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Michael Heath

Trouble Ahead
By Michael Heath
Oct 27, 2004 - 6:27:00 AM

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I reviewed the Kennebec Journal's voter guide yesterday. They asked one question about "gay marriage." They asked if the candidate supports an amendment to the Maine constitution banning gay marriage. All the candidates answered the question.

The League also has a questionnaire. The fact that many candidates, even good ones, didn't answer our online questionnaire is one sign of trouble ahead. Another clue is the answers in the KJ voter guide. They allowed space for more than just a yes or no answer.

One Christian minister, who is attempting a return to the Legislature, said that the state should get out of marriage entirely. He says that marriage is a private religious affair. This candidate switched from Republican to Democrat half way through his last term.

One legislator claimed that they are "unsure" about the constitutional amendment. Perhaps they don't want same sex marriage, but they are concerned about amending the constitution. In other words they want to stop homosexual rights, but don't want to do it using the Maine constitution.

Often we find a legislator who rises in power and responsibility on a tide of careful calculation and deft maneuvering on social issues. This sort of candidate usually votes right, but that's all they'll do. They won't lift a political finger, or take political risks, to help the pro family movement.

This Legislature has proven time and time again that they believe referendums are not binding. Legislators act as if referendums are more like a poll of what the people of Maine think at a given point in time, than a political action that binds future legislatures. Two consecutive referendums that were won by a sliver four and six years ago respectively have lost their hold on the imagination of Legislators. That came home to me in the answers I read in the KJ voter guide.

It is clear from reading the voter guide, and lobbying for many years, that candidates expect their lawmaking and public discourse to be free of public Christian influence and reasoning (unless it supports politically correct causes.) The separation of church and state means that orthodox, cheerful, intelligent and imaginative Christians need to check their faith at the State House door. To do anything else is to risk losing the opportunity to manage power in Maine government. We might picture these Christians as cuckoo clocks. They are either a curious reminder that time is simply passing or an artful clock chirping that the end of all things draws near.

Maine Christians must decide that the Bible's views about the world around us are worth defending publicly. Until that time we will face the scrubbed choices presented to us in the KJ voter guide.

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