Principles You Can Take to the Ballot Box
I have been saying for many months that the most important election of our lives may take place on November 2. The present administration in the United States is dangerously veering this nation down a road of reckless spending, social experimentation and class warfare.
As both believers and citizens, we must cry out to God for his mercy and grace and exercise our incredible right to vote for a change of direction. That vote will take place on November 2nd. My cell phone and e-mail box are already filling up with messages asking my opinion on how to vote.
Here are the principles that guide my own votes, and also some recommendations for Washington voters on how to navigate the many Initiatives on the ballot this year.
If you are a Washington State resident, please forward this e-mail to those it might help.
First of all, the principles.
There are a number of things I take into consideration when deciding how to vote for a candidate.
1. World view – Which candidate has the clearest and most consistent Judeo-Christian worldview both on economic and social issues? I actually put this before a candidate’s professed faith. You can be a Christian in heart but have a secular world view in terms of policy positions. This was the problem with Jimmy Carter in 1976. He professed faith in Christ but did not have a biblical worldview. That’s one reason why he was a poor and ineffective president.
2. Personal faith – this does make a difference. One who believes in God and has made Jesus Christ the Lord of his or her life will generally make wiser and more noble decisions in the public arena. A person of genuine faith is likely to have greater integrity and honesty than the secular candidate who has lesser restraints on his actions and words (a lack of the fear of God).
3. Do they believe in individual freedom in economic issues and government restraints on morality? This is the biblical balance. A strict libertarian believes in individual freedom in all areas, including morality. A consistent progressive believes in government controls in all areas. The biblical Christian desires freedom for business and commerce which encourages personal responsibility and prosperity but also supports government restraints on sinful behavior (abortion, pornography, homosexual marriage etc.). God wants people to both have liberty to soar and to be protected from sin.
4. Who is supporting the candidate? Endorsements tell you a lot about the views of a candidate. If I am in doubt about a particular candidate, I will look at his or her backers for a signal as to their beliefs. This is especially helpful when looking at initiatives. Birds of a feather flock together.
5. Who do I trust to have a wise and fair view of the candidates in question? I have a friend named Mary McQueen who for many years managed the Washington State Supreme Court. Mary is an attorney who shares a common faith and desire for good and principled leaders. She personally knew every judge and prominent attorney in the state. In many judicial races, where there just didn’t seem to much be information on the candidates, I would give Mary a call because I trusted her personal knowledge of the people involved.
Trust is the basis of most of the great decisions of life–including voting.
These are the questions I ask myself about candidates. For initiatives and referendums, there’s another set of questions that I use to make wise voting decisions.
1. Will this issue grow the state or empower the individual? This is the crucial issue of 2010. We are involved in a great struggle between statists (the world view of secular progressives) and freedom- loving patriots (think the Tea Party movement and average faith-based American).
2. Is this activity something that God has assigned to the governmental domain (protecting citizens) or to the private or eccesiastical spheres (providing for human needs)?
3. Will this law raise taxes? I always say no to new taxes. Why? Because biblical tyranny begins when government takes more than ten to twenty percent of personal income. We are now approaching fifty to sixty percent in America, and some European nations are over the seventy per cent mark. We don’t need more taxes. We need better use of resources.
4. Is this initiative pro-freedom and entrepreneurship? Motivated-and-lower-taxed individuals create the jobs, not government bureaucracies.
5. Will this issue protect the God-given family and our precious children? The family, and its crucial role in nurturing the next generation of children, is the bedrock of any enlightened society.
6. Does the Bible deal directly with this issue (such as marriage and various crimes)? God’s ways always produce freedom and blessing when followed by a wise people.
7. Does this issue encourage good stewardship of the environment and natural resources while looking market forces and individual decisions for direction (not rabid environmentalism)?
8. Does this issue encourage or squelch religious faith?
I hope this set of guidelines helps you make some wise and critical votes on November 2.
For fellow Washingtonians: I have never seen such a complicated initiative ballot than the one we’ve received in 2010. After studying those issues myself, I came across some information from the Faith & Freedom Network, that is extremely helpful to me–especially on Initiatives 1100 and 1105.
Here’s where the issue of trust comes in. Matt Shea is a Spokane-area representative that I know and trust a great deal. He’s one of the shining lights in our current legislature. Matt has taken the time to give his perspective on the labyrinth of initiative issues. I agree with his assessment.
