Written by Don Byrd
While the nation’s attention was focused, rightly, on mid-term congressional and Senate elections yesterday, I also had my eye on a couple of ballot measures related to religious liberty issues. Here is a brief recap, and some followup thoughts generally.
In Alabama, voters approved a constitutional amendment that authorizes state and local governments to display the Ten Commandments on government property, provided the display does not run afoul of the U.S. Constitution. The measure, which passed by a margin of 72-28, also bars taxpayer funds from being used to defend litigation involving such displays. You can read Amendment 1 here.
In Arizona, voters repealed a 2017 expansion of the state’s school voucher program, which would have added to the number of students eligible for taxpayer funding which can be funneled toward tuition private and religious education. Proposition 305, which would have left the expansion in place, failed 65% – 35%.
I was also interested to read this blog post from David Thompson, the VP of Public Policy for the National Council of Nonprofits, who wrote on the status of the Johnson Amendment following last night’s elections. He notes that the leading congressional proponents of ending that important protection for nonprofits including houses of worship “won’t be around in the House of Representatives next year to continue their efforts.” However, he warns, during the next two years, “nonprofits can expect heightened efforts at the congressional, administrative, and public relations levels to politicize charitable nonprofits for partisan ends.”
But if you read only one thing about voting and the election (ok two things), let it be 1) Amanda Tyler’s election day tweet:
To do list for every American: 1. Vote 2. Refuse to have your identity reduced to how you vote. We are all much more beautifully complex than our partisan labels.
And her recent column on unity and the partisan divide: In Christ, there is no democrat or republican. Here is how her powerful essay ends:
This election season promises to be brutal for all Americans, no matter which candidates win. In the midst of great diversity and difference of opinion, we can forget how much we share in common, both as Americans who benefit from religious freedom and as children of God. Reflecting on all that binds us together in our differences will help us as we strive for unity before and after November 6.
Indeed. Read the whole thing.