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Update: Litzow Endorsement Withdrawn

August 15, 2010

Last night I received news that Pastor Joseph Fuiten had removed his endorsement of NARAL PAC committee member, Steve Litzow.  I appreciate him doing so.

While we can be happy that the adamantly pro-choice Litzow no longer has the sanction of a pro-life pastor, this is not the time to let our guards down.  Unfortunately, Pastor Fuiten’s withdrawal of this endorsement does not reflect a change in political philosophy, neither does it mean that his remaining endorsements necessarily reflect pro-life Christian values. Many of them do, but certainly not all. Steve Litzow was the most egregious offender, but he was not the only pro-choice candidate on this year’s Pastor’s Picks (And no, I’m not referring here to Dino Rossi.)

This past week has afforded the pro-life community with valuable insight into the world of political endorsements. I am grateful for Pastor Fuiten’s willingness to elaborate on the process, despite our adamant disagreement on the subject. On Friday, Fuiten released this statement (prior to withdrawing his endorsement):

A special message from Pastor Joe:

I have raised some eyebrows with my recommendation to vote for Steve Litzow over his Democratic rival in the race for State Senate in the 41st Legislative District. It might be a good time to remind friends about my process. When I make a voting recommendation, I have a series of filters:

FIRST, I look for a competent and conservative Christian.  Lacking that I choose as conservative a person as possible.

LACKING THAT, I choose a Republican. In this case, all that gets him the nomination is that he is a Republican and the other guy is a Democrat.

Why does the party matter?

The majority party gets to choose committee chairs who in turn determine what bills get heard in a committee. A lot of bad things have happened since Republicans lost a working majority in the Senate. Litzow is on the board of NARAL. However, if Litzow gets elected, his might be the position that returns the Republicans to control of the Senate. Even though he is personally pro-abortion, it might put a pro-life Republican in charge of some committee that would give us the results we want.

Some in the pro-life community have made my endorsement an issue, but they really don’t understand the back story as to why I don’t want the Democrat elected. It isn’t a simple question of who is pro-life because neither one is. It is a question of which candidate’s election will actually advance the pro-life cause. In this case, it would be Litzow. I have actually had pro-lifers say they would rather have the Democrat than a pro-abortion Republican. But that might end up being very short-sighted and could actually hurt the pro-life cause.

That is the strange world of politics.

Maybe we won’t elect enough Republicans to make a difference, but I would be really unhappy if the naive attitudes of some left us one Republican vote short to control the Senate and therefore to keep the current bunch in power.

Though Fuiten has since removed this particular endorsement, he continues to operate under this same process. Unless this changes, he will continue to endorse pro-choice Republicans. I can understand the pragmatic reasons Fuiten uses this method–my opposition to his endorsement of Litzow was not based on a misunderstanding of his process.

I could write ad nauseum on the problems I have with this form of pragmatism, but I have a feeling most of you know what those reasons are, and have already come down on one side or the other.

The bottom line is this: We must not assume that when a pro-life, conservative, Christian pastor endorses a candidate, that the candidate shares pro-life, conservative, Christian values. This does not just go for Pastor’s Picks, but many other groups and individuals who issue endorsements. This is nothing new. 

Back in February, Life of the Party founder Michelle McIntyre, chronicled this sad history:

Too often Pro-Life leaders have been willing to accept cosmetic agreement by Republicans and ignore deep, real, political disagreements.

In our last US Senate Race, the Washington State Republican nominee merely said he was a Catholic and quote, “against abortion.” Those were, we’re told, his personal feelings. His political positions, however, were extremely pro-choice. He was a defender of a woman’s partially-regulated right to abortion. Trusted pro-life leaders endorsed this candidate, even when the candidate’s actual positions became known. He was a Republican.

On November 4, 2007, former Senator Fred Thompson, openly, on national TV, told NBC’s Tim Russert he believed that abortion is “a woman’s right,” and he would not vote to ban it in the first trimester at any level. Nine days later, on November 13, 2007, the National Right to Life Committee endorsed his candidacy for President of the United States. He was a Republican.

The eventual holder of the Republican nomination for President in 2008 was the recipient, for good reason, of the enthusiastic endorsement of Republicans for Choice. The National Right to Life also endorsed him. He was a Republican.

And so, in practice, applying to one’s chest the Republican logo has, to some degree, become a means of whitewashing pro-abortion views. We believe that for any Republican who understands the gravity of the legalized murder of innocent children, this is intolerable.

Voter vigilance is crucial. On the flip side, I would challenge those who issue endorsements to realize that many who trust them will assume that the candidates they endorse share their values. Ultimately, it is the individual voter’s responsibility to do their own research, but who can blame them for making such assumptions?

What would happen if the pro-life community no longer got behind candidates who blatantly turned their backs on the unborn? What if the Republican Party faced consequences, for running such pro-choice candidates?  The brilliant abolitionist writer, Elizabeth Heyrick, wrote: “Truth and justice, make their best way in the world, when they appear in bold and simple majesty; their demands are most willingly conceded when they are most fearlessly claimed.”  I think she’s right.

Author and pastor Randy Alcorn writes:

Sacrifice children on the altar of Republicanism? I won’t do it. The children aren’t expendable. The Republican party is.

