Republican Ellen Craswell is soft-spoken in person. But the candidate for governor thunders with righteousness on paper.
For the past decade, she’s penned a newsletter, Family in Touch, that tracks legislation in Olympia for religious conservatives.
Her writings to the faithful carry an undiluted Christian message voters don’t usually hear on the campaign trail or in candidate debates and forums.
The newsletter describes the often dull business of governing in the rich language of spiritual warfare.
The legislative process is not a pragmatic battle of competing interests, but a “raging spiritual battle” of “enemies” and “rulers of darkness” against “warriors for truth” fighting off “fiery darts.”
Christian lobbyists are “God’s vessel,” and Christian citizen activists are “sounding the trumpet,” and “taking a stand for righteousness.” She often addresses her readers as “Beloved Saints,” or “Christian Patriots.”
When House Bill 1523, requiring parental notification before minors can have abortions, passed the House in March, 1995, Craswell described it in her newsletter:
“And it was obvious the rulers of darkness were out in full force to defend their stronghold! Late into the night the battle raged. Sickening arguments were made that little girls should have the right to kill babies. Fiery darts came in the form of amendments meant to destroy the bill. Several times our warriors nearly lost control.
“At 10:45 p.m. we received a call from the House floor: ‘We need prayer!’ We made a few calls and a lot of people prayed. And the Lord prevailed!” The candidate acknowledges non-believers may find her newsletter startling stuff. “Treat it gently,” Craswell advises. “There are many people who don’t understand.
“I try to be open about my faith because I think people should know where I’m coming from. Sometimes when we get into too much Scripture and detail it’s misunderstood, as I misunderstood before I was a believer.
“Scripture tells us the word of God will sound like foolishness to the unbeliever.”
Craswell, a devout Baptist, has repeatedly said she would not push her religion on anyone if elected.
“It’s not the job of government to tell anyone how to believe, or when to believe or if to believe.”
But her newsletter and Craswell’s other writings, including fund-raising solicitations and letters to campaign supporters, show how profoundly her Christian faith shapes her views.
They also show Craswell believes “Bible-believing Christians” and “godly leaders” should make, interpret, and enforce the law.
Craswell served in the Legislature for 16 years, including four years in the House before becoming a Christian in 1980. In a letter to members of IMPAC, a Christian political action committee, Craswell explained how that changed her approach.
“I spent four years in the State House doing what was right in my own eyes and leaning on my own understanding because I knew no other basis for decisions.
“I soon learned that just as God has a plan for each of us, He also has a plan for government and it’s all spelled out in His Word …. This opened my eyes in a whole new way to God’s Word and to my role as a lawmaker.
“It was exciting to discover new Biblical gems that applied to government. They seemed to jump right off the page as though they had been waiting for my eyes to acknowledge them at last.
“But the more I learned the more I came to realize how far we have strayed form the principles that God so richly blessed. I took on a deep and lasting burden for our country.
“For 11 years, I have devoted most of my efforts toward this cause: to rebuild the foundation of a land that God will bless.
“Working with others to sound the trumpet and equip the saints, we began to inform Christians of the great need for Christian influence in Olympia.”
Craswell says blessings follow when people and governments turn to God. In a fund-raising appeal, Craswell writes: “For many years I have longed to see what God would do with our state or nation if we truly turned back to Him and put ourselves under His rule.”
“Psalm 33:12 promises, ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.’ I’ve also thrilled to stories of godly kings who experienced great revival in the land when they publicly renewed God’s covenant. Why not today? Could it be that God is moving like this again?!!
“What a contrast that would be to our current government, which tells us there is no room for God in our laws or in our schools. It’s no wonder we are seeing rampant immorality, disease, economic problems, violence, crime, divorce, corrupt leaders - all the consequences promised to a nation that turns from the Lord and from His ways!” Prayer with her husband, Bruce, led Craswell to run for governor: “Bruce and I prayed for nearly two years about this decision, having sensed God’s call even before then,” she wrote members of IMPAC.
“We were enjoying retirement on our little farm near Poulsbo, surrounded by 11 precious grandchildren. What could be nicer? Yet God seemed to have something else planned …
“During one of my prayer times, the Lord seemed to be telling me to get ready for a miracle.
“When His direction was finally clear and we yielded to the call, we began to experience greater miracles than I have ever seen - one after another! It was as though He had gone before us to lay out ‘the red carpet.”’
In her newsletter, Craswell often plugs IMPAC, the Christian political action committee. She sits on the executive board of the panel, which was formed in 1986. Craswell tells her newsletter subscribers they will only get godly policies from godly leaders.
“Proverbs 29:2 tells us, ‘When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice …’ It does not promise that the people will rejoice when the righteous are politically active. The principle is clear: WE MUST HAVE GODLY LEADERS!
“Genuine, long-term reform will come only when Bible-believing people are making, interpreting, and enforcing the law.”
Everyone, even non-believers, benefits when government reflects godly principles, Craswell says. One of her campaign brochures promises: “Like laws of nature, God’s principles of social order and morality are effective with everyone.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo