September 18, 2019 (Lepanto Institute) — The following is written by Hon. Robert Marshall, former member of the Virginia House of Delegates.
The So-Called Equality Act
On October 30, 2008, Barack Obama said, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” The legal policy changes wrought under the Obama Administration paved the way for the so-called Equality Act, HR 5, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 17, 2019 by a vote of 236 to 173. The Equality Act would fundamentally and radically alter Civil Rights Law to prohibit “discrimination” on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” in the same way racial discrimination is prohibited. Analysis by pro-life and pro-family organizations, as well as the U.S. Catholic Bishops, have warned that the Equality Act would:
- Require faith-based hospitals, doctors and nurses to participate in and/or to perform or assist with abortions or lose their medical licenses;
- Require tax funding of all abortions without restrictions;
- Mandate that any entity that provides health care for pregnancy and childbirth be required to provide abortion as a “related medical condition”;
- Force women to share private, intimate spaces with men who “identify” as female including in bathrooms, lockers, schools, hospitals, prisons, gyms, military barracks and homeless shelters;
- Disallow Catholic and private school single sex sports teams from competing against public school sports teams, which will no longer be permitted to have “discriminatory” single sex teams;
- Decertify Catholic and Christian schools from satisfying state compulsory attendance laws if they refuse to adopt LGBTQ policies, treating religious schools as “hate groups” comparable to the Ku Klux Klan;
- Forbid groups like the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Charities and Christian non-profits from receiving community block grants from local governments for housing for the disabled or seniors unless they accommodate the LGBTQ agenda including hiring those who identify as homosexual or transgender;
- Prohibit Catholic schools and parishes from obtaining construction loans from federally chartered banks or savings institutions unless the schools and churches implement the LGBTQ agenda including hiring active homosexual and transgender teachers in same sex “marriages”;
- Remove children from the legal custody of their parents if they try to prevent their minor children from taking cancer-causing, puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones recommended by school counselors or provided by social welfare agencies;
- End women-only or men-only shelters serving drug addicts, the battered, and the homeless;
- Decertify foster care and adoption agencies which do not place children with homosexual partners;
- Require small businesses owned by Catholics to promote and affirm LGBTQ sexual behavior or face fines and/or loss of their business licenses;
- Remove the tax-exempt status of Catholic churches and agencies if they fail to “celebrate” same-sex “weddings.” The Equality Act would classify churches as “public accommodations” (like hotels and restaurants), prohibited from denying services on account of sexual orientation, in the same manner services cannot now be denied on account of race.
Several Republican members of the Judiciary Committee tried to blunt the coercive effects of HR 5, by proposing amendments that would have prevented biological females from being forced to compete against biological males in any sporting event; protected health care providers from being forced to affirm the self-professed gender identity of an individual; protected parental rights to direct the medical care of their children against efforts to facilitate changing the sexual identity of their children; and restored the Religious Freedom Restoration Act's conscience and religious liberty protections. All of these amendments were defeated on straight party line votes, proving that proponents of the Equality Act intend to require every policy the amendments sought to prohibit.
The “Equality Act” is one egregious example of sexual progressives stepping up efforts to exclude from the public square those who live by the moral teachings of Moses and Jesus. Anyone who disagrees or questions the LGBTQ agenda, abortion and “reproductive rights” is described as guilty of depravity, bigotry and hatred, despite our following a faith based on loving God and loving our neighbor.
LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Queer) advocates preach “tolerance” but one prominent homosexual advocate, Frank Bruni, wrote in the April 3, 2015, NY Times: “… debate about religious freedom should include a conversation about freeing religions and religious people from prejudices … Mitchell Gold, a prominent … gay philanthropist … told me that church leaders must be made 'to take homosexuality off the sin list.' …”
Multi-millionaire leftist donor Tim Gill, who developed Quark Express, a desktop publishing program, announced his jarring diktat, “We're going to punish the wicked,” in the June 2017 Rolling Stone magazine. Gill considers anyone, including Christians, who disagrees with LGBTQ policies “the wicked.” Mary Bonauto, the attorney, “married” to a woman, who argued the Obergefell same-sex “marriage” case, said, “We would not be where we are without Tim Gill and the Gill Foundation.”
