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Prayer and politicking: Churches become a center of the California recall campaign

Faith E. Pinho, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Religious News

“Our synagogue was founded with a commitment to making doing justice a key pillar of what it means to us to be a faith community and to live Jewishly in the world,” said Brooke Wirtschafter, IKAR’s director of community organizing, later adding that IKAR is “careful and trying to make sure to stay within the boundaries of the law.”

Other faith leaders are happy to share whom they support.

After praying over a recent Elder rally in Costa Mesa, Father Brendan Hankins, a vicar at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Costa Mesa, told local blog Costa Mesa Brief: “We’re pro life. We believe in the defense of life, from conception until natural death. And we know that with Larry Elder, that we have that support and that hope, and hopefully that will change the state.”

Diocese of Orange spokesman Bradley Zint later explained that Hankins, a priest of the Norbertine Order, had given “an expression of his own preference and not an endorsement coming from the Diocese.”

In a video posted to his personal Instagram account, San Diego’s Awaken Church Pastor Jurgen Matthesius encouraged his 21,000 followers to vote Newsom out, explaining why he was voting for Elder.

“We’re waiting for the perfect man, we’re waiting for the perfect candidate. They are moral, they are upright, they walk on water, they can multiply five loaves and two fish,” he said on the video. “We have to dislodge wickedness, and we have to develop not a savior mentality, but we have to develop a long-game mentality.”

On Sunday, Fairrington introduced Elder with a Bible verse, Proverbs 29:2: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

 

“We’ve been groaning in the state of California for a while right now, because we have not been governed by a moral governor,” he told the church. “A Christian is involved in civics. A lot of people say, ‘separation of church and state.’ You don’t know your history. We have a responsibility to make our voices heard.”

He prompted his congregants: “You know what to do on Sept. 14. There’s two questions. No. 1, do you want to recall Gov. Newsom, yes or no. And the answer is?”

Before he finished the question, the crowd drowned out his voice with their raucous answer: “Yes!”

“You said it, I didn’t,” the pastor said. (Three weeks earlier, Fairrington told his congregation: “Do your job as Christians on Sept. 14 and vote yes on recalling an immoral governor!”)

Even if they don’t explicitly tell congregants how to vote, faith institutions can hold enormous sway with how leaders speak about political issues, Blankholm said.

“I think it’s important that we recognize how substantive is the difference between someone saying, ‘Vote for Gavin Newsom,’ or ‘Vote against the recall of Gavin Newsom,’ or ‘Vote for the recall of Gavin Newsom’ and someone saying everything but that,” Blankholm said. “We obviously live in an era of incredibly complex political speech.”

©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
 

 
Alright, let’s start this out by admitting something. Prior to National Fritters Day we had no idea that Fritters came in any other variety than Apple. A whole new world was opened up to us when we discovered that there were blueberry fritters, and banana fritters, pineapple fritters and even...

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Alright, let’s start this out by admitting something. Prior to National Fritters Day we had no idea that Fritters came in any other variety than Apple. A whole new world was opened up to us when we discovered that there were blueberry fritters, and banana fritters, pineapple fritters and even...