Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Re-Thinking the GOP and Faith Based Activism in WA State

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This past election has given most of us who care about our country and our culture reason for pause.

The State GOP threw their full weight behind Rob McKenna and a few other candidates who generally fell into the "moderate" category and came up, as they say in the Yakima Valley, "skunked." That's a bad thing.

While Christian activists generally agree that marriage is between one man and one woman, they not only failed to work together, but in some cases worked to undermine others who were working for the same cause---defending marriage. We all lost.

So where do we go from here?

What about the state Republican Party? What about some of the leadership in the faith community?

I want to share some personal thoughts with you regarding both the GOP and the faith based efforts in the state.

Today, some thoughts about the Republican Party.

Tomorrow, the faith based efforts to advance Christian principles and values in a culture seemingly more and more determined to abolish all Christian influence.

Re-Thinking The State GOP

Representative James Lankford has just been given the Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee--- the 5th most powerful position in the US House of Representatives. He is a Christian, a minister, and sees no conflict between his faith and his service to his country.

He told the press last week he "lives out his faith and represents the community that elected him" without conflict.

Unfortunately, he is from Oklahoma, not Washington State.

Rob McKenna has worked hard to cast himself as a "moderate," distancing himself from the "extreme" right values people, so much so that even the Seattle Times endorsed him. He has made it clear he is pro-abortion and while whispering that he supports marriage as between one man and one woman, left no doubt that he was not going to get involved in that issue.

The perfect Republican candidate. Right? A model for the future of the party. Lots of national attention.

It didn't work. He lost.

Why would left to far left secular progressives vote for a Republican trying to look like one of them, when they can vote for the real thing---one of their own?

Based on data I've seen and the volume of email I've received, many evangelicals did not vote for McKenna. They simply left the box unmarked or wrote in someone. This in spite of the fact that some in the evangelical community highlighted him in their church and actively and vocally supported him.

From what I could see, the motives varied from wanting a place at his table after the election, to, in the case of 2 different leaders of faith based organizations, wanting a job in his administration.

Aside from these few instances of acting in behalf of personal gain, the evangelical did not generally get behind him. I have been accused of at least some responsibility for the lack of support.

Kirby Wilbur, state GOP Chair, told the Seattle Times, "If we can't elect Rob McKenna, maybe it's time to move to Texas."


Or maybe its time to stop chasing the far left secular progressive parade, trying to secure leadership in a cultural march that stands in stark contrast to the Party's platform.

How far to the secular left are we willing to go to secure a "win"? And why would that be a win?

UW political science professor Matt Barreto says, "The electorate is going to continue to become less white and less old and less married and less religious and less straight."

Conclusion: "Add up each of those factors and it works in favor of today's Democratic Party and against the prospect of today's Republican Party," says Barreto.

So professor, what should the GOP do?

Well, he says, "The GOP can still maintain a conservative fiscal position, but their conservative stances on immigration, contraception and marriage are outdated and will only cost them votes in every future election."

To win, the GOP must become values neutral. Or at least remain silent on moral issues.

Bill Finkbeiner is a well known Republican in Washington State. He embodies Barreto's model Republican. By his own description, he is a progressive Republican who supports abortion and homosexual "marriage."

According to the professor, a model candidate for the new Republican Party.

Finkbeiner was a candidate for lieutenant governor.

He lost. It wasn't even close.

While Professor Barreto does not speak for the Republican Party, his narrative is close to that of those who in fact do speak for the party. Sam Reed, Slade Gorton and others in their own way echo this as a winning formula.

How far left would we need to go to win?

Randy Pepple, McKenna's campaign manager says, "There's no need for panic," suggesting that if the party just stays on present course things will work out. He also blames Romney's lack of support in the state and the lack of organization of the National Republican Party as the reason for McKenna's loss.

John Koster is a social conservative who could have won the newly formed 1st Congressional District, had the state GOP stepped up with money for TV ads. That didn't happen. What did happen, however, was a fierce struggle over how John Koster should be imaged. Local and national leadership demanded that he move away from his biblical "values" in order to win. The struggle often spilled over into the news. This is one of several Koster conflict stories.

Will this continual drift toward the left fix the state Republican Party? How can it when the Democratic Party owns the secular far left?

Perhaps the most important question for people of faith would be, why am I a Republican? And is a Republican win the ultimate goal?

For most of us, myself included, we are Republicans because we have felt that party best represented our personal biblical values. If, in the chase for a "win," morality and values are marginalized or dispensed with, why would I be a Republican?