Catholic Members of Congress Vote for the Equality Act
All 74 Catholic Democrat members of the House who were present, including Catholic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voted in support of HR 5. Six Catholic Republican congressmen voted “yes,” while 42 Catholic Republican congressmen voted “no.” The Senate companion bill, S. 788, has been co-sponsored by ten Catholic Democrats and one Catholic Republican. (Only four of the Catholic Republican senators and one Catholic Democrat senator have not cosponsored the so-called Equality Act.)
The Catholic bishops wrote a letter to Congress indicating their opposition to the Equality Act on March, 2019, stating, “The Act's definitions alone would remove women and girls from protected legal existence … the Act also fails to recognize the difference between the person — who has dignity and is entitled to recognition of it — and the actions of a person, which have ethical and social ramifications.”
It appears there has been no news coverage of bishops fraternally correcting those Catholic congressmen who voted for the Equality Act, continuing a lack of public criticism allowing Catholic politicians to publicly vote for and speak in favor of this Act and other morally harmful legislation with no public scrutiny or ecclesiastical penalty.
Lawyers working for the United States Catholic Conference and various dioceses appear to be more protective of the Church's tax-exempt status than of the moral principles the Church is ordained to uphold. This is puzzling considering that one of the questions St. Peter will obviously not ask American Catholic bishops in the next life is, “How well did you protect the tax-exempt status of the Church?”
In 2020, if Democrats maintain the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and win the majority of the U.S. Senate, and if President Donald Trump is defeated in part because of public criticism by the U.S. bishops, it is almost certain that the grossly misnamed “Equality Act” will become law with all of its destructive consequences to the Church and society.
The very tax-exempt status the Church has carefully sought to protect will be significantly eroded if not totally eliminated, financially impacting parishes, schools, hospitals, food pantries, group homes, shelters, soup kitchens, adoption agencies, etc.
Believing that the First Amendment will protect Catholic programs assumes that the Constitution is a self-executing document. Sexual progressives and liberal lawyers will almost surely use the Fourteenth Amendment to claim they are merely seeking “equal protection” and freedom from discrimination.
Furthermore, the Equality Act removes the protection of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA). The Judiciary Committee Report for the Equality Act states: “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.) shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application or enforcement of a covered title.”
The 1993 RFRA law was sponsored by then Congressman Chuck Schumer (D-NY) but now Senator Schumer is a co-sponsor of the Senate's Equality Act, S. 788. Relying on Mr. Schumer to protect religious liberty is expecting the fox to guard the hen house.
Duties of a Bishop
Are our bishops, when confronted with obviously anti-Catholic legislation, required to correct politicians, especially Catholic politicians, who support such policies, or is private criticism enough? In October, 2004, Pope St. John Paul II met in Rome with representatives of the U.S. Catholic bishops where he spelled out the bishops' duties: “remember that your sacred responsibility to teach, sanctify and govern cannot be surrendered to anyone else: it is your personal vocation.”
Regarding life, marriage and God's creation of “male and female,” much more could be taught through pastoral letters, Prayers of the Faithful offered during Mass, notices in Church bulletins, letters read at Mass, articles in Catholic newspapers and social media as well as messages publicizing the Sacrament of Reconciliation and retreats to offer hope and forgiveness to reach those who have undergone abortion. Some of the most powerful witnesses in defense of human life have been open about their past abortion wounds.
If there is reluctance to speak about the sacredness of human life and the evil of abortion from the pulpit, I offer the experience of one Christian pastor who feared that if he mentioned abortion in a sermon, it could hurt the post-abortive women in his congregation. It wasn't until after he counseled numerous distraught women from his church, that he realized he could have spared these women deep suffering if he had spoken the truth earlier. He subsequently changed his thinking and his sermons.
