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Politics & Religion: Texas Senate Testimony

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While most of my focus regards the federal government, God’s design for civil government obviously applies to state and local governments. On March 9, I traveled to Austin to attend a meeting of the Committee of the Whole of the Texas State Senate, and to participate in the public testimony phase. This was somewhat historic in that a Committee of the Whole meeting had not taken place since the early 90s.

The issue was Voter ID, Senate Bill SB362, authored by Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay. The essence of the bill would require voters in Texas to provide a photo ID when voting in Texas – a pretty simple, sensible, and increasingly necessary requirement. Voters who could not provide a photo ID at the time of voting would be allowed to vote with a provisional ballot pending verification of their identity. Under this bill, everyone who is legally qualified gets to vote, and the security of the election process is increased. Who could argue with that?!

But of course, there were arguments. Unfortunately, some were petty and frankly insulting to one’s intelligence. One man who followed me in the public testimony phase actually told the Senate that if they passed this bill, they would be guilty of committing a hate crime. Wow!

After spending all day and night in the Senate gallery listening to the non-stop session, I finally got to testify at about 8:30 the next morning, Wednesday March 10. All public testimony was limited to three minutes, so I tried to make the best of the short time I had. What follows is my statement before the Senate:

QUOTE:
I’m honored to be here, and to testify on behalf of the Voter ID Bill. I’m a minister, and approach this perhaps differently than most. I feel it is imperative to pass this legislation, as weak as it is, and as limited as it is. It’s time to secure the vote.

The Biblical command to “do everything decently and in order” is not just a rule for churches, it is a life principle! And it is particularly applicable to civil government and its processes. Romans 13 says that civil rulers – and that includes you Senators – are the ministers of God to reward good, and punish evil. You are stewards before God, with a great weight of responsibility that you will answer for. Do not take it lightly; do not reduce it to cheap political advantage.

God is a God of standards and boundaries; from Mt. Sinai to the borders of nations, the boundaries of one man – one woman marriage, and even salvation (Jesus Christ alone!).

Let there be one standard, universally applied. Is a photo ID really such an unbearable burden when one can’t effectively function in our modern society without it? This is not even a serious question.

The Bible also states that whoever resists the ordinances of God will bring judgment on themselves, and that goes for both citizen and ruler. God hates unjust weights and measures – it is the lack of integrity. That means He is for a single, universally applied standard equal for – and protective of – EVERYONE, not just your (partisan) constituents.

Set a standard! Secure the vote!

Mexico is in danger of imploding and our borders are porous. ACORN is increasingly seeking to do their mischief in Texas. They would see the failure of this bill as a green light, and we all know it. The last line of defense is to secure the vote! If we can send men and women to fight and die in Iraq to secure their vote, I don’t think a photo ID is too much to ask to secure ours.

If I, for whatever reason, were unable to produce my driver’s license at the polling booth, I would gladly sacrifice my vote to be confident that the electoral process was sound and secure, no matter the outcome. 1 vote per 1 legal citizen. My right to vote doesn’t mean as much if there’s no integrity in the system. Again, I urge you, secure the vote!

Thank you very much. God bless you all, and God bless Texas.
UNQUOTE

After I finished Senator Fraser came up to me. He thanked me and congratulated me for my remarks, and in thanking him, I told him that he deserved a medal for his performance the previous day as he was absolutely under the gun for some four to five hours straight. He fielded every possible question from multiple Senators, often repetitive questions asked in different ways as though he were under prosecution at trial. No one can say that every facet of this issue didn’t get a through examination!

Senators Dan Patrick and Joan Huffman were also very gracious and congratulatory to me as I left the floor. I also want to mention Senator Tommy Williams from the Woodlands, who did an outstanding job on the floor during the proceedings.

While I was there to support the bill as a citizen, the greater goal was to exhort the Senate as a whole to “raise their game.” God’s stewardship standards are not to be trifled with. They – and we – will all answer one day for the stewardship responsibilities that God has given each of us. From our personal lives to marital relations, parental responsibilities, our employment, our work for the church and the Kingdom – even how we exercise the stewardship of our vote.

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