How about this from an older, white, straight, married, religious man:

Would anyone consider recruiting an articulate, experienced, contemporary candidate, who actually believes in the Republican platform? And would run on it? A candidate who could be liberated from the obsession of cloning the far left in order to win---a candidate who would actually have the financial, intellectual and emotional support of their Republican Party---a candidate that would actually create a conservative candidacy around which all conservatives, social and fiscal, regardless of party affiliation, could rally? How about a conservative that so-called "moderates" could also support?

I'm not going to mention Ronald Reagan, but isn't there someone across this state who could be such a candidate? And couldn't the force of positive support and enthusiasm change the Republican Party leadership's idea of their "winning model" that isn't winning, at least for just one election cycle?

The chorus of paid and unpaid voices directing the Republican Party will, in one accord, say no that won't work.

Hopefully someone will respond in a clear voice alerting the experts that what they are doing now isn't working either. And doubling down on a losing model isn't going to change anything.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.


  1. Gary, this is an outstanding article. Thank you. Hope the yall read it.

  2. I believe you are absolutely right. There are qualified people in the state who can run and win if the party would get behind them rather than trying to make them conform to the image the party thinks will win. The Republican Party isn't winning and will not win as long as they are led by the Democrats. We are not Democrats. I suggest everyone actually read our party platform. Thanks Gary.

  3. Why don't we run more evangelical ministers for office? They would stay true to our beliefs.

  4. Excellent analysis Gary and wise from both a rational and biblical standpoint. The R party leadership is not going to change. We DO have to find true conservative candidates who has our Christian Worldview and get behind them, a difficult task in and of itself. Believers in the pew WILL respond to a true believer like Cruz, the new Senator from Texas. The pulpits cannot be relied on to lead anything 'political'. Time to rally and gather names of committed believers who will commit to getting behind capable committed Christian candidates as we find and recruit them.

    Did you read David Lanes' excellent article?

    David Crowe

  5. I am a recovering Latino liberal who began turning conservative when I had “my come to Jesus meeting 15 years ago.” Now I am married with three kids but 14 years ago I was an unwed mother barely making ends meet and I did not fit the so called “Republican mold”.
    I am furious at the sellout of "Republicans" in our nation and the kowtowing they do to liberals! I also am ready for candidates like Allen West who are willing to take off the gloves and put on the brass knuckles and go to battle and make no apologies for their beliefs! We also need to take some pointers from Saul Alinsky! I am also tired of the cannibalism within the party, unacceptable! Get it together people! Our country is in the drain and most evangelicals’ are standing by with their bags packed waiting for Jesus to return!

    1. Good commentary on the state election. We conservatives must start playing the long game both on values and economic policy. The other side is running successfully on their principles based on their long game. In the process they have just about run us a moral and fiscal cliff along with the me too Republicans!

      Republicans for the most part have no principles or for that matter no long game except to get the reigns of power and than squander opportunity as they have done so for over 60 years outside of Regan.

      Conservatives need to field and finance their own candidates based on free market principals and their Christian values based on the natural law. I could say much more but that is it for now.

    2. This is a great commentary. I could get behind this.

    3. This is a great commentary. I could support this kind of thinking. Division is from our enemy. Divide and conker.

  6. I agree wholeheartedly Gary. Having said that I am wondering if there are enough moral conservatives left out there who will actually vote. Where were all of God's people when John Koster was running? For too long Evangelicals have stayed out of politics and maybe more importantly they have failed to model their their evangelical beliefs to their family and friends within their sphere of influence. Christianity is not something we "do" it is something we "are". If we Evangelicals are going to give God a chance to turn things around we had better make sure that we are living holy, upright lives top to bottom and side to side so that a lost and sinful world can see the compelling difference Jesus and His Gospel can make in their lives. If we fail at this there is only judgment left to come.

  7. Gary, I cannot for the life of me see how some of those dogs were ever allowed to be registered as Republicans in the first place. It's high time the party stops recognizing hypocrites.

  8. Most Pastors won't lead their Congregation to vote and get involved. Washington State has the lowest Church attendance in America, The Republican party needs to hear from all of us to run Candidates that support our Platform and GOD's issuer are paramount!!!

