(Psalm 33:12, Isaiah 60:12, Proverbs 14:34)
There is a reason that the very first amendment to the Bill of Rights begins with: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. The Founding Fathers were, in general, a deeply spiritual people creating a nation that dated back to the Pilgrims search for religious freedom. The rights of all Americans since the creation of the Bill of Rights have been to freely practice their deeply held religious beliefs without the fear of government infringement.
As Christians, we live as “foreigners and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11) on Earth, with our citizenship in Heaven as “we eagerly await a Savior” (Philippians 3:20). Yet while we are here, the Bible calls us to live as good stewards of the gifts we have been given (1 Peter 4:10). We have been given religious freedom, and for the sake of our children and the future of our nation, it is our responsibility as gifted stewards to ensure these rights are passed on to the next generation. We hope to avoid the warnings given to us in Isaiah 60:12 and instead receive the blessings of being a “nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).
For these reasons, we will vigorously defend the rights of Christians to exercise their faith at the federal and state Level.
SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL
(Genesis 12:3, Psalm 122:6, Zechariah 2:8, Genesis 12:18)
The biblical reasons Christians should support Israel can be found in the very first pages of the Bible, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, and through you, all of the families of the earth shall be blessed.” This is the original promise that begins the Abrahamic Covenant, and we know that, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:8). God’s word is eternal, and his promises (and curses) regarding his people endure today. Psalm 122:6 tells us to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you!”
For these reasons, we support the Nation of Israel and will continue to pray for God’s chosen people, the Jews. We will oppose efforts that weaken their security or jeopardize the territory promised to them in Genesis 15:18.
PRO-LIFE and Forgiveness
The Bible has a lot to say about life. Firstly, that God himself created life in Genesis 1, In Genesis 1, we are told that God created life, and that when he created man, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Gen 1:31). Continuing in Psalms, the Psalmist says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;” (Psalm 139:14). Jesus later reassures us of our values when he asks us to consider the ravens of the field, “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24). The bible ensures us that God even knows the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7), and that before we were born God knew us and had a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 1:5).
These lessons are important to Christians when we talk about the value of life from a pro-life perspective. It seems obvious to those of us at the Faith and Freedom Coalition of California that abortion is absolutely in opposition to God’s will; it is the taking of the most precious and innocent of lives. Those of us who are parents concur with the Psalmist who said, “Truly children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3). We know and serve a God who loved us so much that he sent his only Son to die for us. The story of Jesus’s sacrifice is so intimately personal, and because he would intercede for us individually, we know he cares about the lives of the unborn AND all of mankind.
We mention this because being pro-life can extend beyond the issue of abortion. We at the Faith and Freedom Coalition of California reject efforts to expand physician assisted suicide, believing that all life has value and that Ephesians 6:2 calls us to honor our parents and elders.
Being pro-life means that we are also strong supporters of efforts to increase the availability and quality of healthcare throughout California. We will work with legislators to find effective, cost efficient, and merciful ways to care for the poor and downtrodden.
We also know our God is a God of mercy and forgiveness, a God who cares for the little children (Matthew 19:14), and for hurting parents (Mark 5, Matthew 15). We believe that in the arms of Jesus, there is forgiveness and healing for those who have had an abortion, and that one day the parent and child will be reunited in Heaven. We encourage Christian Ministries that support women who have had an abortion.
