All eyes will be on the U.S. Presidential race tonight. From Florida to Nevada, New Hampshire to Arizona, Americans will be fixated on what states went for Trump and what states went for Hillary.
Amid the media and social media chatter about ballot counts and presidential election chaos, other significant votes are happening that have major implications for Christians and the very soul of this nation. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Marijuana makes its move
Five states–California, Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona and Nevada—will consider legalizing recreational use of marijuana, while four other states will vote on other rules related to marijuana, such as so-called “medical marijuana.” What this means is that “82 million residents live in states that could loosen rules on marijuana,” according to sources. I’ve written on why this is a bad idea for America before and how it could have disastrous consequences for families, especially children. If all or even some of these measures get approved, proponents of marijuana will have taken their biggest leap forward—or backwards, rather—yet.
2. Rocky Mountain Low: Euthanasia Watch
Our neighbors in Colorado are set to take one giant leap toward a culture of death. To be specific, Colorado voters will consider a state proposition that would legalize assisted suicide, also known as euthanasia. The measure has major backers, including Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper. While proponents claim the law will make suicide legal for only certain people, we know from experience that these laws tend to be ever-expanding. Moreover, as Christians, we know that God alone holds the keys to life and death. We need to maximize care for those facing terminal illness, not help them take their own life under false notions of “death with dignity.” I applaud those who have spoken against this measure, such as Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, and I pray Coloradans don’t go through with this madness.
3. Religious Liberty in the Sooner State
This November, Oklahoma voters will consider a number of state questions on topics including the death penalty, alcohol laws, a sales tax hike for education, as well as one state question that has major religious liberty implications. State Question 790 would remove the Blaine Amendment from Oklahoma’s State Constitution. The Blaine Amendment was the basis for the Oklahoma State Supreme Court’s order to remove the privately-funded Ten Commandments Monument from State Capitol grounds last year. To put it as succinctly as possible, if you thought the Ten Commandments Monument should have been allowed to stay, vote “yes” on SQ 790. The Baptist Messenger has published several articles, including this editorial and this column about what positive things a “Yes” vote would mean for the state. The vote could be razor close and is definitely one to watch.
4. Senators, Congressman and scares, oh my!
The Founders of our country wisely distributed power between the three branches of government: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judicial. No matter how overwhelming the next President wins on Election Day, he or she still must work with Congress to enact laws. It’s distinctly possible the U.S. Senate will be split at 50-50, with half Republican and half Democratic control. That means the running mate, the Vice President, as president of the Senate, may have a bigger influence than times past. In addition to watching the presidential race, voters need to pay attention to which party will control the Senate and House, because that will have a big impact on what the next two-to-four years look like, legislatively and in other respects.
These are four things I will be watching on Election Day besides Trump vs. Hillary. What about you?