It’s Time to Vote: May 19th Primary Election
This primary election is like none other we’ve previously experienced. With statewide stay-at-home orders in place, local candidates have had to re-think their campaign strategies. The past few months would normally include reaching out to potential voters by hosting events, participating in debates, and knocking on doors. Now all campaign activities are currently limited to online platforms.
Nevertheless, the May 19th primary election is still taking place, and it is essential that we exercise our civic duty to vote!
We understand the crucial importance of making an informed vote when filling out your ballot. For this reason, we have published the Christian Voter’s Guide and distributed it free of charge for 40 years. We have been diligently working to survey and research candidates who are running for office at federal, statewide, county, and local levels. Using this information, the Voter’s Guide shows where candidates stand on various issues including abortion, religious liberties, education, and taxes.
We are happy to announce that the 2020 Primary Election Edition is now available. To request a copy of the Voter’s Guide, fill out the form HERE.
Equality is an important principle our nation has championed and defended. As individuals created in the image of God, we are equally loved and valued in His eyes. Therefore, we similarly are in turn to love those around us.
In today’s culture, however, we are witnessing a skewed view of equality. Rather than focusing on equal treatment under the law, a radical agenda to favor a certain ideology is being promoted instead.
Perhaps one of the best examples to illustrate this shift is H.R. 5, the “Equality Act.” Approved by the House of Representatives earlier this summer, its stated purpose is “To prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.” Discrimination should not be tolerated. However, while seeking to remove discrimination relating to sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, this bill ultimately ends up discriminating against and punishing individuals, athletes, ministries, and businesses who hold a traditional view of marriage and gender.
According to the Family Research Council, “The ‘Equality Act’ would mandate government-imposed unfairness by requiring acceptance of a particular ideology about sexual ethics.” This dangerous piece of legislation would have many consequences. Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi recognized this reality when she said, “If there is some collateral damage for some others who do not share our view, so be it.” The Family Research Council warns that this damage would include:
- Women and girls forced to share publicly accessible bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers with men and boys
- Female athletes made to compete against biological males who self-identify as female
- Parents faced with unnecessary hurdles to getting their gender-confused children the professional counseling they so desperately need
- Doctors having no conscience protections against being ordered to perform abortions and sex-change operations
- Christian artists and business owners required to host and celebrate same-sex weddings, or have their businesses destroyed.
H.R. 5 must be a wakeup call for believers to take action in order to protect and preserve the great principles of this nation and our First Amendment rights. We cannot simply sit around wishing for change. Will you pray for our leaders who are voting on legislation that greatly impacts our lives, and will you take action to stand up for righteousness? Our nation needs you.
For more detailed information on H.R. 5, Family Research Council has written a thorough issue brief that can be found here.
Defending Religious Freedom
Since the founding of America, religious freedom has been a symbol of this great country. As James Madison, a Founding Father of our nation, wrote, “The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right.”1 Our Founding Fathers believed that the unalienable right to live out one’s deeply held beliefs in both the church and public arena was essential, so they included this protection in the First Amendment. However, this valued liberty is currently being attacked on multiple fronts.
Most recently, H.R. 5, also known as the “Equality Act,” passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Championed by Speaker Pelosi and sponsored by Oregon US Senator Jeff Merkley, H.R. 5 is a dangerous piece of legislation. According to the Family Research Council, “The ‘Equality Act’ would mandate government-imposed unfairness by requiring acceptance of a particular ideology about sexual ethics.” Furthermore, it “explicitly removes bi-partisan religious liberty protections found in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” To read the full issue brief, click here. Todd Starnes also writes about it here.
As people of faith who desire to live out our beliefs, what can be done to protect religious freedom? Here are three ways you can make a difference.
Educate yourself and share that knowledge with others. One of the most effective ways to defend the First Amendment is to know its history and true intent. The best sources are the Founding Fathers’ themselves. Start with reading the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and also discover insightful commentary in the Federalist Papers. Furthermore, find scholars, think tanks, and historians who hold an originalist view of the Constitution and explore their writings. With this wealth of knowledge, begin encouraging others with what you have discovered. Whether it is your children, friends, co-workers, or people you attend church with, share why religious freedom is essential and why we must come together to protect it.
Take a stand. If we don’t take action to preserve religious liberty, who will? If we desire to live out our faith in the public square, then it is our responsibility to stand up and let our voices be heard. One critical action is to elect men and women to office who will uphold the First Amendment and not support legislation like H.R. 5. Because these people represent you, it is also essential to hold them accountable and encourage them to support or oppose certain bills. As we stand for truth, we can take comfort in the words of Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you where you go.”
Pray. Prayer is what will ultimately change hearts and minds. Pray for our legislators, judges, and those who influence policy decisions. Pray for favor with the media. Pray that Americans will recognize the importance of religious freedom. And pray that this right would be upheld and preserved for generations to come.
