Christian Coalition of Oregon in bed with Bill Sizemore

"Remember that wonderful children's song, 'I'm in the Lord's Army?' We are God's army! We must rise up to drive out the enemy. God can give us the victory, but we must do the fighting."

- From a fundraising letter of the Christian Coalition of Oregon

The Christian Coalition of Oregon helped collect signatures for Bill Sizemore's anti-union "paycheck deception" initiative - receiving payment for each signature it turned in to him.

Sizemore, director of Oregon Taxpayers United, turned in more than 111,000 signatures on two separate initiatives - the "paycheck deception" initiative to silence the voice of working families in the political arena and a "windfall for the wealthy" tax-cutting measure.

He needs 89,048 valid signatures from registered voters in Oregon on each initiative to qualify for the November ballot.

The "paycheck deception" initiative is a constitutional amendment that would require union locals to obtain annual written authorization from each of their members before taking sides in an election or even representing their interests at the Legislature. The initiative is modeled after California's Proposition 226, which was defeated by voters in 1998.

According to the Oregon AFL-CIO, the Christian Coalition was a major contributor to Sizemore's anti-union Measure 59 in 1998. That initiative, which voters rejected, would have prohibited dues checkoff for public employees unions and would have banned publication of the Voters' Pamphlet. Recently the Northwest Labor Press obtained a copy of a Christian Coalition of Oregon fundraising letter that encouraged members to sign and circulate Sizemore's petition to silence unions. "... Each signature you collect and return raises money for the Christian Coalition," wrote Executive Director Lou Beres. "... have your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow church members sign them as well."

The letter is peppered with inflammatory statements and wrongful assertions that organized labor supports "efforts to eliminate gun rights and private property rights" and that "big labor is backing the effort to normalize homosexuality, destroy religious freedom, and take away our private property rights."

Beres litters his right-wing propaganda with references to "communism," "pagan environmentalism" and "the liberal agenda" whose "agents have worked their way into every level of government." "Our children deserve better than this," Beres writes in his appeal for signatures and cash. "And if we don't form a moral society for our children, an immoral society will form them, leaving them unable to submit to the authority of God."

In addition to the paycheck deception initiative, the Christian Coalition of Oregon is seeking signatures for an initiative that would ban the subject of homosexuality from school classrooms, and another Sizemore measure - this one related to the compensation of property owners affected by government regulation.

March 3, 2000 issue

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