While we can be disappointed and even grieve over the state of this country, we must not wallow in our losses.
Just consider that at the providential moment in history, when humanity had no hope, God sent His only Son to this earth as a tiny babe to save us from our sins.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
This is why I love Christmas! This holy triumphant season cuts through the chaos and sinfulness of mankind and compels our praise for God's rescue mission for humanity, in and through the first advent of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He was the God-man, who set the example and lived the perfect life for us—with the cross of Calvary always in His sight. His purpose was eternally defined and so should be ours. We, too, are called to take up our cross and follow Him wherever He leads us.
Jesus understood too well and even promised that we would face trials and losses along the way. He knew His disciples would be persecuted and scattered, and the majority even killed for their faith. Just prior to Jesus leaving this world to be with the Father, He encouraged and prayed for His disciples and for those who would come after them.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NKJV)
May the words of our Savior, "I have overcome this world," encourage all of us as we celebrate this Yuletide season—the arrival of The King of kings, The Prince of Peace, Immanuel—God with us. This is why we will continue to fight the good fight, regardless of the temporal losses we sustain. And this is an essential truth of our faith. When we fall, and we will, we must get up and dust ourselves off, knowing that our Lord has already won the battle for us.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:3)
The election of 2023 is over. We suffered great losses. Now it's time to regroup, and get ready for 2024. Our Lord is waiting for us to work with Him to accomplish great things in our homes, churches, communities, nation, and around the world. Will the American church once again find its voice? I pray that it does, and may it become our finest hour. JDFI will continue to do all we can to help and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ as we seek to apply God's redeeming truth and grace in all areas of life.
Before I conclude this letter, I would like to share an important update.
In this time of great need for the institution of the family and for our country, Dr. Dobson and the JDFI board of directors recently passed a resolution to launch three timely ministry initiatives that will carry forward the impact of Dr. Dobson's legacy efforts, now and into the future. This three-fold emphasis includes Dr. Dobson's timeless lifework of transforming truths rooted in Scripture that have strengthened marriages and parents for generations, expanding policy impact, and engaging the culture. You can find out more details about these critical initiatives in the handout that accompanies this letter.
We are praying that our Lord blesses our efforts for such a time as this.
Also, by God's grace and through the generosity of close friends, we have a matching grant during the month of December. Your ministry gift will be doubled while the grant lasts! Thank you for standing with us.
Finally, as you gather with loved ones this Christmas, remind each other to "be of good cheer." We are, indeed, a blessed people who are called to share the Good News with others: Our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born this day! On behalf of Dr. Dobson and the entire JDFI staff, have a joyous Christmas and New Year celebration!
God's blessings to you and your family.
P.S. Dr. Dobson requested that I ask you to join in our continual prayers "for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6). May our Lord pour out His mercy and love upon these hurting people and intervene to rescue the hostages and all other Israelis in harm's way.
1 Nelson Carney, Jennifer M. and Pierce Reisz, Lisa and Killworth, Allen R. and Sutton, Eric (November 13, 2023) Abortion Rights to Be Codified in Ohio State Constitution, Health Law Advisor, Web.
2 Filer, Christine and Langer, Gary and De Jong, Allison (November 7, 2023) Why Ohio voters approved abortion ballot measure, according to exit polling, ABC News, Web.
3 Impelli, Matthew (November 8, 2023) Christians Turn on Republicans Over Abortion, Newsweek, Web.
This letter may be reproduced without change and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes without prior permission from the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. Copyright, 2023 JDFI. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Printed in the U.S.
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