May 21st Election
It’s time for another election! As you look over your ballot, you will notice that candidates are vying for local positions such as school board, community college directors, and water district commissioners. You may even have a city measure to support or oppose.
We encourage you to participate in this election by voting. While the positions listed on your ballot may seem less significant than a state-wide or federal office, these men and women will be making decisions that will influence you, your children, and your neighbors.
Consequently, it is essential that we fill out our ballots and return them by May 21st.
For those living in the Salem-Keizer School Board District, we have endorsed three pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious liberty candidates who need your support. They include:
- Zone 2: Marty Heyen
- Zone 4: Satya Chandragiri
- Zone 6: Danielle Bethell
Remember that in order for your ballot to count, you must either mail it five days prior to the election or drop it off at an official drop box site.
You can find your closest drop box location here: https://sos.oregon.gov/voting/pages/drop-box-locator.aspx
National Day of Prayer
This Thursday, May 2nd, is the National Day of Prayer. People in every state will be joining together at local churches, government buildings, flag poles, homes, and parks to unify in prayer for America. We encourage you to find a local gathering and participate in this important day.
You can search for nearby events at this website: https://nationaldayofprayer.org/events
Our country is in desperate need of prayer and revival. As 2 Chronicles 7:14 reveals, there is great power when believers “humble themselves and pray and seek [God’s] face and turn from their wicked ways,” for God promises, “I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Leaders of the National Day of Prayer are asking that people pray for four specific areas during the month of May. Will you commit to praying each day?
1. Ask God to bless the United State of America
2. Pray for Americans to love one another, beginning among Christ followers
3. Pray for the centers of influence in America
4. Ask God for the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 2, to become a catalytic spiritual movement across America
More specific prayer points in these four areas can be found here.
This week, Oregon Senators unanimously voted to approve Senate Bill 638 which seeks to protect the lives of dogs and cats who are used for laboratory research. Rather than euthanizing these animals after testing has been completed, the bill would require that healthy dogs and cats be placed for adoption. As Sen. Steiner Hayward, the sponsor of this legislation states, “‘These animals should have a chance to live a normal, healthy life with a loving family.’”1
We agree that life is valuable and should be protected. For this reason, we believe the principle that is applied to saving dogs and cats should also remain true when it comes to a life in a mother’s womb.
If legislators are fighting to give cats and dogs the right to live a full life, then why are they not doing the same for voiceless and vulnerable human lives? Statistics show that less than 50 dogs and cats were likely affected in 2017 from scientific research in our state.2 However, over 8,000 lives were terminated through abortion in Oregon that same year.3 Clearly, a double standard exists in Salem.
According to Oregon Humane Society President Sharon Harmon, “‘This bill would open the door to partnerships that could save thousands of lives and enrich the lives of those who take them in.”’4 Imagine how many thousands of lives would be saved if our legislators fought to protect the unborn too.
Contact your legislators today and remind them that all lives are worth protecting. You can find your legislators and their contact information here.
Bills Seeking to Expand Death With Dignity Act
Nearly 25 years ago, Oregonians approved a ballot measure legalizing physician-assisted suicide. After facing legal challenges, the Death with Dignity Act was implemented in 1997. This made Oregon the first state in the nation to embrace one’s right to medically end his or her life if faced with a terminal illness. Since then, six states and the District of Columbia have legalized Death with Dignity statutes.
During this legislative session, several bills have been introduced that seek to create loopholes that may put innocent people in danger and make it easier to end one’s life.
- House Bills 2217, 2232, and 2903 expand the ways assisted suicide can be administered. They create a path for a bad actor to end a vulnerable person’s life and make it look like assisted suicide.
- House Bills 2232 and 2903 would allow people who are not terminally ill to end their life by broadening the definition of terminal illness to include those years away from dying, even if there is a known treatment.
- Senate Bill 579 creates a “fast track” request scheme for those who are believed to be at the very end of life. It bypasses what protections exist in the current law. This loophole will put the most vulnerable people at risk of being coerced into ending their lives.
We view these bills as a threat to valuable lives made in the image of God. Individuals already have the option of ending their lives through physician-assisted suicide. Why make it easier to do so? We urge you to contact your legislators and ask them to protect vulnerable Oregonians by opposing these bills.
You can find your elected representatives and their contact information by clicking here.
Dangers of Socialism
Socialism. It is an issue that is currently at the forefront of our political debates. With a number of prominent politicians championing the ideals of democratic socialism, we hear promises including free college, Medicare for all, and a $15 minimum wage. To many, these ideas are attractive, for they appear to provide greater economic equality and justice. Despite the initial appeal, these policies are grounded in socialistic ideology. Therefore, it is essential to understand what socialism actually is.
According to a 2018 Gallup poll, Americans hold varying views on the definition of socialism. The most popular view of those who responded (23%) said that socialism means “equal standing for everybody, all equal in rights, equal in distribution.”¹ Only 17% of people identified socialism as “Government ownership or control, government ownership of utilities, everything controlled by the government, state control of business.”² Interestingly, when asked this same question in 1949, 12% of respondents attributed equality with socialism whereas 34% believed it to be bigger government.³ It is no surprise that these views have recently been flipped, for those promoting socialist ideals often argue how it will result in economic and social justice.