Catholics cannot obtain much helpful information about current moral issues from the secular media. Lay organizations that work in the pro-life and pro-family arena can help but they cannot reach every parishioner. Catholics needs our church, at the parish level, to proclaim correct teaching on these moral issues being debated in the public square if we are to truly become the light of the world, the salt of the earth and the leaven of society.
Informing Catholics in the pew about proposed unjust laws that will impact their church, their families and society should not be considered controversial or “political.” Sharing information in the form of petitions, pulpit announcements, form letters, and educational flyers would definitely help motivate and educate Catholics to oppose harmful legislation and support helpful legislation.
The Book of Matthew 18:15–17 states: “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church.”
Thankfully, several cardinals and bishops, including Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Thomas Daly, Archbishop Thomas Tobin, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, and others understand the scandal and confusion caused by “Catholic” legislators who publicly support egregious policies contrary to our faith. They have fraternally corrected those who violate serious moral principles, with several legislators being warned that they should not present themselves to receive Holy Communion.
Rev. Franklin Graham Challenges Cardinal Dolan to Excommunicate Governor Andrew Cuomo
In January 2019, prominent Evangelical Protestant, Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the renowned Rev. Billy Graham, sent “tweets” to N.Y. Cardinal Dolan urging him to excommunicate “Catholic” N.Y. Governor Cuomo for signing and celebrating the third-trimester abortion law.
On Fox News, Cardinal Dolan responded that excommunication “would be counter-productive.” Cardinal Dolan's spokesman pointed out that San Diego Bishop Leo Maher in l989 barred Catholic State Assemblywoman Lucy Killea from receiving Communion. She later appeared on the Phil Donohue Show to explain that she would not change her Faith or her abortion position. Killea won a seat in the California state senate. However, Cardinal Dolan cannot legitimately assume that Bishop Maher's refusal to allow Killea to receive Communion in 1989 was responsible for Killea's election because Killea already had high name identification from serving 5 years on the San Diego City Council and almost 14 years in the California Assembly. Bishop Maher's action was necessary to teach both Killea and the faithful the seriousness of the crime of abortion. Prudence is a virtue, but possible political ramifications should not trump proclaiming truth.
In the past, some American bishops had publicly excommunicated Catholics who opposed the bishops' efforts to racially integrate Catholic schools. Sadly, there are too few bishops willing to take this step over the civil rights injustice of our age, taking the lives of unborn children without due process. If a governor of a state can pave the way for even more killings of innocent unborn children and remain a member of the Catholic Church, the laity intuits that the crime of abortion cannot be a serious infraction. This reality, I believe, has given Catholics in the pew a green light to vote for Democrats who support abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and assisted suicide.
The Church Receives Government Grants, Fails to Censure Pro-Abortion Catholic Congressmen
Catholic bishops and their lawyers want to maintain federal funding of their many charitable works. This may be understandable, but the long strings attached to government funds can be risky. Further, there would develop over time a natural reluctance to “bite the hand that feeds you.”
Long before the most current sex abuse scandal broke, Washington D.C.'s now disgraced Cardinal McCarrick stated that, “When the bishops ask you to do something, to do it with the government, you make sure you're on good terms with the government — with whoever's in power” (Washingtonian, 10/1/04).
In May of 2004, forty-eight mostly pro-abortion Catholic Democrat Congressmen, including current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, wrote to Cardinal McCarrick: “If Catholic legislators are scorned and held out for ridicule by Church leaders on the basis of a single issue, the Church will lose strong advocates on a wide range of issues that relate to the core of important Catholic social teaching.” (Emphasis added.)
In 2004, as the Catholic bishops were deliberating on whether Holy Communion should be denied to pro-abortion politicians, then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent Cardinal McCarrick a letter noting, “… the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone … Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person's formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church's teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.”