“The Bible instructs God’s people to show compassion and love for the foreigner and the immigrant. Scripture bases this command on the fact that the Israelites were themselves aliens in Egypt and experienced harsh mistreatment at the hands of their task masters. (Deut 10:19) Throughout the Bible, God shows concern for the immigrant. Abraham “lived as an alien in the land of promise” (Hebrews 11:9), and Jesus lived as an alien while a child in Egypt after his parents fled persecution under Herod.” —Matthew 2:14
“Scripture combines this obligation to care for the alien with a corollary responsibility of the immigrant to obey the law and respect the customs of the nation in which he resides. In the Old Testament, the same law applied “to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you.” (Exodus 12:49). Those immigrants who obeyed the law were to share in the inheritance of Israel as if they were native-born.” –Ezekiel 48:22
How these Biblical principles apply to immigration reform is a matter of prudential judgment in enacting sound public policy. Our immigration system is broken. Illegal immigrants have crossed a porous border, many fleeing abject poverty, authoritarian regimes, drug cartels, and crime. The current visa system is inadequate for our economy. Leaving illegal aliens in the shadows allows them to be exploited by those who break the law and do not pay payroll taxes. All this undermines the rule of law, breeds cynicism, and destroys trust between the government and the American people.
We believe the faith community has much to contribute to this discussion. Immigration reform is not only an economic and national security issue; it is a moral issue that is best advanced by applying principles from Judeo-Christian tradition. To this end, we offer the following principles that should guide immigration reform:
- Immigration should strengthen, not undermine the family. The intact, loving family is the most successful department of health, education, and welfare ever conceived. Just as our forebears came to America to seek a better life for their children and grandchildren, so too do today’s immigrants. Family values do not end at our shores or on the banks of the Rio Grande. Priority in the issuance of green cards should be given to spouses and children of legal residents who have obeyed the law and played by the rules. There are currently an estimated one million spouses and children of legal residents of the United States awaiting green cards. Under current law it could take 3 to 10 years before these spouses and children can join their loved ones. We believe a newly arrived American who is joined by their husband or wife and children will make a better employee, employer, member of the community, and future citizen.
- Respect for the rule of law. The first act one commits on the path to becoming an American should not be to violate our nation’s laws. For this reason, those who have come to the U.S. illegally must pay a sizeable fine, pay back taxes, undergo a criminal background check, learn English, and wait for an extended probationary period before they can apply for a green card. If they have committed a violent crime or felony, they should be deported. Those who entered the country illegally (as opposed to those who came legally on a student or work visa and stayed past its expiration) should not be guaranteed a path to citizenship. There are currently 38 million people in the United States who are foreign-born. Over two-thirds of them entered the country legally and played by the rules. Of the 11 million here illegally, an estimated 40% came legally and over-stayed their visa. The number of aliens who entered the country illegally is small relative to our population. If the 1986 Simpson-Mazolli legislation is any guide, the vast majority of these will not apply for non-immigrant resident visas.
- Reform the visa system to meet the needs of the U.S. economy. Recruiting foreign workers to meet national needs is as old as human civilization itself. When Solomon built the temple in ancient Jerusalem he recruited workers from Lebanon and elsewhere to perform most of the work. Completing the temple would have been impossible without the highly-skilled artisans and stonemasons from other countries. (1 Kings 5:6). The same is true in the U.S. today, especially regarding the scientists, engineers, and software designers needed by our technology sector. Too many U.S. companies must locate facilities in China or India because of a shortage of Americans with undergraduate or advanced degrees in these fields. The current immigration system is based on country quotas rather than one’s skill or education. Only 6.5% of current legal immigration is skill-based. This model, enacted under Lyndon Johnson nearly a half-century ago, is antiquated and inadequate to today’s economy. We call for the expansion of H-1B visas so foreign-born engineers can assist our technology and manufacturing sectors. We need guest workers for agricultural and other sectors. We should staple a green card to every college or graduate-school diploma so we can keep the best and the brightest as we compete with the rest of the world in an increasingly global economy. We should also create a visa program for those immigrants who have started a business and are employing others. One of these immigrants might well be starting the next Facebook or Google in their garage.