    Chuck Miller

  9. We need to be involved really early so that only real and true Christians can make it through the primary election.

  10. Marilyn Montgomery1:45 PM, November 27, 2012

    Wonderful, RIGHT-ON article from you as usual, Gary. Have YOU thought of running for an office? Why not GOVERNOR, next time around? We had no choice between the other two candidates. I think most Evangelicals didn't trust McKenna, since he was SO READY to appeal the decision on those devout pharmacy owners who fought for their right of conscience, spent THOUSANDS of their own money, and won. He was going to APPEAL that decision. Not a good moment for a republican candidate for Governor of WA. Or any candidate. If we don't have the right of conscience, our freedom is over. He should have known that. If we can get that confirmed, active Christian with all good Christian values to run for office, who heartily proclaims their values, who speaks LOUDLY about them, I feel certain we'd get those reluctant Christian voters to vote!

  11. In general, the Progressives who have infiltrated the Democrat Party are immoral, the RINOs who have infiltrated the GOP are amoral, and the Conservatives trying to save the Republic are moral. Choose your group, create a new one, or loosely ally, but be prepared to reap what you sow because the bad guys are deadly.

  12. Gary,

    I gathered signatures to put all referendums on the ballot since 2006 when the same-sex stuff began. This time I have found an entirely different world out there since 2009. People would glance toward my signs and avert their eyes and walk away. There was a lack of moral fortitude for agreeing with God that same-sex is a perversion and should be dealt with. So, at least Western Washington has gone by the wayside and no amount of truth is going to make a difference. We, in Western Washington, are now living in Sodom and Gomorrah and this isn't going to change. I have thought about moving to a different state, as has been indicated to me by a number of others.

    "As in the days of Noah" is what is happening. Expect the Lord's soon return.

    Diane Eaton

  13. Fantastic article, Gary. I saw no difference in McKenna and Inslee, I wrote in Hadrian. Too bad more didn't.

    Craig in Lacey

  14. I read this blog regularly, but don't usually comment publicly.

    Last night we attended our county Republican awards ceremony for get out the vote volunteers. My daughters made over 3000 calls between themselves. One Christian teenager made over 5500 calls. When he accepted his award, he said that to him, it was not calls, but prayer that would win the day. Good parents!

    We live in Koster's district. We worked his parades and donated to his campaign. He had an early lead, and when he went down, we were disappointed. We were also very upset at the smear tactic over rape that was run in the last week. I had one fiscal conservative tell me Republican women in his family group did not like Koster's highlighted position on abortion. When I pointed out the cultural preference for moneyed jobs over children (working mothers), that person agreed with me.

    At our awards dinner last night, the keynote speaker highlighted the Christian/Biblical driving force in Americans who stayed in the game when things seemed lost, right from the 1600's until today. As far as spiritual renewal goes, he claimed the first great awakening actually began with teenagers in prayer, not with pastoral planning and preaching. Fact check?

    Although this speaker got a standing ovation, absent were many of the fiscal only Republicans. One key lady walked out during this talk.

    It seems to me that being socially conservative is fine when you win, but the values of most Republicans are a residue they have inherited from their parents/grand parents. Spiritual renewal is non-existent, and the reality is a long slow downward glide with regular downdrafts. There is no internal engine of morality. And, there is precious little cross connecting between these people and Christian leaders.

    What does this mean? I get together with other conservative activists. From time to time, I let my Biblical foundations shine through. If I were to keep my faith to myself, I would be fully accepted. As it is, they primarily like it when our teen age daughters help, but when it is just me, it is different. (Where are the Christian kids in the R party?)

    Also, I personally am working on foundation building projects, (involves teaching youth entrepreneurial skills in agriculture venues), and less available for quick activist projects. Most of our local conservative activists (more tea party than Republican ID) are beyond influencing their grown children, and are minimally interested in youth related long term consensus building projects.

    The losses of November elections have really taken the wind out of a lot of sails. National and state Republican initiatives fared badly. I like Erick Erickson's (RedState)advice today, that in local government, it is not party politics, but basic ideologies. One is either liberal or conservative. Local politics is where conservatives CAN build and make a difference.

    So, our plan is to "think local and act global" (turn the sustainable mantra on its head). Successful local involvements can be joined together. Broken state/federal initiatives ("think global, act local") only wear down local efforts.

    And with presidential and state governor directive based rule making (overstepping legislative checks), it is at the local level that survival will happen. Unless conservative city/county strongholds can be developed and held, true conservative renewal will likely not happen.

    Nuff said for now.

    John Kirk, Sumas, WA


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