(Editor’s note: This article was originally published online (www.canowpac.org) by the National Organization for Women (NOW) Political Action Committee.)
Ashley Swearengin’s reputation as a moderate in the corporate-owned press is eerily reminiscent of the initial press surrounding Sarah Palin, who like Swearengin jumped ship to run for higher office and who like Swearengin has deep ties to the religious right. The failure by the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee to adequately fact check and perform the most rudimentary due diligence in regard to Swearengin begs the question: Why?
A day’s worth of Internet research on Swearengin reveals deep connections to Pentecostal churches that don’t mind blurring the line between church and state. A line so blurred that the Fresno City Council now begins its meeting in the “name of Christ.” Swearengin is running for state controller because in her own words, the controller “is sometimes an overlooked function of the state government, but one that has a tremendous impact on the business climate in the state.”
Given such an impact, it is baffling why the Los Angeles Times failed to mention the network of pro-business-oriented Christian organizations and programs Swearengin, her husband and their parents are affiliated with, like the Center for Community Transformation at Fresno Pacific University or one of its projects headed by Swearengin’s husband Paul, the Hope Incubator.
A survey of church-based programs Swearengin is connected to show a focused effort to subsume public social programs into a “Christ-centered” network. For example, the Center for Community Transformation highlights “how might congregations become access points for GED completion with a Christ-centered curriculum and supervision?” Or, “how might God’s people be equipped to serve and shape the systems of the city for the common good.” The agenda, outlined in astonishing detail, to obliterate the separation of church and state does not sound moderate.
Little is found regarding other important issues such as access to full reproductive healthcare services. In fact, Swearengin has refused to answer whether she supports reproductive rights for women in public, but she did tell the National Women’s Political Caucus in 2005 that she could not apply “because she is not pro-choice.”
As Dan Walters from the Sacramento Bee wrote recently, speaking about Swearengin and two other Republican Party hopefuls, “they shun the anti-everything (immigrant, abortion rights, taxes) positions that many Republicans reflexively adopt, but that those independents reject, and embrace, the pro-business, make-government-work-better attitudes that have worked for previous Republican winners.”
Swearengin refusing to state her views about women’s reproductive rights is bad enough, but again it begs the question why are corporate media outlets going along for the ride. The top two open primary system provides the answer to this question.
The object for Cal Chamber–led big money is to ensure that progressive candidates in statewide and district races are eliminated leaving the voter to choose between a Republicrat and a Republican in November.
With a California electorate that has no idea why they need to vote in June because neither the media nor the parties have spent any amount of time or money alerting the public to the change, big money that’s flooding every race in California could successfully eliminate progressive feminist candidates unless progressive women and men alike support and vote in the June 3 primary.