I recently had lunch with a Washington State businessman who’s run a successful company for nearly forty years. He has fought many battles over those decades with county inspectors, state regulators, and cultural trends. He’s had his share of family problems, including some dark days when one of his children was far from God.
But I’ve always known him to persevere. He wants to make a difference in our world and is one of the greatest givers to God’s work that I’ve ever known. He’s a fighter, a scrapper, a man of his word that does not give in easy.
So I was surprised during the meal when he looked me in the eye and said that he was considering moving his entire family to another state for their spiritual and economic health.
He wants to get off the Left Coast.
I’m beginning to understand what he means.
Left Coast is a political term implying that the west coast of the United States is politically left-wing. This means the population is more secular and thus hostile to Judeo-Christian values. The implication is that the states of California, Oregon, and Washington (particularly, the coastal counties and cities within those states) vote predictably for the Democratic Party, or that the people who live there have a generally more liberal attitude than the rest of the country. The phrase plays on the fact that the west coast of the US is found on the left of the contiguous 48 states when looking at a map.
I would include the state of Hawaii as a part of the Left Coast. They have become another bastion of liberalism, including the 2010 election of Neil Abercrombie (D) as governor with a 58% vote and the defeat of many conservative Christian candidates around the state.
In the 2010 elections, many secular-liberal politicians were swept away in most parts of the country. Conservative Republicans picked up over sixty seats in the US House, but few of these were on the Left Coast. The governors map changed radically in the center, south, and east of the nation where conservatives won the states of New Mexico, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even Maine. Overall, the Republicans picked up twelve governorships to the Democrats two (California and Connecticut)
If you need a visual, imagine a significant amount of “red” being added to the 2008 map that is shown above–but not on the Left Coast. In governor’s races, Jerry Brown won by twelve points in California and John Kitzhaber eked out a one point victory in Oregon. Washington’s governors race will take place in 2012, but liberal Democrats have controlled all aspects of Olympia for twenty years.
What does that matter, you ask? Well the secular-liberal stranglehold on the Left Coast brings some serious consequences.
Taxes. Left Coast states produce big spending governments that overtax and overburden their people. Hawaii is the number one taxed state (per capita) at $3,050 per person per year. California is number nine at $2391 and Washington is number thirteen at $2238. Washingtonians had the good sense to reject an income tax proposition this fall, but the Evergreen State’s gas and sales taxes are among the highest in the nation.
Jobs: Whereas states like Texas keep churning out jobs due to its conservative policies, Left Coast States are in the lower half of job growth due to their anti-business climates. Washington has an unemployment rate of 9.0 percent though it sports some of the great entrepreneurial companies in the nation (Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon.com etc.) Boeing has moved its headquarters to Chicago due to the bad business climate. Oregon has a 10.6 percent unemployment rate which ranks it 8th in the nation.
But California, which just re-elected Governor Jerry Brown has a whopping 12.4 percent unemployment rate, and for the first time in fifty years, more people and businesses are leaving California than arriving. California may face default this coming year due to a mind-boggling 500 billion dollars in unfunded pensions. That liability around its neck won’t create many jobs.
Morality:It’s hard to place a rank on these categories, but it’s beyond question that the sexual mores of San Francisco and Seattle have made them a hot-bed of immorality and the push for gay marriage–which would totally unravel the moral fabric of America. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is being challenged in California (of all states), and two of the three states in the nation that allows its people to kill themselves with the help of doctors (physician assisted suicide) are Oregon and Washington. The third is Montana–which is almost a bed-room community to the Left Coast.
This list of the consequences of secular-liberalism could go on–but I think you get the point. The liberal worldview does not create prosperity or strong families. It leads down a road to tyranny, poverty, in-ability to economically compete, and moral confusion.
So, with much of the nation in 2010 turning back to Judeo-Christian principles and conservative applications in government, why is the Left Coast still stuck in the grip of liberalism?
That’s the million dollar question–and I don’t profess to have the answer. I do have some hunches that might be contributing factors.
First, the independent spirit of the West fosters a tendency to reject God and his principles for living. The cowboy mentality can easily morph into a spirit of rebellion that displays itself in humanistic laws and sexual dysfunction. On the Left Coast, I believe that demonic powers have been given a stronghold that impacts the lives of our people and political leaders (Ephesians 6:12).
