You have heard me use the phrase “biblical citizenship” many times. Biblical citizenship can apply to many aspects of the political process: from lobbying to letter writing, from “get out the vote” campaigns to voting for God-fearing men and women candidates. With elections just around the corner, let’s talk about voting.
There are two important aspects of a candidate for office: their personal character and their policies. Both are typically indicators of what will happen if the person is elected.
On the character side, we all want someone who exhibits Christ-like servanthood, but who can also take strong unbending stands on moral issues when needed. Someone who uses the Bible as a touchstone for their actions and doesn’t merely pay lip service to the Scriptures and its teachings. A person who truly wants to pursue biblical solutions to tough problems.
Is there a perfect candidate on the character side of things? Not a chance. Some may be closer to this ideal than others, but nobody meets these criteria to the extent they should, and that includes both of our current presidential candidates. I’m sure there are also candidates running for office here in our state that miss the mark to one extent or another.
All I can say is, let’s give a little grace on these character flaws. That’s not the same as giving politicians a pass – they should be held accountable for what they say and do. However, always keep in mind that you and I are just as flawed as the next person. Someone once told me, “we’re all broken, some of us just show the cracks sooner than others”.
On the policy side, there can often be substantial differences between candidates. As Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota, we obviously focus on issues that fall under our umbrella, so here are some of the biblical issues I would consider for candidates at all levels.
Abortion: Does the candidate plan to enact policies that protect life from conception to natural death?
Religious Liberty: Is the free expression of religious beliefs something the candidate will protect, consistent with the First Amendment? This applies to individuals, businesses, elected officials, and others.
Education: Does the candidate uphold and protect the primary rights of parents to determine and guide the education of their children?
Marriage/Family: Is marriage defined as being between one man and one women, biologically distinct from birth, and is this marriage the nucleus of a healthy family?
Disadvantaged: Is the candidate committed to helping the “widow and orphan” – those living on the fringes of society – as God commanded? This might include those such as the homeless, unemployed, families who can’t make ends meet, the disabled, etc.
While both personal character and policies are important when choosing a candidate, the difference is that policies live on and shape our country long after the elected official has faded into history. Some of the greatest presidents this country experienced over the years had spotted character attributes but did amazing things for the advancement of our nation and ensured we held to the fundamentals upon which this country was founded.
Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota® is nonpartisan, and we want to keep it that way. We want you to vote your conscience and vote your values on the types of issues highlighted above. If you do that, you are exercising your biblical citizenship and one of your most privileged freedoms. Do not waste it.
President and Executive Director
After months of television and radio ads, robocalls, political signs, and constant chatter about the election, we are now in the final stretch! With less than 5 days until Election Day—Tuesday, November 6—we are rapidly approaching the conclusion of what has been a busy and sometimes tumultuous election cycle.
Last week, the frontpage of the Santa Fe New Mexican featured a story about St. Anne Parish Catholic Church in Santa Fe. According to the article, some Santa Fe residents raised concerns about a sign above the church’s doors, encouraging parishioners to “Vote Pro-Life.” In response, Father Larry Brito, St. Anne’s pastor, stated, “If we were standing up for immigrants, nobody would complain. But when we stand up for others who have no voice, the 4,000 children a day who are killed by abortion, they complain. It would be a great disservice to be quiet during this holocaust.”
Then, over the weekend, the Santa Fe New Mexican and the Albuquerque Journal published a full-page advertisement that included a New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (NMCCB) statement on the “dignity of the human person from conception to natural death.” In the 2017 statement, the bishops expressed their firm opposition to abortion and physician-assisted suicide, stating, “Support for abortion or doctor-assisted suicide is not in accord with the teachings of the Church. These represent the direct taking of human life, and are always wrong.” Earlier this week, the NMCCB objected to the statement being used for “political advertising.”
These stories and others point to the frequent intersection of faith and politics, and the need for people of faith to vote in accordance with their faith—not their party.
So if you have not already voted, please do so this week or on Election Day, and please remember to VOTE CHRISTIAN!
