School Board Election Endorsements 2021
Elections have consequences, and the May 18th Special Election is no exception. That is why we want to strongly encourage you to take advantage of this critical opportunity to let your voice be heard by filling out your ballot today.
Many of you will likely see school board candidates listed on your ballot. In an effort to help you make an informed decision, we have endorsed a number of candidates who completed our questionnaire and are committed to taking a stand for family values, liberty, and common sense ideas.
These endorsed candidates are dedicated to getting students back in the classroom, better equipping students for the future, preserving parental involvement, and protecting our students from radical curriculum.
* Please note that our endorsement guide is not an exhaustive list. We sent questionnaires to over 120 candidates in school districts across the state, and the endorsed candidates are those who chose to complete the survey and whose responses align with the principles of Oregon Family Council. Simply because a candidate is not listed does not automatically indicate that they do not hold the same values as those endorsed. For further information, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-257-0444.
Legislative Alert: S.B. 554
Senate Bill 554, a bill banning concealed carry in the Oregon Capitol and other state buildings, passed in the Senate and is now awaiting passage in the House. If signed into law, this legislation would raise the cost of obtaining or renewing a concealed handgun license in addition to allowing local governments the choice to ban firearms carried by those with a concealed handgun license in public buildings.
A public hearing is scheduled for April 21st, which means that now through 1:00 PM on April 22nd, you can submit written testimony on this bill. This is a simple and quick way to let the representatives on the Rules Committee know where you stand on this issue.
For details on SB 554 and to read the bill’s text, click on this link: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/…/Measures/Overview/SB554
To submit testimony, go to this link: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2021R1/Testimony/HRULES
- Next, choose the meeting date: April 21st at 1:00 PM.
- You will then click on SB 554
- From there, you can fill out the form with your information and either write a letter or attach a PDF document
Legislative Alert: Attack on Tax Kicker
Today Senate Democrats approved Senate Bill 846. This bill is an attack on the Oregon Tax Kicker law, for it would take $15 million of the money that is supposed to be returned back to taxpayers, and instead, use it to fund various programs.
The Tax Kicker law ultimately communicates that tax money comes from individuals. If the state collects over a certain percentage of what it forecasts, the excess is returned back to the people. After all, it is the people’s money.
However, Senate Bill 846 and similar legislation that has been introduced over the years seeks to find ways to prevent this money from going back to you. Instead, certain legislators would prefer that this money fund their agenda.
With approval by the Oregon Senate, the bill will now go to the House.
Legislative Alert: S.B. 223
Senate Bill 223 Summary
“Provides process by which private school may become registered with Department of Education. Prescribes requirements for registration. Provides that representation as registered private school when private school is not registered is punishable by not more than 30 days’ imprisonment, $1,250 fine, or both. Prohibits school district from being member of voluntary organization that administers interscholastic activities unless organization limits participation in interscholastic activities to private schools that are registered.”
Back in 1922, Oregonians approved the Compulsory Education Act (CEA). Besides a few exceptions, it required all children ages 8-16 to attend public school. Those who didn’t comply could receive a misdemeanor. With no provision in the act for families to choose a religious private education for their children, the continuance of the CEA would result in the closure of these programs. The Supreme Court recognized that CEA violated the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment and ruled it unconstitutional several years after its adoption.
One would have hoped that Oregon would not repeat this mistake, yet we are witnessing an attack on private schools once again.
At first glance, SB 223 establishes a means by which private schools could voluntarily register with the Department of Education. However, this wording attempts to cover up the true danger of this bill. Using recommendations from an advisory committee, the State Board of Education would set certain standards that private schools must meet in order to be registered. According to the bill’s text, these include teacher, facility, curricula, and calendar requirements that must be met in order to gain and maintain registration with the state.
Private schools – many of which are religiously affiliated – operate independently from the state for a reason. While a number of them choose to be accredited by the state, these schools have the freedom to choose the teachers and curriculum that best represent their values and serve their students. It is concerning to think how the state could control and implement its own agenda through the registration of private schools.
If private schools are not being forced to register, why would this bill be of concern? Unfortunately, SB 223 places voluntary organizations that provide interscholastic activities in a terrible position. This includes organizations like the National Honor Society and the Oregon School Activities Association which offers sports, music, and speech and debate. Organizations would have to choose to either offer membership participation to unregistered private schools OR registered private and public schools. It is one or the other. Of course, the programs would not want to lose their ties with public schools, so unregistered private schools and their students would suffer the unfair consequences.