When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”
The letter from Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick was clearly intended for all Catholic bishops, but apparently McCarrick did not initially disclose that. Further, Cardinal McCarrick publicly mischaracterized Ratzinger's letter, saying that Communion “may be denied,” but Cardinal Ratzinger said it “must be denied.” Two years later, Cardinal McCarrick was still advocating that the bishops keep “hands off” pro-abortion Democrat politicians. McCarrick, when addressing Canadian bishops, quoted Jesuit Cardinal-Deacon Avery Dulles: “… the Church incurs a danger of alienating judges, legislators and public administrators, whose good will is needed for other good programs, such as the support of Catholic education and the care of the poor. For all these reasons, the Church is reluctant to discipline politicians in a public way, even when it is clear that their positions are morally indefensible.”
In other words, don't hold Catholic politicians accountable for immoral actions because government funding could dry up.
McCarrick's position as head of the U.S. Bishops Conference task force on Catholics in Political Life gave even more weight to his argument. He obviously was able to “convince” the Catholic bishops they should not embarrass Democrat politicians about their pro-abortion votes by even hinting at excommunication if the bishops want Democrats to keep their social projects funded. Unfortunately, this policy advocated by then-cardinal McCarrick remains operative despite the recent revelation of moral crimes Cardinal McCarrick had committed.
Another significant problem is that state Catholic conferences often publish voting records or candidate questionnaires which tally votes or positions on a number of issues such as on gun control, benefits for those in our country illegally, increased social welfare programs and other liberal positions promoted by the Democrat Party, as if these issues could possibly be compared to the 60 million lives lost through abortion in America alone since 1973! Such vote summaries or candidate questionnaires have the dangerous effect of “sanitizing” the pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ votes of Democrats who support the Catholic conference's positions, even though these Democrats support abortion on demand.
Such vote tallies and candidate surveys are often published in Catholic newspapers or passed out in churches, giving Catholics in the pew a reason to vote for Democrats who support abortion and same-sex “marriage,” because the Democrats agree on most “other issues” the Church chooses to highlight. While Church teaching is clear on abortion, same-sex marriage and assisted suicide, the Church does not teach that government should increase regulation of weapons used in self-defense or defense of another person, nor does the Church teach that every social welfare program is mandated by the Gospel.
The reluctance of most American Catholic bishops to openly challenge official actions of pro-abortion, overwhelmingly Democrat Catholic politicians will also give Catholics a green light to vote for any of the Democrat 2020 presidential candidates who are intensely pro-abortion and pro–gender confusion. Pray that our bishops will be willing to instruct Catholics in the pew that any candidate, let alone Catholic candidates, should not be supported because they advocate for the destruction of innocent human lives.
The late Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL) astutely noted in 2003 that “… something is awry when the voice of the church is most often identified with specific policies that are matters of contingent judgment (such as questions of welfare reform or foreign policy), and not with the articulation of principles. When the bishops are widely perceived in Washington and in state capitals as yet another religious lobby, rather than as compelling teachers, something is awry.”
I will never forget the lessons I learned as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill in the late 1970s and early '80s. Whether a fair criticism or not, the underlying word on the Hill was that the Catholic bishops were willing to “trade” babies (abortion) for books (aid to Catholic schools).
Effects of Failing to Excommunicate Catholic Politicians
Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke of Wisconsin, in an August 2019 interview with Fox News's Martha MacCallum, noted: “I've had non-Catholic leaders of government in this nation tell me that they were certain that the Catholic teaching on abortion and so-called same-sex marriage have changed because so many Catholics on Capitol Hill are regularly supporting this kind of legislation. And that's a scandal.”
In the 2008 presidential election, 54% of Catholics voted for pro-abortion Barack Obama; McCain received 45%. In the 2012 presidential race, Obama received 50% of the Catholic vote; Romney received 48%, despite Obamacare requiring insurance companies to cover contraception and abortion!
