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Skyline Church pastor says “Yes” on Prop 23 is a “pro-life stance”

October 19, 2010 - 4:45 pm

There’s a wide variety of arguments out there about whether you should or shouldn’t vote for Proposition 23, the ballot initiative that would stall landmark legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but this is the first time we’ve heard it attached to abortion.

In an Oct. 15 mass email, Skyline Church’s Senior Pastor Jim Garlow urges his congregation to vote against Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana. That’s not a surprise at all. What is shocking is the line he includes right before he signs off:

By the way, you may want to inform your friends that they can embrace a pro-life stance by voting “YES” on Prop 23.

Um…what? Garlow declined interview requests and would not explain what he meant by the statement. His email indicated he would be sending out another message on the matter but so far he has not.

We called around to other pro-life organizations. Representatives of the California Right to Life Education Foundation said this was the first time they had heard of a pro-life connection with Prop 23.

His rationale “could be very circumspect,” says Camille Giglio, who analyzes legislation for the organization. “I don’t know there’s a direct cause and effect relationship there.”

Bob Cielnicky with the Life Priority Network says that he believes Proposition 23 is “pro-family” since AB 32 could cost California jobs,  but he doesn’t make think it’s pro-life.

“I hadn’t heard that from the pro-life perspective, but I certainly see it as pro-family because it’s going to increase jobs,” he says. “If you can’t keep the jobs going or in fact create jobs or least you don’t lose them, that would make a difference if you’re a breadwinner with kids.”

In his email, Garlow cites Frank Kacer of the Christian Citizenship Council for helping him craft his positions. Kacer also endorses Prop 23, but makes no mention of pro-life or pro-family arguments:

Prop 23: (S) California Jobs Initiative (Suspends AB 32 Air Pollution Control Law) – Support (Yes)
Concerns: Measure halts ½ of Green-House-Gas regulation creation. AB 32 based on unproven climate assumptions to justify new taxes & redirect private industry (Prov 14:8). Punishes creative industry/energy competition instead of using tax breaks incentives. Prop temporarily halts open ended expansion of massive government regulation. Only effective til 4 gtrs 5.5% unemployment.
Consider: We have stewardship duties (Gen 1:28), but much study is needed (1 Kings 4:29-34; Eccl 7:27; Prov 18:17). Massive tax burdens on everyone for unproven good is foolish (Rom 3:8)   CA already has nation’s strongest regulations and we can choose green energy now.

We kept Googling and came across the California Catholic Conference’s election guide. Nothing in its in-depth analysis indicated the bill was connected to pro-life issues. In fact, they published an opinion piece by Stockton Bishop Stephen Blair that calls on Catholics to consider their obligations as stewards of the Earth when they cast their votes. The Diocese of Stockton’s Environmental Justice Project was a member of the coalition that helped pass AB 32 in the first place. He writes:

Pope Benedict XVI and the Ecumenical Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew are leading the Christian world in responding to God’s command in Genesis “to cultivate and care” for the garden of creation as a moral responsibility of stewardship over creation.  Everything which exists belongs to God and is entrusted to our care.

Before casting our votes on Proposition 23, these reflections on the common good, our children’s health, and the stewardship of our land can assist us in the formation of conscience which guides our decision making.  We always pray that God grant us wisdom in the exercise of our citizenship.

California Catholic Daily considered that a No on 23 endorsement. Not to over-editorialize, but Garlow really ought to address his claim or else explain to his congregation that a voter can oppose abortion and still vote against Prop 23.

Full email after the jump:

Greetings Fellow Californians,I know your time is valuable.  May I ask for just four minutes?  This matter is rather urgent.

Recently I received an email saying that we pastors have been totally silent regarding the legalization of marijuana in California.  Have we?  Assuming confession is good for the soul, I confess, I have been silent.  But I am silent no more.  And I ask you to become vocal with me.

We cannot be silent anymore regarding Prop 19.  You speaking to your family and friends could affect the outcome of this election. Tragically, polls at this time show Prop 19 passing – with 52% (for) to 42% (against).  The good news is that there are many of our friends who are uninformed.  We can educate them.  Together, we can change the outcome and move it to a “NO” vote – for the sake of our families, our youth, our children and our communities – IF WE WILL TAKE ACTION NOW.

We must speak up and urge everyone to vote “NO” on Prop 19.  If a person can get to age 26 without using illegal substances, there is a strong chance that individual will be able to make it through all of life without drugs.

However, if a person begins using before age 26, the chances that individual will experience substance abuse increases dramatically.  Legalizing marijuana will drive the price down and make it more available.  The consequences will be catastrophic.

Furthermore, this law would create a “special class,” and where you might be able to fire someone for being drunk on the job, you could not fire them for being high.

By the way, for once (enjoy it, it may not happen again!) both Republicans and Democrats agree on this.  Jerry Brown (D) and Meg Whitman (R) are both against Prop 19.  Carly Fiorina (R) and Barbara Boxer (D) are both against Prop 19.  Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) is also leading the charge against Prop 19.  “California will not see a single positive result if Proposition 19 passes,” said Senator Feinstein. “It is a poorly constructed initiative that will cause harm to Californians on our roadways, and in our schools, workplaces and communities.”  Bottom line, you cannot be accused of being “partisan” when you speak out on this critical issue.

Here is some helpful info from the website:

Studies show marijuana is a gateway drug to cocaine and meth. Teens and young adults are especially at risk from today’s potent, mind-altering marijuana, which can permanently damage their developing brains and young lungs. If pot is legalized, your health and auto insurance will likely cost more because increased addictions, accidents, and drug rehab will burden all Californians. “Drugged driving” will become commonplace. It will be a new “right” to get high on marijuana at work, even in transportation jobs. Marijuana legalization means cities and counties can OK selling pot in grocery stores and permit marijuana operatives to buy thousands of acres of farmland. Vote no on Prop. 19, and visit our special website,, to learn more and tell others. If you believe the Bible is the Word of God, consider these commands: Mark 12:29-31, Matt. 18:5-6, Eph. 5:18-20

As you know there are many other propositions.  Sometimes I am not certain how to vote on the various state propositions.  Each year, I have asked trusted, competent friends to assist me in the process of understanding them. May I commend to you the outstanding thinking and writing of Frank Kacer. View his biblically founded counsel at Prop 19, may I ask that you:

(By the way, you may want to inform your friends that they can embrace a pro-life stance by voting “YES” on Prop 23.  More on that later.)Thank you so much.

Blessings on you this day,
Jim Garlow
Senor Pastor, Skyline Church, Rancho San Diego

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