The Oregon Family Council (OFC) called my office this morning to see if I’d be joining their "Pastors Day at the Capitol." This is where they bring “Tea Party Jesus” to the politicians.
On Facebook, the OFC has stated that the “Oregon Family Council serves over 2,000 Churches and over 40,000 families from across the state who come from a broad spectrum of denominational backgrounds within the Christian community” and that as a 501 ( c ) non profit they “are not affiliated with any political party. Party platforms or points of view play no role whatsoever in our evaluation and recommendations on ballot measures.”
What they fail to mention is they also operate a political action committee that gives 100% of their money to GOP candidates.
What ballot measures have they endorsed in the past? Those that benefit the wealthiest Oregonians at the expense of those Jesus would have called the “least of these.”
Their stances have been opposed by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, our state’s association of churches and other faith leaders who view public policy through Christian theology and not just a political agenda.
Let’s be clear: this isn’t a Christian organization but rather a political machine to support GOP candidates and causes.
At their "Pastors Day at the Capitol," the OFC claims to be coming to protect religious freedoms under attack:
Our religious freedoms are under direct assault on many fronts today. This year’s event is a must for every pastor and church leader from around the state. Local and national experts on religious liberty will be in attendance to address where we stand in regards to our religious freedoms and how we can preserve these freedoms for future generations.
The most hotly debated issue concerning "religious freedom" has centered around President Obama's health care law - passed with the strong support of the National Council of Churches - and the argument that it infringes on religious liberty has been rejected by nearly all.
Sally Steenland, Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress, notes this is part of a national movement that has nothing to do with religious freedom:
…conservatives are setting up religious-liberty caucuses in states across the country. One of the goals of this effort is to pass laws with broad exemptions allowing those who oppose reproductive rights, same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex couples, and other measures of gay and transgender equality the ability to opt out of antidiscrimination laws and policies without being sued. This is not a new political strategy. It turns out we’ve been down this road before. In fact it is a road that has deep and all-too-familiar ruts from similar fights decades ago.
During the civil rights battle in the 1960s, for example, segregationists used religious justifications to oppose interracial marriage and integration. God created the races to be separate, they argued, which was why he put them on separate continents. To support any kind of race mixing—whether in stores, restaurants, movie theaters, schools, churches, or businesses—was a sin. Civil rights opponents denied they were bigoted. On the contrary, they were simply following biblical teachings and obeying God’s will. Forcing them to abide by civil rights laws would be a grave violation of their conscience and an assault on their religious liberty.
Fortunately, segregationists did not get the religious exemptions they desired.
It is important that people of faith stand up to political groups like the Oregon Family Council and their agenda that in the name of Jesus seeks to shift ever further economic policies so that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer, while at the same time they advance proposals to discriminate against people all in the name of religious freedom.
I told the caller I won’t be attending the Oregon Family Council’s "Pastors Day at the Capitol." Instead, I’ll be joining with people of faith to oppose their plans.