Catholic bishops are charged by Christ Himself to teach, govern and sanctify their flock. Catholic politicians are part of their flock.
A Path for Lay Catholics
Unfortunately, the Catholic laity who fight to protect the innocent unborn cannot depend upon most Catholic bishops to set an example of publicly reprimanding errant Catholic politicians. If the Bishops did correct them, that example would speak volumes about the important of protecting innocent human life in the womb. Whether or not our Bishops act in this regard, lay Catholics cannot afford the luxury of ignoring the hard work needed to counteract the inroads being made with regard to religious persecution and the pending annihilation of religious liberty by the impact of the “Equality Act,” which has already passed the House of Representatives. We must pray for our bishops but we just can't wait for their leadership.
Prayer is the first line of defense, but St. James admonishes, “What use is it … if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? … faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” (Js. 2:14,17).
Leftist LGBTQ and pro-abortion activists are involved in political “works” more intensely now, especially at the neighborhood level. If we do not meet our political opponents on the political battlefield, leftists will win even more elections with all of the adverse consequences such election wins bring.
Whoever is elected president in 2020 will impact whether or not Roe v. Wade has a chance to be reversed by the Supreme Court. Every current Democrat presidential candidate supports and celebrates unrestricted abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy and would gladly nominate judges who would keep abortion “constitutional” and even expand its availability. Every pro-abortion Democrat presidential candidate who calls himself Catholic should be publicly corrected by his bishop, as should any pro-abortion Republican or independent candidate who calls himself Catholic, at every level government.
How many Catholics will work and vote for pro-abortion candidates in part because Church leaders have been silent about this scandal, or because abortion has been presented as one of many issues of social justice, and perhaps not as important as other Democrat-promoted issues? Our Declaration of Independence is so clear: we are created (not born) equal and endowed by our Creator (not government) with the “right to life.” This message should permeate every Church in America, not just Catholic churches!
Whether we Catholics have the cooperation of our local bishop or not, Catholics still have a duty to work to secure the common good. The Catholic Catechism teaches: “It is not the role of the Pastors of the Church to intervene directly in the political structuring and organization of social life. This task is part of the vocation of the lay faithful, acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens. Social action can assume various concrete forms. … It is the role of the laity 'to animate temporal realities with Christian commitment, by which they show that they are witnesses and agents of peace and justice'” (Catholic Catechism 2442).
Catholic Civic Involvement
I served as a congressional aide for six years, and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1991, serving for 26 years in a legislative district that was twice won by Barack Obama. I advocated for my constituents on local concerns, and always voted pro-life and pro–true marriage and stated so in my campaign flyers, debates and candidate surveys. With the prayers and support of many committed volunteers going door to door, I won one primary and thirteen general elections, then lost my last general election.
We need more “foot soldiers” just like those Gideon led in the Book of Judges. Gideon winnowed down his forces to just 300 men who were single-minded, dedicated, cunning and tactful enough to beat the Army of Midian which Bible commentators say numbered 120,000. Begging God for His guidance, strength, courage and perseverance, I believe Christians can “Walk to Win” with a political as well as a “natural law” message.
First, we must find out who represents us at the local, state and federal levels and determine their positions on protecting human life and other moral issues. Third party descriptions of a legislator's views can mislead voters. Even if you determine that a legislator or candidate agrees with your beliefs, you cannot ignore the upcoming election. He needs help to win. In the current political climate Democrats normally strongly favor abortion. Some Republicans do as well.
To defeat a pro-abortion legislator, make sure you and your like-minded friends and family members are also registered to vote. Keep a link on your smart phone for your state election board's web page which allows voters to register to vote online or to download a printable voter registration application. You can send the link to those you meet at church, in the grocery store, at sports games, etc. to make it easy for them to register to vote if they are not already registered.
