A megachurch in San Antonio, Texas, is not going to avoid the elephant in the room any longer. Its pastors have decided to talk from the pulpit about the upcoming presidential election.
"This is a big one," said Pastor Randy Frazee to the Oak Hills Church congregation on Sunday regarding the Nov. 6, 2012, election. "It seems like maybe with the state of the economy, the state of world affairs, the state of ongoing wards, there just seems to be a lot at stake right now."
"Maybe this upcoming election might unite us or it might further divide us," the senior minister said, describing this year's election as "a little bit more polarized" than previous ones he has participated in.
During his sermon Sunday, Frazee didn't tell the congregation who would make a better president for the next four years – Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. He didn't discuss specific policies either. But he did call on Christians to cast a vote for Jesus.
He wasn't suggesting that Christians write in Jesus on the ballot but he was encouraging them to make Jesus the "president" and lord of their lives and then vote accordingly.
"Jesus for President" is Oak Hills' newest sermon series that will run for four more weeks, with renowned author Max Lucado scheduled to speak next. The series, the church says, "isn't about ... Republican or Democratic parties, hot button political issues and political rallies." Instead, it "seeks to capture biblical principles and encourage you to live them out in your life."
"When we let Christ rule our lives and decisions we join His campaign."
One major biblical principle that Frazee highlighted on Sunday is the value of every life, what he listed as part of Jesus' "Bill of Rights."
During the Greek and Roman empires, women were highly devalued, the pastor cited. It was common practice at the time to kill baby girls upon delivery, abortion was prevalent, daughters were forced to marry before puberty, and female widows were pressured to remarry so that their inheritance from their late husbands would be transferred to their new husbands.
It was Jesus who valued women. And following the principles of Jesus, Christians in the early years prohibited infanticide and abortion, and protected young girls and widows. Sociologist Rodney Stark believes this contributed to the rapid growth of Christianity and thus impacted society.
Frazee asked Christians to rediscover the principle of seeing people the way Jesus sees them – with extreme value. Today, the largest group of people who are devalued in society are children, Frazee said.
More than 400,000 children are in the U.S. foster care system or waiting to be on it, 13 million worldwide are awaiting adoption, and 42 million worldwide are aborted annually, he said.
"What if the body of Christ, what if the church were to value these children and act on that declaration like the church did for women in the first 350 years of the church?" Frazee asked.
Lamenting the problem of the breakdown of families today, the Texas pastor urged believers to help build stronger families – whether through adoption, mentoring, fostering, supporting other families, or simply praying for children at risk by name.
By building such families on biblical grounds, Frazee believes there could be a seismic shift in faith around the world.
Though he did not discuss politics specifically, Frazee did encourage the congregation to let their voice and values count during the presidential election.
"Max and myself are inviting you to pray for your leaders and we're inviting you with all that Jesus has been teaching you and has done for you to simply take that with you whatever you do, including vote," he stated.