Ed Hester “has a burden” for Christians who don’t vote, and is fervently working to increase the numbers during the early voting period, currently ongoing through Thursday, Nov. 1.
Not only is he making personal appeals to friends, fellow church members at First Baptist Concord and acquaintances, he has personally developed a public service announcement encouraging Christians to cast their ballots, a document he has shared with several area churches.
“Studies show that about 50 percent of Christians stay home, and don’t vote,” he said. “It is troubling, but if you want good folks in government, you (as a Christian) have to have a standard.
“It is a burden for me that there are so many folks not showing up,” Hester added. “I just feel the Lord has led me to do this.”
Hester believes his extensive background in sales and marketing has uniquely equipped him to help provide information he believes will help boost voting numbers. He carries color copies of the announcement with him, and he has dropped them off in person, primarily at churches.
He also has e-mailed the document to various entities — but sometimes his message has not been well-received.
“Some folks haven’t called me back,” he said. “I think they may think I am trying to be political, but I am just concerned about getting the word out.”
On the public service announcement document, Hester suggests Christians contemplate II Chronicles 7:14: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
While he did not say if he is a registered Republican or Democrat, Hester is no stranger to politics: he is heavily involved in the conservative civic organization ACT For America.
However, Hester said his call for Christians to vote goes out to Democrats, Republicans, Independents and any other party in which a given Christian has affiliation.
“I am not concerned with parties, labels or philosophies,” he said. “I have always said to vote your Biblical values, and to let the Lord guide you.”
He also makes the following bullet points: “that God blessed us with a Republic, and He wills it; that good men and women fought and died to give you this right; and your vote impacts how our America will go.”The document goes on to list the dates and times for Early Voting, which continues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday (until 7 p.m. on Oct. 29, 30 and Nov. 1), and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at eight different locations in the Knoxville area, including Farragut Town Hall.
Hester said these days of Early Voting gives ample opportunity for “choose a sunny day, and go at your leisure, and beat the crowds.
“Elections are too important to sit home,” he added. “You would think people would want to exercise this right.”
Hester said he believes key reasons Christians don’t vote have to do with “apathy, and being focused inward. People are thinking about taking care of their families, but if they don’t take care of the nation there won’t be families to take care of.”