Your friends may not be aware that their 17 year old children can register to vote as long as they will turn 18 by the time of the next election. If they are away at college make sure they vote absentee. If people are unsure if they are registered to vote, send them a link to their state's voter registration portal, usually the state's Department of Elections.
Every vote counts! In 2017, an election for the Virginia state House ended up in a tie, and this was not the first tie race in Virginia! If the Republican's name had not been picked out of a hat, progressive Democrats would have shared power 50-50 with Republicans. Legislation authorizing abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, the misnamed Equal Rights Amendment, and many other liberal Democrat policies would have had a significantly better chance of passage in the Virginia House of Delegates. Don't let anyone convince you that one vote does not count!
Donating money to a pro-life candidate, placing a bumper strip on your car or planting a sign in your yard are all very important helps to candidates running for office.
Working at the Grassroots Level as “Hanoi” Jane Fonda Recommends
Every neighborhood is located within a precinct (sometimes neighborhoods are split into more than one precinct) where those who live within the boundaries, vote at a certain poll. Voter registrars normally have maps of each precinct, but there are also apps for cell phones that contain such maps. The most important and most effective level of civic involvement is contacting voters directly by going door to door and asking voters to support your candidate. This tactic is much more effective than phone calls, text messaging, TV or radio ads, social media and mailing campaign brochures.
Actress “Hanoi” Jane Fonda, now 81 years old, who earned her nickname for posing with a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun unit a few hundred yards from the “Hanoi Hilton” where American POWs were tortured, recently wrote in the August 30, 2019 Washington Post, about her experience knocking on voters' doors with “Working America” in a Scranton, Pennsylvania precinct. She engaged voters in conversation and took notes, to steer voters toward a liberal Democrat in an upcoming election.
Fonda wrote: “Authentic engagement works — it's a no-brainer. For years now, the researchers measuring the most effective way to win votes have told us that face-to-face contact has the biggest impact. The results in 2018 show us there's an important swingable segment of the electorate that will pull the lever for Democrats if we can reach them. …
“I've seen the power of face-to-face contact since I became an activist five decades ago. In Modesto, Calif., I met some of the 800 volunteers who knocked on doors for more than a year before the 2018 election, and in Scranton I met the professional organizers, many of whom are working-class people of color. They talk with people year-round, reaching out to those hungry for information and a connection.
“… We outsmart the Facebook algorithms and digital foreign meddling by holding face-to-face conversations. I've seen it. The process builds trust, and it sends a message: You matter enough that I'm here on your doorstep.”
All Politics Is Local
What Fonda describes about local action and engagement with voters is how “community organizer” Barack Obama came into power. It is also the plan I followed to win elections over 26 years. Now the Left has become re-energized and has chosen this old fashioned personal strategy to win elections. Frankly, the Left appears to have many more workers and walkers than those who value God, family and our Country. Young Leftists, many from out of state, possibly supported by socialist organizations, are walking door to door, talking to voters as if they lived in their neighborhood, and winning elections!
Leftist organizations are particularly focused on winning state elections this year and next so they can capture a majority of legislators within their state, enabling Democrats to draw the boundary lines of new voting districts after the 2020 census. Although the Democrats talk against “gerrymandering” you can be sure they will use their power to draw district boundaries (drawn every ten years after each census) to ensure even more Democrats can be more easily elected for the next decade. Keep in mind that Democrat majorities will mean more pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQ policies.
You do not have to be a seasoned political activist to make a difference in the outcome of an election! Some of the most effective campaigners are high school students. Voters are very impressed by polite young people who visit them at their doors. Door to door volunteers do not need to know everything about a candidate or his positions. Working from a list of registered voters supplied by the candidate, they simply knock on doors, hand a brochure to voters, direct them to the candidate's website, and make sure they know they can call the candidate if they have questions. It is always best to travel in pairs, and even better if you have a driver to make the effort more efficient.
