As we look over the country and the returns fromTuesday, we see a pattern of moral schizophrenia.Take Colorado, for example. I regret to report thatvoters there defeated a proposal that seemed like asmall restriction -- just requiring a twenty-four-hour waiting period before abortions could beperformed.
But in Maine, an initiative that would have legalizedphysician-assisted suicide was defeated, fifty-one toforty-nine. A victory for Christians, but a narrowone.
In Oregon, a measure prohibiting public schoolinstruction that promotes homosexual behavior wasdefeated by the voters. Yet, in Nebraska and Nevada,measures banning same-sex marriage were passed by thevoters. Good news. And in Vermont, many legislatorswho voted for homosexual unions last July -- thestatute that made Vermont first in the country --were tossed out of office. And Republicans committedto opposing the new law made major gains in bothbranches of the legislature -- even taking control ofthe lower house.
On school choice issues, moral conservatives took abeating. California and Michigan defeated proposalsto establish school vouchers. And in Washingtonstate, an effort to establish charter schools wasdefeated -- a huge blow to parental choice and avictory for the teachers' lobby.
In Colorado and Nevada, voters passed laws allowinguse of marijuana for medicinal purposes. And evenvoters in South Carolina, South Dakota, Colorado, andVirginia -- conservative states -- passed measures infavor of legalized gambling. On a happier note,seventeen of twenty-two pro-life candidates supportedby the Susan B. Anthony List won their races.
In state after state, there was no real pattern.Voters rejected limitations on their personal andsexual freedoms but voted repeatedly for restraintson government.
On a personal note, I must say I was saddened by theloss of John Ashcroft, a senator from Missouri, whoearned a place in the history books by being beatenby a dead man. John is an old friend who was avaliant defender of traditional values in the Senate.
Two others: Jim Talent, a bright young congressmanand evangelical from Missouri, was narrowly edged outrunning for governor. And, Congressman DavidMacIntosh, a key Christian conservative, failed inhis bid to be governor of Indiana. I hope, in time,however, these men will be back.
On the plus side of the ledger, however, the newsenator from Nevada, John Ensign, is a very committedbeliever who was, before he went to Congress,chairman of Prison Fellowship's ministry in Nevada.Most evangelicals in Congress, in fact, werereelected.
What does this tell us? That politics is, as the oldexpression goes, all local. Should we doubt that aswe watch the leader of the free world being chosen ina few precincts in Florida? Clearly, the electionreturns tell us that the culture war is going to bewon or lost on the ground -- with battles in Maine,or Oregon, or Alabama. One election, one block, oneneighborhood at a time. Christians, stay at yourposts.