GOP has a place for all Americans
I was quite disappointed with the opinion piece in the "Gathering Place" column in the Sept. 17 edition titled "Modern Republicans turn their backs on Founders."
Aside from the bigotry and narrow-mindedness of this piece, the writing was baseless and a misrepresentation of our Constitution's First Amendment, specifically, our religious freedom.
The writer claims, "If you share the Founders' view of religion and politics, you view the current Republican Party as profoundly un-American." I argue that no American, regardless of their political standing, needs to give up their right to freedom of religion and the exercise there of. Our country's founders were quite astute to craft language that protects our freedom of religion and its expression. I am tremendously grateful to live in a country where it is illegal to persecute me for my faith. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin all have quotes that refer to God, divinity or a "Creator."
Furthermore, the Republican Party - the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan - accepts and encourages the participation of all religions. In our own state, the leading Republican officeholder, Gov. Linda Lingle, is Jewish. The governor is widely respected on both a local and national stage for her political and religious views. One does not supersede the other.
As both a Christian and a Republican, I was excited to learn of Sarah Palin's vice presidential nomination. As a Christian and a Republican I assumed that her values would be similar to mine.
What solidified my support of her was that she was respectfully unapologetic about her beliefs. I believe that it was her moral fiber that motivated her to fight corruption within her own political party. The same "primitive" and "kookie" pro-life stance helped her and her family to accept and love a special needs child before he was born and also be the proud mother of a pregnant teenager. As an American, it is her unalienable right to hold onto her beliefs and nowhere in any documentation for the United States or for the Republican Party does it require or request that she hide these beliefs or curtail them for political purposes.
The democratic process allows for all people of a religion - or those who choose not to believe - to stand up for what they believe in no matter what their cause. The design of our democracy is that shifting will occur when the majority is not represented well. This process enables all of us to have our voices heard in shaping the country and society we live in. I prayerfully hope that this can be done with respect from all involved.
There is a strong showing of evangelical Christians in the Republican Party. However, I would offer that it is because there is no other party that upholds the character and family values that Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and all people of faith hold dear.
Lynn Finnegan is the minority leader of the state House of Representatives. She represents District 32 (Lower Pearlridge, Aiea, Halawa, Hickam, Pearl Harbor, Foster Village, Moanalua Gardens).