On November 7, citizens across the country have the chance to vote on ballot measures determining state policy on issues like abortion, drugs, taxes, infrastructure and more. Though these bills can affect people’s daily lives more concretely than most elected officials, many will still choose not to vote — including some believers.
There’s a sizeable contingent of Christians who avoid politics because important political issues can seem divisive or discouraging (no argument there). Unfortunately, disliking politics doesn’t excuse believers from voting whenever they can — not just during an election.
There’s too much at stake to justify tuning out.
Take Ohio Issue 1, a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution that would effectively allow abortions at any point in a women’s pregnancy and eliminate laws requiring parents to consent before their children get abortions or other “reproductive care”— which can include transgender medical interventions that render children sterile.
Christians are called to protect life, which means we have a responsibility to not just passively oppose bills like Ohio Issue 1, which endanger and trivialize life, but vote “no” and convince others to do the same.
Individual disdain or disinterest in politics should not get in the way of opposing what breaks God’s heart.
Christians should also keep an eye out for drug policy bills, which frequently pop up on state ballots. Voting to regulate and penalize drug use should be central to Christians’ care for life, particularly in light of America’s increasing rates of drug addiction and homelessness.
Ohio Issue 2, which would legalize recreational marijuana use in the state, is a perfect example of the kind of policy believers should vote “no” on.
After Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, data collected from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area from 2013-2018 found:
- Marijuana use among people 12-years-old and older increased 58%, ending up 78% higher than the 2018 national average.
- Traffic deaths in which drivers tested positive for marijuana increased 109%, and overall traffic deaths rose 31%.
- Marijuana-related emergency room and hospital visits increased 54% and 101%, respectively.
- Suicide victims who tested positive for marijuana increased 9%.
A 2021 letter to three congresspeople from Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a group headed-up by drug policy expert Dr. Kevin Sabet, further noted youth use of marijuana dabs and vapes rose five- and two-times over, respectively, since 2017. Youth usage of ever higher potency cannabis is linked to psychosis and greater risk of getting addicted to other drugs, according to SAM.
By voting “no” on Ohio Issue 2, and other permissive drug bills, believers can shelter their citizens from the outsized dangers of recreational marijuana usage — particularly among children.
Voting on issues like abortion and drug policies should be no-brainers for conscientious Christians — but it’s equally important for believers to vote on how and where their money is spent.
Colorado Proposition HH would allow the government to keep tax money it would normally have to refund. Believers should ponder whether their taxes would be better spent in civic programs or through tithing and support of personal causes before voting on HH and others like it.
It’s also important to discern whether state governments, which can spend money inefficiently, are the best entities to distribute tax dollars. Colorado Proposition II asks citizens whether the government can keep a $23.56 million surplus from taxes on nicotine and tobacco companies and funnel it into Colorado preschools.
Funding preschools might well be a worthy cause, but not if millions of dollars will effectively be lost before getting to teachers and classrooms. Christians who vote in ways that practically assist people in need exemplify God’s love for His children.
Christian voters steer governments to help vulnerable populations and prevent harm to life — but only if they vote responsibly and conscientiously. Legislators, governments and lobbying groups can use sneaky tactics to disguise bills’ true meaning. Check out the tips below to avoid getting duped!
Read each bill yourself — don’t take anyone’s word for it!
If believers listened to supportive soundbites about Colorado Proposition HH, they might believe it’s a property tax reduction when, in reality, most of the bill proposes the government keep more tax money instead of returning it! What’s more, some of this extra revenue will be given to cities to make up for lower property taxes.
Figure out how bills — if any — are related.
Reading bills carefully is essential, but it must be done in context. Sometimes bills are related in ways that affect how we vote. If someone were to vote on one bill without understanding its relationship to another, they could accidentally pass a measure they vehemently opposed!
In Maine, for instance, a far-reaching, expensive infrastructure proposal has been broken into two separate bills, likely to make the proposal more palatable.
Maine Question 3 asks citizens whether the government can take over all privately-owned power companies in the state to form one giant utility company. The cost of such a venture would put the new company in an illegal amount of debt — an estimated $13.5 billion.
That’s why legislators introduced Maine Question 1, which would allow state-own entities to incur more than $1 billion in debt. While Question 1 isn’t technically connected to Question 3, it’s essential to Question 3’s passing.
Scrutinize vague language.
Ohio Issue 1 is an extreme elimination of safeguards protecting some of the most vulnerable members of our society — but it’s written with vague language to conceal its true implications from disengaged or casual voters.
The bill reads,
“Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion.”
If a believer read this in passing, they would likely miss how the phrase “every individual” — as opposed to “every adult” — suggests minors have the same reproductive rights, regardless of their parents’ consent. Similarly, by not defining or limiting “reproductive decisions,” the bill could be used to defend minors’ choices to make other kinds of “reproductive decisions,” like getting transgender medical interventions that mutilate healthy bodies and can cause sterility.
This November, America needs conscientious Christian voters to show up to ensure state policies and money go to causes that honor God. Don’t let your dislike or fear of politics prevent you from participating this November!
(Protect Women Ohio) Full Text of [Issue 1’s] Proposed Amendment
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