Anyone unable to walk door to door, can ask for a phone list and make live phone calls for a pro-life candidate. Most people have answering machines, so you will mostly leave messages. Some software programs dial numbers through a computer to make phone calling easier. Using your own personal email list to inform your friends and family about good candidates and the upcoming elections is a great way to inform voters and remind them to vote! A personal message from a friend carries much weight.
Recent Virginia Election Experience
Although I had won 13 general elections since 1991 using the door-to-door strategy, in 2017, I lost to a transgender opponent who spent nearly a million dollars of mostly out-of-state money, and who had a well-coordinated network of paid and unpaid workers from a variety of left-leaning organizations, including the LGBTQ Human Rights Campaign and Planned Parenthood. My opponent received huge donations from the homosexual lobby, including over $275,000 from one out of state LGBTQ donor! The Denver Post (11/15/17) reported, “Roem outraised Marshall 3 to 1 thanks in part to large donations from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates across the country.”
One organization called “Let America Vote” claimed to have knocked 34,400 doors in the 13th House District which I had represented. This particular group sends tweets asking young college age persons to move to another part of the country to walk door to door for Leftist candidates. My wife, Cathy and I personally ran into six pink-t-shirt clad Planned Parenthood door knockers in one precinct on one Saturday afternoon. The Leftists could produce 50–100 volunteers, most from out of the district, on any given weekend. The Left appears to be hungrier for political victory for its policies than the rest of us.
A number of my supporters did not think I could possibly lose to a man who “identified” and dressed as a woman. But the sexual progressives were able to contact many more people door to door than I was able to, and unsurprisingly, they won. They did not deliver a message of socialism or sexual anarchy to voters they met at the door. Most talked in generalities about “better roads, schools, etc.” to establish a sense of caring about their community even though many if not most did not live in the district. They were also overheard by my volunteers telling untruths about me and my record.
To give you one example of the Left's current commitment, on August 24, 2019, a Saturday afternoon, 200 leftist progressives reported they had knocked on 7,000 doors in Loudoun County, Virginia, a community roughly 30 miles west of Washington D.C., on behalf of candidates who support the Equal Rights Amendment, unrestricted abortion, pro transgender ideology in schools and submission to the LGBTQ's version of “tolerance.”
The progressive, leftist Blue Virginia blog noted: “They wanted to have an event that would re-energize women around issues of equality and justice that touch their lives, and that would bring new volunteers out to knock doors in support of women's equality and the ERA. … Lots of young people joined in, from Generation Ratify in Arlington, and from several Leesburg high schools.”
A group across the Potomac River in Montgomery County, Maryland, called “Do the Most Good,” also provided precinct walkers for the Loudoun County, Virginia door-knocking effort:
“The large number of motivated Democratic volunteers willing to canvass is one of our key advantages. The GOP doesn't have near our level of commitment … our canvass and call opportunities in Virginia is [sic] growing every week.”
Here are just a few of the leftist groups which worked in the 2017 Virginia state House races to defeat 15 Republicans and elect Democrats:
Progressive Turnout Project: “Sending field representatives door-to-door … is hands-down the most effective way to increase turnout. Experiments have shown that conversations at the door increase turnout more than 7 percent and make a lasting impact on voting behavior … To date, we've knocked on over 2 million doors and collected 75,000 commitments to vote.”
Let America Vote: “Since we launched in February 2017, we have contacted over 1 million voters and more than 700,000 people have signed up to join our cause. We've helped 110 voting rights champions win elections – from state legislators to statewide elected officials — beating anti-voter politicians across the country.”