- EARLY VOTING continues through Saturday, November 3. For information about early voting in your area, you can look up early voting locations hereor you can call your county clerk.
- ELECTION DAY VOTING on Tuesday, November 6, begins at 7AM and closes at 7PM. Information regarding Election Day voting locations is available here.
- SAMPLE BALLOTS and other information are available here by entering your voter registration information
- Additional election-related information is also available on our website.
Thank you again for exercising your civic responsibility and for standing with us in our efforts to defend and strengthen the family, life, and religious freedom!
Together in Christ,
President and Executive Director
“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” -Jeremiah 29:7 (ESV)
“Prayer is the language that moves heaven. Voting is the language that will change New Mexico.”
What is GOTV? I must admit that when I first heard of GOTV years ago, I thought it was probably yet another cable channel to add to the 500 channels we already didn’t watch. Actually, it’s an election term that means Get Out The Vote.
Does GOTV matter? Nationwide, roughly 40% of eligible voters show up at the polls during midterm elections, as we will hold on November 6. Turnout is a bit higher in the years there is a Presidential election, but still nothing to brag about (pretty consistently 60%). Sadly, we North Dakotans are about the same. Our midterm turnouts are a few percentage points higher than the national numbers, but that’s it. Congratulations, we’re average.
Why don’t people vote? There are many possible reasons. Perhaps they believe their busy schedule won’t accommodate it, they think there are no good candidates on the ballot, or maybe it could be simply apathy. Others may convince themselves that their vote really doesn’t matter, they might feel they don’t know enough to vote, or they believe the election system is corrupt. Regardless the reason, only 4 out of 10 eligible North Dakota voters will likely vote this November.
What about barriers to voting? Our state has very reasonable voting requirements. First, we are the only state in the country that does not require voter registration. In North Dakota, you merely need to show a form of identification with your name, birth date and residential address at the polling location to vote.* If your identification doesn’t have one of these features, you can even supplement it with a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or similar document. Our state also offers “no-excuse needed” voting by absentee ballot.
Does it really matter? The most hotly contested race in North Dakota without a doubt is the race between Kevin Cramer and Heidi Heitkamp for the U.S. Senate. The last time this particular senate seat was up for election, it was decided by less than 3,000 votes. Taken as a percentage of all voters in that election, that was less than 1 percent!
Are you going to vote? Yes, please! You may see polls that say one senate candidate is ahead of another, but I wouldn’t bet the next 6 years of U.S Senate representation on those numbers. Think back to the last presidential election for a recent example of polling accuracy.
Please stand with Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota and help GOTV. We need you and others who share your biblical values to stand for your beliefs and put the right people into these important legislative positions!
President and Executive Director
P.S. To see how your state legislators voted on key family bills last session, go HERE and review their voting records. Note that some legislators did not get higher ratings because they were absent on certain votes, so I encourage you to review the detailed voting records for your district legislators.
*There is currently much debate over the recent court decision requiring Native Americans to also comply with these requirements, even though many only have P.O. Boxes. While it is relevant to the larger discussion of voter turnout, the focus of this email is on broader voting trends.
Paid for by Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota
While a candidate, President Trump referred to D.C. corruption as a swamp. Candidate Trump was on to something and “Drain the Swamp” became a rallying cry. From coast to coast, there is a contingent of voters who have kept that cry alive.
In the past 18 months, “drain the swamp” has been used in a variety of political venues. However, the meaning behind “drain the swamp” has become more elastic, often possessing a meaning different than originally intended.
Today, many people use the phrase in an attempt to paint every elected official who has been in office longer than his or her detractors would prefer, as an inhabitant of the nebulous swamp. That assumption could prove to be as dangerous to our representative republic as is the rancid swamp in D. C.
Fortunately, we American citizens DO live in a country in which we have the right AND the responsibility to choose our governing servants.
I understand the lack of trust in government and think it is safe to assume corruption exists. But does it exist everywhere? In every incumbent politician? I don’t think so. It is dangerous to our Republic to imply that because an elected official has been in office multiple terms, he or she should be considered a possible swamp dweller and thrown out of office.