… I’ll vote for someone who won’t sacrifice children on the altar of expedience, pragmatism, partisanship or economic philosophy. And I won’t consider it a wasted vote, because if the two options on a ballot so blatantly dishonor Christ and His values, then the real waste would be voting for one of them.

To some this is naïve and impractical. But if we acted according to principle and conscience, if we stopped selling out because of our premature analysis of “electability,” if we did it God’s way instead of ours, maybe we would be coming over to His side rather than expecting Him to come over to ours. Maybe then we would receive God’s approval. That’s what will matter in the last day. And that’s what should most matter to us now.

I can live with not being a Republican. I cannot live with ceasing to stand up for the little ones, of whom God says “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; defend the cause of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-)

Let’s be grateful that Pastor Fuiten withdrew this endorsement, and continue to be vigilant in seeking and proclaiming truth and light.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter permalink
    August 16, 2010 11:03 am

    Amen!

  2. Chris permalink
    August 16, 2010 11:39 am

    While I’m thankful pastor Joe withdrew his endorsement of this pro-death candidate; I’m saddened that his ‘filter process’ (still) demonstrates a reliance on a convoluted political game of chance rather than the simple, he would say ‘naive’, method of endorsing candidates committed to God’s Truth, Righteousness, and the protection of children. If no such candidate exists, so be it; God can probably figure-out a way to accomplish His plans without us endorsing pro-death republican candidates.

  3. August 16, 2010 11:57 am

    You’re absolutely right, Chris! God CAN and He WILL! Let us put our faith in Him and not in any party or politician!

  4. Joe Fuiten permalink
    August 16, 2010 1:38 pm

    Terra, thanks very much for including my rationale. Even if you and others disagree with the rationale, it helps people to understand that there is a goal in mind which is the pro-life goal. It is a valuable discussion and the issues are real. The venom with which some have attacked me on your site and elsewhere does not speak well for them. This last post of yours is very good and is a fair analysis of the issue. It helps pro-lifers think about the goal and the process and leads to thoughtful reflection. I do try to make an endorsement on every race statewide. That is where the filter is helpful, at least to me, but as in the case under discussion it can also lead to some not so smart endorsements which you have duly noted and we have corrected (thanks to my wife and also to you). All the best to you and your readers as we together try to make progress on this important issue.

    • August 16, 2010 4:00 pm

      Thank you Pastor Fuiten.

    • Scott permalink
      August 22, 2010 10:09 pm

      Pastor Joe,

      While I appreciate you correcting your pastorspick it does seem to point to a deep problem when we assume that the Republican party will automatically support pro-life issues. Litzow is in MY district. I am horrified and angry that my party would even allow him the opportunity to be elected and to represent my family and those in our community. NARAL does NOT represent the majority of individuals … even in King County. The fact that the Republican Party in Washington doesn’t seem to care enough to make this an issue points to integral problem within the party. The Republican party in Washington is NOT run by or strongly influenced by pro-life or the conservative members. Actually, the fact that RNC would have a health care program for years that paid for abortion for its members while luring the pro-life vote (Steele appropriately went ballistic over this issue a few months ago). It obviously doesn’t do any good to vote moderate or liberal Republicans … in fact it only reinforces the Republican leadership to have disdain towards the pro-life community. Frankly the pro-life community needs to chastise the Republicans and hold them to task. I just wonder … what would John the Baptist say?….

  5. Daniel permalink
    September 8, 2010 11:12 pm

    Hey I got an idea. Let’s all become one issue voters and push everyone out of our political party who do not agree with us 100 percent of the time. Yeah, I get it. Millions of innocent babies are killed every year. It is a terrible thing. There is a reason why the Republican Party will take back majorities this year, and it is not because of the issue of abortion.

    Pastor Joe gets it. He is a smart man who deserves credit for why Republicans win in our region. It is people like you who keep us in the minority, so enjoy it. Leave great people like Steve Litzow alone, he represents his district better than anyone has in the past decade. FYI this is not Eastern Washington….maybe that would be a better place for you to reside.

    • Scott permalink
      September 8, 2010 11:48 pm

      Let’s see … killing innocent children and making a profit at is okay AS LONG as gets someone in office that might cut taxes. Maybe …. we should reintroduce slavery since we know that the economy would certainly benefit from lower wages (one of the arguments for keeping slavery in the 1800’s), or even repeal child labor laws since only kids could fit in some of Boeing engine compartments (coal mines in the early 1900’s). Think of all the economic success that we could have if we just ignore silly things like moral values on human life.

      Thanks Daniel. I guess I believe the reason why we have hard core pro-abortion rights Republicans is … because we allow it. Steve does not represent the majority of Americans and he really doesn’t represent the majority of people in Seattle. Despite initiative 120 being passed by Washingtonians in 1991 (20 years ago … a lot has changed both scientifically and how people look at abortion), the majority would not approve of partial birth abortions or probably late term abortions.

Trackbacks

  1. Washington Life Coalition » Dino Rossi’s Endorsements: Are they Reliable?
  2. Meet NARAL, Pastor’s Picks, and Steve Litzow « terramork.com

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