Sister District Project: “… works to turn states blue by winning state legislative elections. We “sister” volunteers from deep blue districts with carefully targeted races in swing districts … flipping control of the state legislature … Since launching in the wake of the 2016 elections, the Sister District Project has grown to over 40,000 volunteers across the country. Our volunteers have raised over $1.1 million in small-dollar donations directly to candidates, and reached out to over 1 million voters via phones, doors, postcards, and texts. … We are open to volunteers and candidates of all genders. We have partnerships … with Indivisible, Swing Left, Flippable, Daily Kos, One Vote at a Time, March On, Together We Will, Solidarity Sundays, EMILY's List, and Emerge …”
Flippable: “Since our launch in 2016, we've helped elect 82 Democrats in game-changing state races. We didn't do it alone: over 100K people got involved by volunteering, spreading the word, and joining forces to donate over $2.1M. Together, we're making progressive change a reality!”
“Our hard work over the past two years paid off. … flipping the U.S. House, 7 governor's seats, and 7 legislative chambers, and passing a dozen ballot initiatives for fair redistricting, voting rights, healthcare, and more.”
The National Democrat Party is also coordinating and funding Virginia state Democrat groups which knocked on 250,000 doors in the month of August 2019 alone, according to the Blue Virginia “progressive” blog, dated September 12, 2019.
We need Evangelicals, Christians, conservatives, Catholics and pro-life “foot soldiers” coordinating and organizing similar door to door efforts at the local level. Unless citizens who share our beliefs match the number of Leftist foot soldiers with our own, we will lose elections and lose the chance to adopt sound social policies. The price of our not contesting the actions of “Progressives” in our local precincts, the political battlefield on which this war over values is fought, is that we lose more elections and make it easier for Progressives to negatively impact the lives of our children and grandchildren.
There are roughly 186,500 geographic voting precincts in the United States. A spokesman for the 2019 March for Life, just one of the many pro-life organizations operating in America, said that between 200,000 and 300,000 persons attended the annual March for Life in 2019. That is just one of many pro-life and pro-family organizations. Surely there must be enough individuals across the country capable of organizing foot soldiers in their precincts to “Walk to Win.” We could literally begin a revolution in American politics by becoming apostles or ambassadors for life in our own communities.
Potential volunteers need to be inspired and taught how to work a precinct and organize it most effectively. And, once a precinct organizer has identified enough volunteers to walk door to door in the various neighborhoods within their particular precinct, other educational efforts can complement the political door knocking such as distributing non-partisan educational flyers on issues such as the harms of abortion; why one-man, one-woman marriage is best for spouses, children and society; the pitfalls of pushing confused teens into decisions they can come to regret regarding sexual behavior; or the dangers of socialist government policies. Volunteers could also pass out information about the development of pre-born children along with resources available to those with unplanned pregnancies, or counseling services available to those mourning the loss of a child from an abortion.
My parents were born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and grew up there during the Great Depression and the devastating 1936 Johnstown Flood. At that time, pastors of all denominations would knock on every door on a street offering to help local families. That door knocking by pastors built a tight- knit community uniting citizens of different denominations. So, while such door knocking by Pastors might be rare today, it was very effective at evangelizing in the past.
The window of opportunity for implementing successful civic action will not remain open forever, especially if Leftists have their way and succeed in pushing atheistic socialism and curbs on religious liberty. If we truly love our neighbors, and care enough to protect our families and communities from the ever-encroaching and growing persecution of Christians and others who embrace natural law values, then we must become the salt, the light and the leaven of society. If we fail to act in the public square, more immoral policies will spread and harm those we love. Pray, and like the Good Samaritan, also act. The story of Cain and Abel makes clear that we are our “brother's keeper.”
The book of Hosea reminds us that, “My people are destroyed for lack of Knowledge.” We must have knowledge of the Word of God, as well as knowledge of the civil world. St. Paul appealed to Caesar on the grounds that he, as a Roman citizen, should not be turned over to the Sanhedrin to be silenced, and Moses grew up in Pharaoh's household learning the ropes of government so God could rely on him to help the Jewish people.
Likewise, we need to become more knowledgeable about civic affairs and understand that each one of us has an important role to play during this particular time in history. Let us be motivated and remain hopeful, courageous, and persistent in the age-old fight between good and evil playing out today.
Published with permission from the Lepanto Institute.