That’s probably not the best pun ever, but wordplay must be put on the back burner today. I have bigger fish to fry (on the front burner).
Today is the day when California decides whether good looks and pretty teeth are enough, or whether enough is enough. It is a truth universally acknowledged that good looks and pretty teeth go a long way in the Golden State, but I hope my fellow Californians will remember how they were treated in 2020. May they recall, and then recall. (Pardon the pun, but I’m remembering Othello’s most chilling line: “Put out the light, and then put out the light.”)
I realize the outcome does not depend solely on how the average Californian votes. The governor is backed by the state’s powerful unions and special interest groups, not to mention his friends and relatives in high places. And as I sadly discovered in June 2018, there is such a thing as voter fraud. Still, I believe in doing my part.
I voted yes on the recall because I have eyes to see and I can see how this state has declined during Newsom’s brief-but-not-brief-enough tenure. Two things in particular have directly affected my fellow Angelenos and my fellow Christians.
First, despite the power he wields as governor, Gavin Newsom has done next to nothing to end the homeless crisis in Los Angeles. In fact, his policies have only exacerbated it. I’ve heard encouraging reports of the Venice Beach cleanup, but the situation across LA County is far from under control.
Take for example Hollywood Blvd., one of the nation’s most iconic streets. When I was in the area for a Faith In Film event in February 2020, it grieved me to see how it had deteriorated since I was there just five months previously. And it was bad enough then.
In September 2019, while attending an IJM fundraiser at Hollywood Presbyterian, I was horrified to see a whole row of tents directly opposite the historic church. The odor of pee, poo, and pot emanated from these dwellings, and large rats ran about freely. As I crossed the street to the parking lot, I spied an elderly man peering out of a frayed tent. His vacuous eyes and hopeless demeanor were heart-wrenching — and the sad thing is, this city has more than 66,000 people in the same predicament.
My second reason for wanting Gavin Newsom recalled is his unfair treatment of the church. And I don’t mean the institution known as the Church or even individual congregations. I mean the millions of Christ’s followers who reside in this state.
In March 2020, with a few strokes of the gubernatorial pen, Newsom put the church under full lockdown, later even telling us we could not sing or chant. All the while, he allowed liquor stores and marijuana shops to remain open because these were considered “essential.”
Why do people visit liquor stores and marijuana shops? Because they are trying to dull an ache only God can heal. Having grown up with an alcoholic father and been married to an ex-addict, I am fully convinced of this. I also know it from praying for numerous troubled people over the years.
Among the many benefits of belonging to a local church is that we can pray for those who are hurting and encourage one another through Scripture. If Gavin Newsom does not believe in the power of prayer, that’s his prerogative. But he crossed a sacred line when he decided to meddle with the church, and I hope the millions of Bible-believing Christians in California will not forget.
(c) 2021 Sharon Arpana Edwards. All Rights Reserved.