- Secure the border and strictly enforce the law. U.S. border security has improved in recent years, with border apprehensions falling by roughly 50% to just over 300,000. The number of border guards has more than doubled since 2004 to 22,000 agents. However, more must be done. We must control our border through “enforcement triggers” as a predicate to anyone in the country illegally being able to apply for a green card. These enforcement triggers should include the appropriation of funds for the completion of a fence and other border security measures along the U.S.-Mexico border that have already been authorized by Congress, a further increase in border agents, and at least an additional 50% drop in apprehensions along the southern border. In addition, the visa system must be modernized to allow for the tracking of entrance and exit of all visa holders to and from the U.S. We also support an e-verify system that allows employers to conduct immigration status and criminal background checks on prospective employees, along with reasonable fines and penalties for those who employ illegal immigrants.
(Exodus 21:16, Deuteronomy 24:7, Genesis 34:1-31)
The Bible minces no words regarding Human Trafficking (Exodus 21, Deuteronomy 24:7). The Bible is even less silent about the punishment for rape (Genesis 34). The combination of both, in the form of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, is one of the greatest evils on Earth. We as Christians should do everything within our power to end modern day sexual and human trafficking.
Southern California is one of the largest highways of human trafficking victims in the nation. Many victims of foreign human and sexual trafficking are transported from Mexico through the I-15 corridor towards Las Vegas, and to the rest of the United States.
FFC CA will work with legislators to advocate for better sex trafficking policies, including revisions to immigration and sentencing laws that create opportunities for assailants.
Matthew Chapter 25 Verses 36-40, Jesus says, “I was in prison and you came to visit me … I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
These words, probably more so than any others, have helped define how conservatives, and those from the faith community, view the nation’s incarcerated. Judeo-Christian values balance personal responsibility with forgiveness and mercy. And the words of Christ, taken as a mandate for action, have driven the faith community and the Faith & Freedom Coalition to engage in justice reform.
America incarcerates a far higher percentage of our citizens than similar nations. In the United States, a staggering 693 out every 100,000 people are incarcerated. That statistic should worry anyone who cares about the size, scope, and cost of government.
America’s high incarceration rate takes a massive human toll by tearing families apart and making our communities less safe. U.S. jails and prisons resemble a revolving door with almost 7 in 10 inmates rearrested within three years of being released from prison, and 4 in 10 offenders are sentenced to return to prison, which makes the public less safe.
However, things are changing for the better because conservatives at the state-level are leading the way. Since 2007, more than 30 states have passed significant reforms designed to prioritize prison beds for serious offenders, reduce incarceration, reduce recidivism rates and contain costs. Red states like Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah and others have seen real results. Texas, for example, saved taxpayers over $2 billion while dropping its crime rate to its lowest level since 1968.
Conservatives are proving you can be both “smart on crime” and “tough on crime.”
Conservatives must continue to lead on criminal justice reform because our solutions have increased public safety, saved taxpayer dollars and restored the lives of both offenders and victims. Faith & Freedom Coalition will continue to work towards justice reform that accomplishes the following goals:
- Prioritize public safety resources
- Narrowing the net of incarceration
- Increasing public safety through effective rehabilitation programs
- Breaking down barriers in communities
- Ensuring prompt and fair outcomes for both the accused and the victim
(Proverbs 22:6, 1 Timothy 4:10-11)
The Bible teaches that believers have a duty to teach their children in the way of the Lord (Proverbs 22, Deuteronomy 4,6,11, 1 Timothy 4). Parents have a responsibility to “Start their children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22.6) Today, these teachings can be a part of a formal education.
The Faith and Freedom Coalition of California believes in access to high-quality learning environments for kids that does not interfere with our Christian Faith. This could be through a high-quality public school, a charter school, private Christian schooling or homeschooling. Many of California’s public schools are failing our children by pushing harmful ideologies, teaching radical positions on gender and sexuality, and are sometimes hostile to Christian beliefs. We support efforts to give parents the choice in their children’s education, to reform the public school system for the betterment of students and educational excellence, and to expand access to charter and homeschool programs.
Finally, we call for major reform within the taxpayer supported Cal State, University of California, and Community College systems.