What values do you see as important? Integrity, commitment, knowledge of the issues…are your candidate’s principles for sale? Do they know what they are doing? What is important to him or her? How do they prioritize issues of importance?
Here is the great thing about good elected officials who have experience: When that candidate possesses integrity, commitment, knowledge, character, attributes of a statesman, AND they have experience…they are golden! Those are the type of officials Idaho needs to keep in office! These are the people America needs in office. They are standing in the gap, sometimes alone… and they need our support. It doesn’t matter how long they have been in office. They have overcome the steep learning curve and are working for you!
These are the people Values Voters need! These are the people who can and do stand up against the mentality of a swamp.
It is up to every voter to learn about the characteristics of the candidate son their ballot – specifically: their depth of conviction, willingness to learn, breadth of knowledge on multiple issues, integrity and character.
It is incumbent on all of us to become informed and to vote our values! This is our first responsibility and a right granted us as citizens of our great state and country.
Take time to learn about the candidates in your district. If you don’t know your district go to www.idahovotes.gov. Go to the candidate’s website to learn more about him or her. It is important that you are informed so that your vote goes to a candidate who will do a good job, and has the integrity and values your family needs in elected official.
Here are some important dates to keep in mind:
- May 15th – Idaho Primary Election Polls open 8am to 8 pm…bring your identification.
- To find your polling place, go to www.idahovotes.gov or call your county elections office.
- April 20th – Last day to register to vote prior to election day. Registration is allowed on election day.
- To request an absentee ballot go to www.idahovotes.gov
- May 4th – Last day to request mail in absentee ballots
- Late April-Early May: In person early voting
We cannot afford to “just let somebody else” handle this responsibility or stay home because we are frustrated. God has placed us all here for a time such as this.
Let’s show up! YOUR VALUES! YOUR VOICE! YOUR VOTE!
By Paul Weber – President and CEO
Should your rights as a parent cease when your child walks into school?
Should the government determine when you’ve lived long enough?
Should you have to give up your business, career or professional license because of your faith?
These questions are being debated in legislatures across the nation right now. And, as you read this, Family Policy Alliance and our state allies are representing you, your values and your family on these (and more) policy issues.
In addition to these, we face a critical mid-term election that will determine the balance for the family in Washington, D.C., as well as in statehouses across the nation.
Family Policy Alliance stands ready to engage with your continued partnership today.
Over a century ago in 1905, humorist Mark Twain—not known as a Christian—made a significant observation as quoted in Collier’s magazine: “If Christians should vote their duty to God at the polls, they would carry every election, and do it with ease.” When you support Family Policy Alliance, you put Twain’s comments into action.
Our theme verse at Family Policy Alliance is this: “. . . the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action” (Dan. 11:32b). Will you stand with us today—so pro-family voters can take action in both the primaries and in the general election?
Thank you in advance for your consideration and ongoing support.
President and CEO
Eli had been old enough to vote for several years, but because he felt unsure about the issues and candidates, he never registered or took part in elections.
But after Eli attended an event with our president Paul Weber, he made a decision: He voted in a mid-term election. And now he’s teaching his students the importance of engaging.
Join us in our efforts to motivate pro-family voters.
September 4th was a big day in the Jorritsma household. Our daughter Stephanie turned 18 years old. We celebrated with gifts, dinner at a local restaurant, a homemade cake, and a cruise on the Missouri River aboard the Lewis & Clark Riverboat. It was a fun day for everyone.
Aside from being the formal entrance into “adulthood”, this birthday meant even more. It represented the beginning of a lifetime of voting for our daughter. The 26th Amendment to the Constitution allows those who are at least 18 years old the right to vote as citizens. Note that this is a right, not a privilege.
Being her father and the Executive Director of a policy-focused organization, you can imagine my excitement. We now have another voter with the power to elect God-fearing members of Congress, the North Dakota Legislature and other state and local offices.
