February 18, 2010

My Endorsement -- Harris County District Clerk -- An Endorsement I Didn't Expect To Make

Last week, like many precinct chairs here in Harris County, I submitted my endorsements for inclusion on the Harris County GOP website. In the race for Harris County Circuit Clerk, I found two strong candidates with very different personal histories and sets of qualifications. After giving serious consideration to both of them, I made my endorsement.

In all my years in politics, I have never felt it necessary to withdraw an endorsement of a candidate. Until today, that is.


Why do I take this step? Because of Paul Dwight's explicit appeal to religious bigotry in his campaign material, such as the mailer I received this afternoon. Such appeals have no place in the GOP. They are not merely against our party principles, but they are not in keeping with the spirit of the US Constitution.

The reality is that Chris Daniel has an unusual religious background because of his upbringing by his mother following his father's death. Paul Dwight's position appears to be that the religion in which one was raised as a child ought to disqualify someone to be selected as a Republican candidate for office. What's more, Paul Dwight has set himself up as Inquisitor General for the Republican party, questioning the validity of Chris Daniel's professed Christianity based upon a single unauthenticated (and unauthenticatable) letter included in a blog post. That letter contradicts verifiable information about Chris Daniel's membership in two different Baptist churches in the Houston area for the last several years.

But ultimately, Chris Daniel's religion is not and should not be an issue. We live in a nation and a state where we forbid religious tests for office. And while any voter may choose to make a candidate's religion a factor in his/her decision to vote for or against that candidate, it is unseemly for any candidate to explicitly appeal to such prejudice. I'd like to remind Paul Dwight that in his own lifetime a presidential candidate of his own faith came to Houston and offered a forthright vision of America that stands in sharp contrast to the sort of religious bigotry and division that Mr. Dwight is peddling -- "I believe in an America where. . . no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from. . . the people who might elect him."

Sadly, Paul Dwight does not appear to believe in that America. I therefore can no longer believe that Paul Dwight is fit for the public office he seeks, or for any other. I urge every Republican primary voter to take a stand for religious liberty and against religious bigotry by casting their ballot for Chris Daniel to be the Republican candidate for Harris County Circuit Clerk.

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NAME: Greg
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