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)

“Mixed Propositions”

A strength of the California voting process is an ability to place Propositions on the ballot for the entire electorate to vote on.  This is a powerful tool for people to correct gross irresponsibility of our State legislature, force actions that otherwise wouldn’t be taken, or even set priorities that many politicians are unwilling to do.  It’s also a check against unwarranted and unnecessary tax increases (or general bonds) to increase state revenue for supposedly noble reasons.

One of the down sides is the large number of Propositions we tend to have every election cycle.  Adding to the confusion is the onslaught of advertisements and mailings that try to sway the voter one way or another.  Not only can this be frustrating, but some Propositions can even contradict or overturn decisions made by the electorate in years past.  Given the potential for confusion, I’ll try to make this November as easy for you as possible.

To start, let me ask: how are you approaching your voting decisions?  As a Christian, we have a responsibility to do all things for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31).  That doesn’t just apply to worship, how we raise our family, or to our secular work.  It includes every word we speak, every action we take, and literally every vote we cast.   When we vote “yes” or “no” on a Proposition, it implies we’ve considered the matter from the Lord’s perspective and decided what the right decision should be.  The second question is: how did you get to that point?  I’d encourage everyone to approach their pastor and ministry leaders to seek out their Biblical approach to voting.  Find out if they intend to preach on (or even mention) any of the Propositions on the ballot.  If they’re reticent, help them to understand they not only have a legal right to do so, but a Biblical mandate to equip members for decisions in this area of life just like all other areas of our lives.  Remember, if Christians withdraw from any public or private sphere of influence it’s only a matter of time before that area rots and becomes our enemy.  If church leadership shows it’s important to equip you to be a godly citizen, then you’ll take it seriously.  Conversely, if leadership ignores their responsibility, they teach by omission that citizenship is unimportant.  Be careful, though, a pastor can’t do all the research into all Propositions by themselves.   Volunteer to work with him to provide the necessary information and resource material he’ll need to adequately address each issue at hand.

What about other venues besides preaching?  Home Bible study groups are a great way to discuss Propositions, weigh advantages and disadvantages, and apply sound Biblical principles.  The Christian Coalition provides the “Family Values Voter Guides” to any church that wants them.  They’re very informative, impartial, and are perfectly legal to hand out at church.  If your pastor has not considered providing them, work with your leaders to understand the legal freedoms we have and how effective these guides can be.  Consider having an Election Pre-View Evening for your entire church, where each Proposition is researched and the results presented and discussed.  If your church has never done this, there’s a resource available at entitled “Equipping the Church to Vote” that provides lots of practical advice in this area. 

Propositions are always a mixture of good and bad.  For those dealing with tax increases we should first question the government’s irresponsibility in not showing restraint with what they currently have.  Stewardship of tax moneys is a moral issue, particularly when we already live in one of the highest taxed states in the country.  We should in stead be asking our legislators why they’re not decreasing our tax burden and the intrusiveness of government into our lives, schools and businesses.  Relative to bonds, what rationale can possibly be offered for government to go into future debt and pay enormous interest that must be completely born by the taxpayer, no matter how “noble” the bond purpose?  Why not prioritize the use of existing revenues and live within our tax “means” instead of another bate-and-switch tax scam.   Of the 13 Propositions, 9 are taxes/bonds of one form or another and only feed and unquenchable appetite for money.  Three others deal with: parental notification before a minor’s abortion (Prop 85), an attempt to prevent government from abusing eminent domain, and increased penalties for sex offenders (Prop 83).  These three may not be perfect, but they’re consistent with our Biblical role as parents, our right to own property, and the punishment of vile evil doers. 

One final note – if you haven’t registered to vote, do so – but be equipped to exercise this duty in a responsible, Biblical fashion.

- Frank Kacer

First published as a Guest Commentary in the September 2006 issue of Good News Etc.