The Christian Civic League of Maine has announced its endorsements for the November 2022 election, backing more than 100 Republican candidates for legislative office who expressed support for their agenda, which includes extreme stances against reproductive and LGBTQ rights.
For the Maine Senate, the group endorsed Republicans in 25 of the 35 races and 87 candidates for the 151 House seats. In addition, the group is backing Republicans Paul LePage for governor, Ed Thelander in the First Congressional District and Bruce Poliquin in CD2. The complete list of endorsed candidates can be viewed here.
The candidate survey includes standard priorities of the religious right, such as “Should access to abortion be restricted?” “Should women’s shelters be required to house biological men who identify as women?” and “Should parents be allowed to choose whether their child receives professional counseling in accordance with their religious values on matters of gender and sexuality?”— referring to the widely-discredited practice of conversion therapy, which was banned under Gov. Janet Mills.
And although the group says its mission is to “bring a Biblical perspective to public policy,” the candidate survey also includes economic and climate policy questions such as ”Should the minimum wage be increased?” and “Should Maine prioritize achieving 80% renewable energy by 2030?”
The group also announced a handful of endorsed candidates in local races.
Endorsed candidates for school board agreed to a set of principles,including that “Elected officials should look to God and His word, the Bible as they make all decisions,” and “Schools should not encourage students to identify as other than their biological sex.” Cristie Lynn Barone in MSAD15, Steven Karp in RUS40, Heather Miller in MSAD46 and Katrin Teel in Glenburn are all being endorsed by the group as are municipal candidates Amber Hines in Bradford, Richard Ward in Portland and Danielle Haggerty in Hermon.
The endorsements come just weeks before the November election, where the governorship, two U.S. House seats and every legislative seat in Maine are up for grabs.
During this election season, many Republican candidates across the nation have pivoted to a more extreme, far-right agenda, hoping to capture the energy of a base still wedded to former President Donald Trump. These include extreme stances on issues that go far beyond the sentiments of the general public.
In recent weeks the Christian Civic League has celebrated the rise of far-right parties in Europe. In its October newsletter, the group commended Sweden and Italy for electing “administrations committed to a return to traditional values, like parental rights and religious freedom. They are saying no to extreme transgender ideology and the culture of death promoted by the abortion industry.”
The reference was to the election of a far-right coalition in Italy with a neo-fascist, Giorgia Meloni, as likely the next prime minister as well as a right-wing bloc in the Swedish Riksdag that includes the Sweden Democrats, a nationalist and anti-immigrant party that was formed in 1988 by neo-Nazi activists and has moved from the fringes of the country’s politics into the mainstream.
The League also has a long history of anti-LGBTQ activism. In addition to running anti-same-sex marriage referendum campaigns in 2009 and 2013, the group successfully worked to pass referendums in 1998 and 2000 denying basic anti-discrimination protections to gay and lesbian Mainers. It lost a referendum campaign on the same issue in 2005.
In 2004, the League sought “tips, rumors, speculation and facts” about the sexual orientation of Maine legislators, hoping to out gay political figures.
More recently, the League has targeted transgender children, launching online campaigns against school districts who put in place protections against discrimination in line with a 2014 court ruling protecting the rights of transgender Mainers.
In recent years, the League launched unsuccessful campaigns to gather signatures to force referendums against a death with dignity policy passed by the Maine L:egislature and a law guaranteeing insurance coverage for abortion. The group also supported a campaign by an allied organization to repeal a law that barred philosophical and religious exemptions for mandatory childhood vaccines. Mainers voted to uphold that law during the March 2020 primary.
Photo: The Maine State House in Augusta. | Dan Neumann, Beacon