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As Long as We Remember...

December 20, 2007

Why Be a Republican? – Part 3

Farrell Keough

When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not your friend. [U.S. Marine Corps]

We have seen in this coming election a potentially serious problem in our Republican Party – that being the role of religion in our presidential politics. This is a potentially serious problem because of the divisiveness of the issue.

As a general statement, Republicans believe that a religious person has tools not generally available to those who do not practice or believe in God and/or religion. But, this ideal is not so defined that one religion supersedes another.

For instance, never would the Republican ideal indicate that the Catholic religion is better than the Baptist, or vice versa. It is a general belief that a religious person has insight and a faith that will be necessary and useful in dealing with the trials and tribulations that are a part of this life.

Currently, the rhetoric and opinion pieces surrounding this issue are as divisive as separating Americans by race or economic standing, as noted by Peggy Noonan, the political writer and staff member to the Reagan Administration:

“I wonder if our old friend Ronald Reagan could rise in this party, this environment. Not a regular churchgoer, said he experienced God riding his horse at the ranch, divorced, relaxed about the faiths of his friends and aides, or about its absence. He was a believing Christian, but he spent his adulthood in relativist Hollywood, and had a father who belonged to what some saw, and even see, as the Catholic cult. I'm just not sure he'd be pure enough to make it in this party. I'm not sure he'd be considered good enough.”

This “religion” area of life is important, but not the central issue of the Republican Party. Belief and practice are personal matters. As actions speak louder than words, a person who speaks of religion but leads a very different lifestyle has cause to be questioned.

But, as a general premise, this area of life and practice is not something we as a party should have as a central tenant to our platform. We need to focus on our basic principals so we remain the inclusive party we have always been.

It is generally inadvisable to eject over the area you just bombed. [U.S. Air Force Manual]

Unlike our opposition, Republicans do not require a lockstep by all party members. One will note the recent upheaval of Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

A former Democrat vice presidential candidate, Senator Lieberman was ousted from his state party due to his principled stand on the War on Terror. This was one of many instances when the lockstep requirement of the Democratic Party revealed the hypocrisy of its platform.

So many other instances exist, (celebrating the impeachment of a president, keeping sitting members in positions of power while they are undergoing the process of conviction for bribery, demeaning our troops during a time of war, et al).

Any ship can be a minesweeper. Once. [Unknown]

Republicans are held to a higher standard. Members who do not uphold the standards for office receive due process and if found guilty are stripped of their authority.

But, accompanying these higher standards is the embrace of diversity of thought and assessment. While some in the party suffer the moniker of RINO, (Republican In Name Only), they are not forced out of the party. A plethora of voices and opinions is what keeps this party strong. While we want strong, partisan argument during the process of legislation, we understand that wise compromise must be made to achieve the best end result.

We are worrisome to the opposition because we follow our standards; we value – and want to retain – individual freedoms, free enterprise, and the proper role of government. The public is beginning to recognize the falsehoods the opposition forwards about our party. We have an opportunity in these times of high taxes, restricted rights, and huge government growth. We dare not squander this prospect.

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