Christian Platform Ripped as Offensive; * Democrats Cite Texas Republicans for Asserting the Religious Nature of U.S. History
Byline: Ralph Z. Hallow, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
President Bush and the Republican Party in his home state of Texas are being criticized by Democrats on the touchy issue of whether America is a Christian nation.
At its convention in Austin, the Texas Republican Party voted to reaffirm a plank in its platform that disputes "the myth of the separation of church and state." The plank celebrates the United States as "a Christian nation."
An official of an organization affiliated with the Democratic National Committee castigated the action.
"This is part and parcel of who the GOP and their conservative base are," said David Harris, spokesman for the National Jewish Democratic Committee. "While this is nothing new, it certainly raises to new excesses the lengths this Republican Party is going to in order to tear down the wall separating church and state.
"It is a wall deeply cherished by American Jews - and many other Americans for that matter," Mr. Harris added.
A prominent Democrat called on Mr. Bush to repudiate the Texas party's action.
"The Texas party has been off the charts for a long time," said James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute. "Frankly, I would hope President Bush would repudiate that. We are calling on him to do so."
Mr. Zogby said the Texas conservative platform "goes against what Bush has said and flies in face of what he has stood for, but it reflects more a policy of [U.S. Rep.] Tom DeLay and some of those hard-liners on the Christian right."
The Texas Republican Party plank says, "Christian Nation - The Republican Party of Texas affirms that the United States of America is a Christian nation, and the public acknowledgment of God is undeniable in our history.
"Our nation was founded on fundamental Judeo-Christian principles based on the Holy Bible. The party affirms freedom of religion, and rejects efforts of courts and secular activists who seek to remove and deny such a rich heritage from our public lives," it states.
The response from the national Republican Party yesterday was far different from the one it gave in 1992, when it pressured then-Mississippi Gov. Kirk Fordice to recant his "Christian nation" statement. Health and Human Service Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, then the governor of Wisconsin, was one of the few nationally known Republicans at the time to defend Mr. …