Over dinner we discussed her newfound right. Stephanie is clearly excited to fully participate in the election process. Of course, I started to mention candidates for office that hold to our family’s Christian values, but she stopped me. She said, “Dad, I will probably vote similar to how you vote, but ultimately how I vote is up to me.” I was so proud of her for making that statement. I know that she is strongly pro-life, pro-family and supports religious freedom, so I’m not particularly worried. However, she was correct. While I will be sure to provide her with all the information I can about the various races and candidates, ultimately it’s her decision.
What about you? Are you still excited about going to the polls and voting, or does it seem like drudgery? Do you sometimes think, “My one vote doesn’t matter, why bother?” I encourage you to remember that the right to vote was won with the blood, sweat and tears of our forefathers. Do not easily dismiss this right!
Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota is passionate about our mission to equip families like yours for elections, so you can know which candidates support your Christian pro-family and pro-life values, so you can then vote with confidence. I hope that you use these resources when you are in the polling booth. Like Stephanie, you have the right to vote any way you desire, but voting your conscience is the corollary to this right.
It takes considerable funding to create resources to equip families for elections, so I ask that you prayerfully consider donating to our organization so that we can continue to provide these family-friendly tools. And thank you for exercising your right to vote. It makes all the difference in shaping the country and state in which we live, for our generation and for Stephanie’s!
So, I did. I typed “expectations of citizens” in my browser and about.com listed the following Responsibilities of U.S. Citizens:
- Support and defend the Constitution.
- Serve the country when required.
- Participate in the democratic process.
- Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.
- Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
- Participate in your local community.
That’s an excellent list! What would America look like if we all did this? Our nation would be transformed! How? Because, to support and defend the Constitution, you must study it. To participate in the democratic process, you must be an informed voter. To truly respect others, you must get to know them. To shape the future of your community, you must engage with your neighbors.
What I found most interesting is that those seeking to become U.S. citizens are also expected to do these things: “As a new U.S. citizen, it is your duty to give back to your adopted nation by fulfilling these responsibilities.”
At Family Policy Alliance, we educate and equip American Christians to engage as biblical citizens. We call that unleashing citizenship. We take this responsibility seriously and through our alliance of nearly 40 state-based organizations, we are seeing results.
Those born here often take their citizenship for granted. Yet, those who sacrifice to come to our shores and lawfully seek citizenship understand it’s their duty to give back.
May we all embrace this duty with a little more diligence?
President and CEO
Family Policy Alliance
The vice-presidential debate is now long over and forgotten. But toward the end of the debate, both candidates—self-proclaimed Christians—were asked to “discuss in detail a time when you struggled to balance your personal faith and a public policy position.”
Democratic candidate Tim Kaine responded: “I try to practice my religion in a very devout way and follow the teachings of my church in my own personal life. But I don’t believe that in this nation, a First Amendment nation, where we don’t raise any religion over the other, and we allow people to worship as they please, that the doctrines of any one religion should be mandated for everyone.” He went on to say that he and Hillary Clinton support Roe v. Wade and “a woman’s right to choose.”
In contrast, Republican candidate Mike Pence, now vice president-elect, said: “I would tell you that for me the sanctity of life proceeds out of the belief that . . . where God says before you were formed in the womb, I knew you, and so . . . I sought to stand with great compassion for the sanctity of life.” He continued, “so for me, my faith informs my life.”
One’s natural response was to paraphrase the Constitution and a Supreme Court ruling to justify his support for abortion on demand. The other’s was to cite God’s Word and how it directs his steps.
Both men’s faith teaches personhood at conception. Yet, only one aligns his actions with his faith.
We saw during that debate the contrast between a politician and a statesman—a person who stands firm and takes action (Dan. 11:32b) regardless of the personal consequences.
Your sacrificial gifts are training and discipling people like Mike Pence as Family Policy Foundation Statesmen. What a hopeful future we are building together!
President and CEO
Family Policy Alliance
2016 marks the first time Meridian will be able to vote for President. It’s a challenging year for that, but she says it’s still important for you to vote.
YOU can help reach others like Meridian today!
Each $30 you give will rally 50 pro-family voters to the polls
to cast ballots for family, life and religious freedom.