It is a dark time for people of faith in Hawaii right now.
Perhaps it is the island spirit of “no make stink” or the proud Asian traditions of “silent suffering”. People of faith have remained silent in Hawaii politics in the years since the 1998 Constitutional Amendment regarding the issue of same-sex marriage. Over that period, there has been a steady erosion of the free exercise of religion in state and local politics.
While Christians in Hawaii are a minority (roughly 35% of the state’s population identifies as Christian) and must accept that they might find some of the social changes of the non-Christian majority unpalatable, recent changes have occurred largely in the absence of a Christian voice.
Now awakened by the 2013 special session of the state legislature, people of faith find themselves in unfamiliar territory. When elected officials ignored the voice of the People that testified 8 to 1 in opposition of SB1 (same-sex marriage), it was clear that these elected officials did not care what the people of Hawaii wanted. In addition, these elected officials could no longer be relied on to advocate for different faiths in our islands. Christians can no longer afford to silently-suffer and need to make a stink, if only so their voices are heard.
What took place (on short order) was a period of education and empowerment of Hawaii’s religious community. There was not a need for just one voice, but many voices to speak with the same message. There was a need for individuals who understood the dynamics of the state legislature and the intricacies of crafting and passing legislation. In response, one of the instruments crafted was the Jericho Plan.
The goal of this blog is to ensure that there is a tool for Christian communities in Hawaii to become engaged, to be educated, and to be empowered. Christians must now advocate for themselves in Hawaii’s political arena. While not every battle may be won, we cannot expect to win a battle if we do not stand up and fight for ourselves.