Subject: Millennials, Jesus Christ and the Constitution – Can They Make History Again?
Psalm 11:3 “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
What is a “Millennial”? The Pew Research Center defines them simply by age: from 18-35. In terms of voting potential, they might be a force to reckon with in the 2016 election. Richard Fry, of the Pew Research Center, reports that “As of April 2016, 69.2 million Millennials were voting-age U.S. citizens… almost equal to the 69.7 million Baby Boomers (ages 52-70) in the nation’s electorate…. Both generations comprise roughly 31% of the voting-eligible population.”
But Fry also makes a caveat: “While the growth in the number of Millennials who are eligible to vote underscores the potential electoral clout of today’s young adults, Millennials remain far from the largest generational bloc of actual voters. It is one thing to be eligible to vote and another entirely to cast a ballot.”
The Millennial’s past impact on deciding our next Commander-in-Chief hasn’t been very significant. They consistently have been the lowest percentage to vote in Presidential elections. In 2012, only about 46% said they voted. Compare this to “Generation X” (ages 36-51), with 61% voting, “Baby Boomers” (ages 52-70), with 69% voting, and the “Greatest Generation” (age 71+), where 72% voted in 2012.
But in this election, the impact of Millennials could be huge for two reasons: 1) it is the first time that they are all old enough to vote, and 2) 76% of Millennial voters say Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who has vowed to change the Constitution, cannot be trusted. I bring this up because there has only been one other time in American history where Millennials played such a crucial role in our nation’s Constitution. But it wasn’t in protecting it – it was in creating it.
On August 2, 1776, our founding fathers – those whom we credit with leading the American Revolution to establish the greatest nation the world has ever seen – signed the Declaration of Independence. Just 11 years later (September 17, 1787), our Constitution was signed by many of the same people. Their average age? Only 44, with nearly half under 40. Our “Founding Fathers” were actually “Founding Millennials”.
And what did these “Founding Millennials” make priority #1 in the Constitution? In his article ‘The US Constitution and Religious Liberty’, political writer and lawyer David Limbaugh gives us the answer: “The freedom of religion and the freedom of religious worship were of such paramount importance to the Framers that they guaranteed them in the very first two clauses of the very first amendment to the Constitution, the establishment clause and the free exercise clause…. which was a dedication to the idea that the federal government should not establish a national church — because to do so would diminish religious liberty. The free exercise clause, by its very terms, expressly guarantees the freedom of worship.”
So our founders thought religious liberty is the most important liberty any American could have. And where would such a young generation come up with such a scandalous idea? In crafting the Constitution, they purposely divided the government into three distinct branches (Judicial, Legislative and Executive) in order to create a system of checks and balances that would prevent any one of them becoming too powerful. Where did this idea come from? The Old Testament Book of Isaiah: “The Lord is our Judge; the Lord is our Lawgiver; the Lord is our King; he will save us.” (Isaiah 33:22).
And who is this King whom our Millennial founders looked to for salvation? On April 18, 1775, about a year before signing the Declaration of Independence, Paul Revere arrived at Reverend Jonas Clarke’s home to warn him that the Redcoats were approaching. The next morning British Major Pitcairn shouted to a regiment of Minutemen: “Disperse, ye villains, lay down your arms in the name of George the Sovereign King of England.” Reverend Clarke, the new leader of the militia, responded with what is known as the Battle Cry of the American Revolution: “We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus.”
Now, 240 years later, with over 30% of the vote, our Millennials are again at a place in history where they can be a critical player in America’s future. But this time what is at stake isn’t whether or not America will be born. Rather, it’s whether or not America’s Christian foundation will remain. As this week’s verse says, for those of us who claim Jesus Christ as their King, if the next administration destroys our foundations (The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence), the America we know and love will be gone.