Are conservative Christians fleeing liberal states for more conservative ones?
If not, should they be?
According to the latest United States Census, the top five states losing a combined four million in population included New York, California, New Jersey, Illinois and Michigan – all liberal bastions.
The ideological exodus hasn’t been limited to just the citizenry, as businesses and organizations flee for more friendly state governments. Over the past few years, thousands of companies have fled California and New York. The Daily Wire, the conservative news juggernaut, has relocated its headquarters from Los Angeles to Nashville. In early December, Tesla announced its move from California to Texas. The NRA did likewise, joining scores of others finding sanctuary in the Lone Star State.
In the wake of COVID restrictions in certain states, even liberal politicians have been spotted vacationing in less restrictive areas like Florida, eliciting cries of hypocrisy.
Of course, as often has been said, only somewhat tongue in cheek, if liberals didn’t have double standards, they might not have any standards at all.
At this point, it’s unknown how many of those relocating to more conservative states are Christian and conservative, but common sense would suggest many of them are both. Anecdotally, we probably all know fellow conservative believers who are in liberal states and fed up with aggressively antagonistic school districts or disgusted by legislatures codifying abortion. Many have simply said, “Enough is enough” and have either moved or are planning to do so in the future.
As Christians, though, should we stay and engage to help bring about change or seek a better set of circumstances somewhere else?
When the apostle Paul was writing to the church at Corinth, stating that “Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them” (1 Cor. 7:20), was he admonishing anyone who leaves a bad situation in search of something and somewhere better?
Cherry-picking Scripture is always dangerous. In this particular passage, Paul reminds believers that each of us are called to lead the life God has for us – not the life someone else assigns us. In other words, each Christian must prayerfully discern God’s will for their life and find contentment in that calling. He might be calling one family to live in the middle of liberal New York City and another to move to the more conservative shores of Florida.
Back in the early 1990s, Focus on the Family, which was founded by Dr. James Dobson in California in 1977, was wrestling with the challenge of managing a burgeoning ministry in a state with an already exorbitant and rising cost of living. How do you attract and retain staff who can’t afford to live within driving distance of the organization?
After much prayer and discernment, Focus on the Family’s Board of Directors made the decision to relocate the ministry to Colorado Springs – a faith-friendly city that is also home to the El Pomar Foundation. This philanthropic group generously provided a $4 million grant to our organization, making the purchase and construction of our headquarters and property possible.
Every Christian individual and family are called to similarly discern God’s plan for their lives, especially where they will live, worship, work and play.
It should be noted that Christians who live in more conservative states should refrain from demonizing other more liberal areas, and sometimes vice versa for more reasons than one. First, political allegiances can be fickle and cyclical. Red states regularly turn blue. Second – and perhaps most importantly, Bible believing Christians and solid, evangelical churches exist everywhere – even in the middle of the most liberal, urban city.
Expect the great conservative migration to continue, and perhaps God is calling you to be part of it. But as we pray and discern God’s will in our lives, keep in mind that no city or state is a panacea. Struggle and frustration exist everywhere. Wherever you are, do what you can – and then do the best that you can do.
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