Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Letter From, and Response to Disgruntled Republican

I received a series of e-mails yesterday from a group of three angry Republicans, charging that the GOP is openly endorsing a theocracy in the United States by supporting issues that are championed by the "religious right" (however you would define that demographic). I decided that I wanted to share the complaint and response here in an attempt to spark some dialogue.
Letter reads:

Dear Colorado and Douglas County Republican Party leaders:

The Republican Party must promote the strict separation of church and
state. I used to support the Republican Party because I am a firm
believer in individual rights, free markets, a strong national
defense, and the right to keep and bear arms.

However, the Republican Party alliance with the religious right on
"social issues" such as stem cell research, abortion and gay marriage
has turned off many former supporters such as myself.

Americans have a right to practice their religion as a purely private
matter, and I defend everyone's right to do so. But religion should
not be used to make public policy. The proper function of government
is to protect individual rights, not force one group's religious views
on everyone else.

I am glad that state Chairman Dick Wadhams refused to let Colorado
Right to Life set up a table at the state convention, as reported in
the June 18, 2008 Denver Post.

"Abortion foes blast Colo. GOP leader"

This is a small step in the right direction. But the Party must go
much, much farther and promote the strict separation of church and
state as Thomas Jefferson correctly envisioned. As long as the
Republican Party is in bed with the religious right, then I can not
support it. Hence, at present I no longer have a home in any political
party. To paraphrase a quote from President Ronald Reagan, "I didn't
leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me."

I know many voters who feel the same way. Given that Colorado is a
"purple" swing state, this is not a good sign for the Republican

(This should not be taken as any kind of endorsement of Barack Obama -
I find his policies loathsome and anti-American.)

Thank you for your consideration,
P.S.: Please also forward this to Mr. Dick Wadhams and Ms. Perry Buck.

My Response:

Dear Dr. XXXXX -

Please let me begin by thanking you very much for your correspondence. Your act
of writing is a step toward progress in our political system. Let me assure you
that I hear your complaint loud and clear, and though I agree with your
underlying complaint, I disagree with the premise of your argument. Please
allow me to elaborate.

You seem to suggest that the opposition to stem-cell research and abortion
places the GOP “in bed” with the religious right. Why this may appear to be the
truth, there is an underlying connection that you are failing to acknowledge.
The Republican Party upholds the founding principles of Life, Liberty, and the
Pursuit of Happiness, as the founding fathers specifically cited as rights
Endowed by the Creator (Nature’s God, to be exact). These are rights not given,
but endowed – bestowed upon every human to protect. The idea of the endowment
of Life is not new and not owned exclusively by the religious right. In the
spirit of following the intent of the founders, and embracing their
understanding of basic human rights, the Republican Party must uphold the Right
of Life.

Inasmuch, the question is begged: When does life begin? Therein lies the

In accordance with the 14th amendment, the rights of the founding documents are
applicable to those “born” in the United States. That word would seem to
indicate that a fetus of any gestational age is therefore without rights. This
is the basis of the Roe decision in the Supreme Court. However, as a doctor,
you should well understand that a fetus is very much alive and responsive to
their environment from a fairly early gestational age, regardless of their
ability to survive independent of their mother at the time. With the complexity
of life in gestation, it serves humanity to better define Life – not limiting
life to begin merely at birth. Therefore we are in support of the Right of
Life, as we consider life to exist during gestation.

Barack Obama has shown in his political career that he shows almost no
compassion for life in the womb, supporting late term abortion and referring to
children as a punishment. Having lost our first pregnancy, my wife and I are
happy to have recently delivered our first child – rest assured we do not feel
punished. My brother and his wife also recently gave birth to their first
child, who has been diagnosed with Propionic Acidemia – and rest assured, they
do not value his life any less, nor feel punished. I would assume that Mr.
Obama would consider such a child a burden on society and the parents – most
likely he would suggest such a fetus be discarded. But is it not the challenge
of life that should cause us to persevere… perhaps this young child holds the
key to medical research that could aid in curing this and other genetic defects.
Where Obama sees punishment and burden, I choose to see opportunity. This is a
fundamental difference between me and the Senator – and I would imagine that
this is a similar difference between the Senator and a majority of Republicans
who continue to fight, not because it is easy, rather because it is right.

The Republican Party does not openly nor privately advocate for any one
religion, but we are advocates against the absence of faith from the lives of
Americans. We are not a Christian organization, merely an organization that
supports and endorses the existence of faith as a basis of morality – not in
government, but in the lives and hearts of the individual, at their own request
and choosing. I personally could never be part of an organization that openly
endorsed a state religion (such as the Constitution Party which openly supports
naming Christianity as the official religion of the US). Furthermore, you will
notice that the ranks of the GOP are filled with many people of faith, from many
different religions. We support them all.

I do, however, tend to agree with you regarding the stance of the party
regarding marriage. In fact, I would suggest that marriages not be recognized
by the state whatsoever, other than for recording purposes (i.e. no tax
incentive for marriage or children). Marriage is a religious right, and the
early recognition by the states violated the intent of religious separation from
government. This directly resulted in the decreased view of marriage as a
sacred bond, and more of a contractual agreement between two people. But again,
this is a view that is widely debated – and we in the Republican Party openly
promote the debate.

It is a shame to lose grassroots activists, such as yourself, who are willing to
engage in meaningful and rational dialogue. I would like to remind you that the
members of the party have beliefs that vary in range and subject, and we turn no
member away. All that we ask is that you advocate for smaller government, lower
taxes, and hold a firm belief in the core principles. If you do, then there is
a home for you in the Republican Party.

I also should remind you that the expedient thing to do is to leave the party.
You will feel like you have accomplished something by protesting. However, you
have then given up your right to vote within the party, effectively surrendering
your right to advocate for change within the party. Though it is the more
difficult of the two paths, I propose that you re-join the party, and be a voice
for change from within the ranks. Doing so will allow you to help elect
representatives within the party as well as candidates for the ballot that give
you a voice.

Again, I thank you for your correspondence, and applaud your willingness to
share your discontent with the party as you perceive it. Rest assured, we are
listening, and are always willing to discuss the issues.

I hope that you appreciate the clarification of the issues you announced, and
that you strongly reconsider your actions regarding leaving the party.

Thank you very much.


Steven M Nielson
Secretary, Douglas County Republican Party


What else is there to say to disgruntled Republicans who echo the Democratic Party talking points? I suppose this is bound to happen from time to time, which is why it is ever more important that the activists within the party step up their campaign to counter the everyday attacks of the left, and stop this campaign of misinformation aimed at weakening our political movement.

1 comment:

  1. Read "Dangerous Radicals of the Religious Right" by Dave MacPherson. It's on Yahoo. Irv