I remember flying out of the Soviet Union in the 1980s while it was under communist oppression. On one flight, the experience of leaving “tyranny” and heading into “freedom” caused spontaneous applause on the aircraft! You could “feel” the leaving behind of demonic dominions and traveling into “freer space.” It was a tangible experience, undoubtedly related to the reality of spiritual warfare.
Many people say the same thing about the Left Coast. They feel a heaviness and discouragement here that is not felt in other parts of the nation. It’s not just the clouds (in Washington). The peoples of the Left Coast have attracted the presence of demonic principalities that are affecting this region of the country.
Second, the Christian foundations on the west coast are much weaker than any area in America. Many of the Left Coast states are later entries to the Union. California was 31, Oregon 33, Washington 42, and Hawaii 50. We missed most of the spiritual awakenings in our history; We didn’t have Pilgrims or Puritans to lay our social foundations; Our governing documents don’t contain phrases and concepts that pointed to God’s sovereignty and his natural laws; We were the “younger spoiled kids” of the Republic who did not form our corporate character at Valley Forge or Gettysburg.
Thus, our foundations are not as rooted to the rock of Christ as in others states. We were planted on wild, slippery soil, and our roots don’t go as deeply into the truth of God’s Word.
Third, there is the reality that actions have consequences. For example, Washington is the only state in the nation that legalized abortion via a vote of the people before Roe v. Wade in 1973. Activist judges didn’t send our innocent babies to their deaths. We the people, voted their demise at the hands of abortionists–the only state to do so.
That was a horrendous decision that opened us up to the presence of evil and judgment of God. In many societal realms, are we simply reaping what we sowed? Only God knows, but there is certainly room for state-wide repentance on this and other moral issues.
But there’s another interesting theory that I learned from a respected scholar.
Dr. Gregory Boyd points out in his insightful book God at War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict, that Satanic power and presence have been historically associated with raging, chaotic waters–in particular, the raging seas–especially oceans.
Boyd says, “The authors of the Old Testament shared significant elements of the common Near Eastern perspective that the earth was part of a cosmic war zone. The chaotic waters and sea monsters were demonic creatures against whom God had to fight…The Israelites believed the earth rested upon waters, but that Yahweh pushed back the waters to make dry land appear. ..Something about the cosmic environment of the earth–the waters–was, and still is, hostile toward God and humanity.”
It’s a much bigger discussion (three chapters in his book), but Boyd says that in the Old Testament, water was either a symbol of demonic chaos, or even a place of demonic habitation.
In the New Testament, when Jesus cast out a legion of spirits from a man, the demons specifically asked to not be sent to the “waterless places” but rather into some pigs, who stormed down the bank and were drowned in the water (Luke 11:24-NASB). When the Book of Revelation describes the new heaven and earth, it specifically says “and there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1). The only water mentioned is the River of Life whose trees bring healing to the nations (Revelation 22:1,2).
So, in the Bible, large amounts of raging waters are associated with evil. Fertile land is associated with blessing and good.
What’s the point? It’s interesting to me that the regions of our nation near the large raging waters (the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and the Great Lakes region) appear most susceptible to liberal influences. The states that are inland–closer to the soil–tend to be more conservative.
And in 2010, the only region that resisted the conservative tide was the Left Coast. Is this just coincidence, or is there something even in our geography that we don’t fully understand?
Regardless of the true reasons for our troubles, what should we do about the secular-liberal stronghold of the Left Coast? Should we all pack our bags and leave for inland havens? Should we follow my businessman friend to greener pastures elsewhere?
God may lead some to go, but many of us must stay and fight for freedom and God’s blessings:
- We must participate in an empowered prayer movement that will bind the principalities and powers that are deceiving and impacting the Left Coast.
- We must mobilize the Church to care for, educate, and encourage our fellow citizens to embrace a new heritage in God.
- We must get involved in the political process, and work for good candidates who can help us change our laws and culture. Reformation is one of the gifts of God. It can come to the peoples of the western states.
Gregory Boyd comes to the same conclusion: “All who name the name of the Lord are called to identify and resist, in the power of God, the structural forces of evil that work to thwart God’s plan for the earth…When we fight, we do not do so in our own power, but God Himself reenacts his primal victory over these destructive forces through us.”
So let’s get to work.
I’m not going anywhere.
Our most important response is to reject discouragment and not give up. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He can bring it in our individual lives. He can also “wake up” the Left Coast with his grace and power.
Send this article to your friends on the Left Coast. Ask them to pray and act.
Let’s make the Left Coast the “Righteous Coast” of the United States of America.