BALLOT MEASURE ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Initiative Measure No. 1053 – Concerns tax and fee increases imposed by state government. This measure would restate existing statutory requirements that legislative actions raising taxes must be approved by two-thirds legislative majorities or receive voter approval, and that new or increased fees require majority legislative approval.
– Vote Yes. “All power is inherent in the people…” Washington Constitution Article 1, Section 1. The people decided to put another limitation and check on an out of control government. What’s more Republican than that?
Initiative Measure No. 1082 – Concerns industrial insurance. This measure would authorize employers to purchase private industrial insurance (a/k/a workers’ compensation) beginning July 1, 2012; direct the Legislature to enact conforming legislation by March 1, 2012; and eliminate the worker-paid share of medical-benefit premiums.
– Vote Yes. Washington is one of only four states that do not allow a private option. This measure would lower the L&I cost and provide much need relief to our struggling small business owners.
Initiative Measure No. 1098 – Concerns establishing a state income tax and reducing other taxes.
This measure would tax “adjusted gross income” above $200,000 (individuals) and 400,000 (joint-filers), reduce state property tax levies, reduce certain business and occupation taxes, and direct any increased revenues to education and health.
– Vote No. This violates the State Constitution Article 7, Section 1 which reads “All taxes shall be uniform upon the same class of property within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax and shall be levied and collected for public purposes only. The word “property” as used herein shall mean and include everything, whether tangible or intangible, subject to ownership.” The State Supreme Court has correctly ruled on multiple occasions that income (defined here as the fruits of one’s labor) is property. That is consistent with the founding fathers view as well.
Initiative Measure No. 1100 – Concerns liquor (beer, wine and spirits). This measure would close state liquor stores; authorize sale, distribution, and importation of spirits by private parties; and repeal certain requirements that govern the business operations of beer and wine distributors and producers.
– Vote Yes. The role of government is to protect our God given unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property not run liquor stores. Like taxpayer funding of abortion clinics, it is also morally reprehensible to use tax payer dollars to distribute liquor.
Initiative Measure No. 1105 – Concerns liquor (beer, wine and spirits). This measure would close all state liquor stores and license private parties to sell or distribute spirits. It would revise laws concerning regulation, taxation and government revenues from distribution and sale of spirits.
– Vote No. This expands the size and scope of government through new mandates and licenses effectively trading one monopoly for another. It also proposes two tax increases.
Initiative Measure No. 1107 – Concerns reversing certain 2010 amendments to state tax laws.
This measure would end sales tax on candy; end temporary sales tax on some bottled water; end temporary excise taxes on carbonated beverages; and reduce tax rates for certain food processors.
– Vote Yes. Cuts taxes and eliminates a massive regulatory burden on businesses to figure out which items are “candy” and should be taxed.
Referendum Measure 52– Concerns authorizing and funding bonds for energy efficiency projects in school per EHB 2561 as passed by the Legislature. This bill would authorize bonds to finance construction and repair projects increasing energy efficiency in public schools and higher education buildings, and continue the sales tax on bottled water otherwise expiring in 2013.
– Vote No. This is deficit spending and dishonest. This would allow “projected energy savings” to be the asset against which to bond half a billion dollars at a total cost to tax payers of almost $1 billion.
Senate Joint Resolution 8225– The Legislature has proposed a constitutional amendment concerning the limitation on state debt. SJR 8225 would require the state to reduce the interest accounted for in calculating the constitutional debt limit, by the amount of federal payments scheduled to be received to offset that interest.
– Vote No. This is an accounting trick to allow the state to borrow more money above the current constitutional debt limit while our spending remains out-of-control.
Engrossed Substitute House Joint Resolution 4220– The legislature has proposed a constitutional amendment on denying bail for persons charged with certain criminal offenses. ESHJR 4220 would authorize courts to deny bail for offenses punishable by the possibility of life in prison, on clear and convincing evidence of a propensity for violence that would likely endanger persons.
– Vote Yes. This would restore the original understanding of when bail could be denied for “capital offenses.” Had this been in place it likely would have prevented the infamous Lakewood shooting.
Don’t forget to pray and don’t forget to vote on or before November 2. Edmund Burke wisely said that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
That’s another principle you can take to the ballot box.