Mt Soledad
Welcome to the
Christian Citizenship Council
of San Diego
San Diego
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Prov 29:2)

“What Happened?”

For election watchers, it’s not surprising when some good Propositions don’t get passed, while some bad ones do.  The last election, however, was remarkable since not one of the eight Propositions on the ballet came close to being passed.  It’s a small consolation that Prop 73, requiring parental notification before a minor receives an abortion, was defeated by the smallest margin of all – about five and a half percent.  I find this result appalling.  How can it be that so many parents in this state apparently voted against simply being notified of their daughter’s decision to abort her child (and their grandchild)?  This was a very modest proposal since parental consent wasn’t even hinted at!

So, what happened?  One observation is that virtually no major advertising campaign was conducted in favor of Prop 73, at least, not as far as I could tell.  There were a few radio spots, and apparently one TV commercial, but the major form of communication was e-mail.  Ask yourself, who do these e-mails go to?  Most go to those already convinced to vote Yes.  But wait, how do Propositions get passed?  The reality is that enough people in the middle of the political spectrum need to be convinced to support it.  If we thought Prop 73 was going to bring Christians out in droves to ensure success, we underestimated the harshness of the political climate, how elections work, and even how many Christians may actually vote against this Proposition.  Granted, Prop 73 enjoyed a 60% approval rating three weeks before the election – but it ended up with little over 47% of the final vote.  That tells me either supporters stayed away from the polls, the opposition was very energized to produce a high voter turnout, or our message didn’t get out broadly enough.  Incidentally, the message of Prop 73 was simple: requiring parental involvement for administering an aspirin (or ear piercing) but not for an invasive medical procedure is absurd. 

What about the opposition?  From 100 to 150 million dollars was generated by labor unions to defeat Props 74, 75 and 76.  Who did this energize to vote, many that don’t share the same conservative, Biblical worldview values that I hold dear.  Again, we’re talking about major voting blocks and who is concerned enough to show up and vote.  I believe liberal groups were much more involved swaying public opinion this time around than were conservative Christians.  The result was collateral damage to Prop 73 and a rare opportunity for a small setback to abortion on demand was missed.  One bright spot was San Diego County.  The Republican Party endorsed Prop 73 and mobilized its precinct operation across the county.  Here the vote was 54.9% for Prop 73.  I believe this is a direct result of our voter turnout (51.4% compared to statewide 46%) and message locally.  The political message is clear, when we mobilize and advertise, we win. 

Another observation, Prop 73 specifically defined abortion as causing “death of the unborn child, a child conceived but not yet born.”  Have some Christians convinced themselves abortion under certain circumstances (rape, incest) is justified? How many have convinced themselves “it” doesn’t become a child until well after conception?  How many became uncomfortable as a result and didn’t want to face their own faulty reasoning.  The fact governor Schwartzennager weakly endorsed Prop 73 but would not campaign for it didn’t help the cause either.  This should give us pause, once more, concerning his positions on moral issues and not to rely on his leadership for our causes.

What should be done now?  First, we should be grateful for all those that did work so hard to get Prop 73 as far as it did.  Should we now give up as many are inclined to do when there’s a setback?  I think not.  Should we learn from this and be better prepared for the next battle?  I think so.  Next time, let’s support the faithful core group, go the extra mile and engage others outside our circle of like-minded friends on the worth of the effort.  Financially, just as we support our churches, missions, and ministries of compassion, lets support political causes for the common good.  Are we willing to get signatures on petitions, walk neighborhoods with information, write letters to the editor?  Are our church leaders willing to speak out publicly and from the pulpit on the moral issues these elections address?  These are but a few things that can be done to convince the great middle band of voters that need to be persuaded to our way of thinking.  We can’t expect the Christian vote by itself to be enough to carry the day.  Are you up for it?  Remember, we’re called to be faithful, and to be about the work needed for the common good.  But to do that, we must give of our time, talents and our treasures.

Frank Kacer
Executive Director, Christian Citizenship Council of San Diego

First published in the December 2005 issue of Good News Etc.