But what is the correct definition of socialism? In a recent report by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, socialism is determined by “the degree to which (a) the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned or regulated by the state; and (b) the state uses its control to distribute the economic output without regard for final consumers’ willingness to pay or exchange.”4 Ultimately, socialism seeks to eliminate private property and free market exchange and replace it with one-size-fits-all government-run programs. To believers in socialism, this is the only way in which to bring about an equal society that eliminates the gap between the rich and poor.
History proves that while socialism may initially sound appealing, in reality, it has grave consequences. Let’s take a look at what democratic socialism could lead to.
- Elimination of private property. Slowly, but surely, socialism seeks to remove one’s ownership of property from the individual to the state. If what is yours truly belongs to the government, they will also be the ones who can tell you how, when, or how often you can use it.
- Lack of incentive to work and contribute to society. If everyone receives the same wage regardless of one’s performance or skills, what would motivate an employee to grow in knowledge, discover ways to be more efficient, or even show up consistently?
- Loss of competition. If the government were to take over more programs, industries, and services, similar businesses would no longer be competing against each other to attract customers.
- Bigger government leads to a more powerful government. When the production and distribution of goods and services is centralized, the government has immense control over nearly every area of one’s life. Education, food, healthcare, and employment are just the beginning. Why wouldn’t their reach also include religion, freedom of speech, morality, and the Church?
- Resources owned and spent by the government. Do you trust yourself or the government to spend money that best meets your needs or desires in the most efficient way? With the waste, corruption, and impersonal nature of government, the individual is much more capable of using his or her dollars more efficiently. However, in a socialist country, this privilege is surrendered to the state.
We urge you to study the teachings of Karl Marx and the tragic results his ideology has had on a number of countries throughout history and in modern day. We must not succumb to the shiny promises made by certain politicians, but rather, we must uphold the economic principles of free market capitalism that has helped make this country great.
Senate Vote on Life
Earlier this week, the US Senate voted on a bill known as the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. This legislation, sponsored by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), sought protection and care for babies born who survive an attempted abortion. According to the bill’s text, “Any infant born alive after an abortion…has the same claim to the protection of the law that would arise for any newborn…”¹ As a result, it would require health care practitioners to exercise proper care for the newborn and establish punishments if the baby was killed outside of the womb.
In explaining the purpose of his bill, Senator Sasse said, “I urge my colleagues to picture a baby that’s already been born, that’s outside the womb gasping for air…That’s the only thing that today’s vote is actually about. We’re talking about babies that have already been born. Nothing in this bill touches abortion access.”²
Therefore, this bill ultimately brings up the question, “Should a living, breathing baby be given the right to life, or should this human being be killed because the abortion was unsuccessful?”
On Monday, 53 Senators voted to uphold an innocent baby’s right to life and receive proper medical care after his or her birth. However, 44 voted in opposition, including Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. Consequently, the bill was defeated as it did not reach the necessary 60 votes.
The result of Monday’s vote is deeply saddening and heartbreaking, for many of our elected leaders in Washington refused to stand up to protect innocent human beings – babies made in the image of God.
While this issue has recently been in the spotlight on a national issue, it is important to look at our own state. Currently, Oregon has no laws restricting abortion, meaning that allowing a baby who survives an abortion to die is completely legal.
At the heart of this issue is a spiritual battle. Therefore, we must take 2 Chronicles 7:14 to heart: “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 will forgive their sin and heal their land” (NKJV). Will you join us in praying and taking a stand for life?
Will You Pray?
In Oregon and all across the country, legislators are meeting in their state capitol buildings to propose legislation, create budgets, and pass laws. These elected officials hold significant power, making decisions that not only affect our wallets, but legislating issues influencing religious liberties, size of government, and life and death.
During this time, it is especially critical that as followers of Christ, we pray for our leaders in government. Writing and calling our legislators, attending legislative hearings, and staying informed on the issues is important, but prayer is the most effective action we can take.
Ephesians 6:12 shines light on the reality that we are not merely in the midst of a political battle but a spiritual battle. Paul warns, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (NIV).
Paul further writes in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Will you commit to praying for your leaders and the decisions that are being made at all levels of government? Here are several prayer points to start with:
- Fear of the Lord
- Salvation & Revival
We can take heart that our prayers are not fruitless. Rather, God promises that “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b). Furthermore, as 1 John 5:14-15 states, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” When we pray the Father’s will, we can be assured that he hears, cares, and is working on our behalf.
To find your elected representatives to pray for them by name, click here.
Intercessors for America is an excellent ministry that offers helpful prayer points and resources for those wanting to pray for America and its leaders. You can find their website here. You can also find your congressional district and pray for your specific government leaders here.