This bill especially targets students receiving a religious education at private schools, for students would be deprived of having the same privileges as public school students to compete and participate in the same interscholastic activities, putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to college applications and scholarships. Consequently, an entire class of individuals (students of non-registered private schools) would be punished. This is in direct violation of the Oregon Constitution’s Privileges and Immunities Clause.
Public testimony for SB 223 is being held at 3:15 pm on Wednesday, March 17th. We strongly encourage you to make your voice heard and respectfully explain why this bill must be opposed. Written testimony must be submitted prior to 3:15 on March 18th, but we encourage you to do so sooner than later.
HOW TO SUBMIT TESTIMONY
- Click this link to submit testimony to the Senate Committee on Education: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2021R1/Testimony/SED
- Next, choose the meeting date: March 17th at 3:15 PM
- Then, choose SB 223 from the listed bills.
- From there, you can fill out the form with your information and either write a letter or attach a PDF document.
This link has additional information on how to submit written testimony: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/OLIS_help/Pages/Testimony.aspx
Click HERE for a legal analysis.
Click HERE for the full text of SB 223.
Cascade Policy Institute’s submitted testimony has some insightful details regarding the dangers of the bill. You can find that letter HERE.
2021 Legislative Session
The Oregon Capitol Building may be closed to the public, but legislators are still hard at work during the current legislative session. Hundreds of bills have been introduced during the 160-day session that began in January. If passed through the House, Senate, and signed by Governor Brown, these bills will significantly impact our families, schools, communities, paychecks, and freedoms.
As we are currently witnessing, elections have great consequences. After the November election, Democrats hold a three-fifths majority in the Senate (18-12) and in the House (37-23). This means that Democrats can essentially vote through any of their bills without a single Republican vote. The Republicans, on the other hand, can deny a quorum and stall votes on the floor if they are not present. They have already chosen to use this tactic once this session in order to make a statement to the Governor that schools need to re-open.
These elected officials are to represent their constituents. That is why it is essential that we participate in the process by contacting our legislators and respectfully communicating our opinions about the bills on which they are voting. With committees meeting virtually, one can also easily submit written testimony on a bill that is scheduled for a public hearing.
Finally, we encourage everyone to pray for our leaders as they serve in their positions of influence. May God impart His wisdom, discernment, and courage to stand for righteousness.
Find Your Legislator
Instructions for Submitting Testimony on a Bill
Oregon Bills & Laws Home Page
Get Your Copy Today
The Oregon Family Council Christian Voter’s Guide is now available! If you don’t yet have a copy, you can order a paper or online version by filling out the form here.
Both the printed and online Voter’s Guide covers federal, state, and local races and shows where these candidates stand on issues that are important to voters. This edition also offers information and recommendations for all four state-wide ballot measures.
For this election, we are pleased to offer an extended online version which includes additional local races and ballot measures. By requesting the online Guide, you will automatically receive the extended version.
As a Christian, voting is not only a privilege, but another means we have to meaningfully impact society. That fact will be confirmed when viewing OFC’s Voter’s Guide. In race after race you’ll discover significant differences among candidates on crucial issues like preserving religious liberties, limited government, and the all-important protection of human life. Now more than ever we must exercise our right to vote to elect leaders who will uphold our constitutional rights and be a voice for unity and peace.
We hope the Voter’s Guide is a helpful resource as you complete your ballot. Please join us in praying for this election and the future of our state and nation!
If you would like to help support the work we are doing, you can make a Political Tax Credit contribution here. Thank you!
Voter’s Guide is Almost Here!
As November quickly approaches, it is perhaps clearer than ever how vitally important it is to participate in the upcoming election. With the divisiveness in our streets and politics, threats to churches and First Amendment rights, and the future of our nation at stake, it is essential that we all pray and vote.
At Oregon Family Council, we are diligently working on publishing the Christian Voter’s Guide to distribute to individuals and churches across the state. Our Guide shows where local, state, and federal candidates stand on a wide variety of relevant issues. It also offers recommendations on a number of ballot measures. Since 1980, we have offered this insightful resource free of charge, and we want to make sure you get a copy! To have a Voter’s Guide mailed to you, click here.
We will also be making an extended online edition of the Voter’s Guide available on October 14th. Check back soon to access this resource.
Every single vote is vital in this election, so if you are not registered to vote or have recently moved or changed political parties, please click here and update your information by October 13th.
A few important dates to remember:
- October 9th – Christian Voter’s Guides available for distribution
- October 13th – Last day to register to vote
- October 14th – Ballots are mailed & online edition of the Voter’s Guide is available
- November 3rd – Election Day!
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.