A member of the governing body of the Texas State Republican Party (known as the SPEC) is being accused of being a bigot. Mr. John Cook, the accused, is opposing the Jewish House Speaker Joe Straus in favour of a Christian alternative. This in of itself does not make him a bigot (of course), but he was caught sending an e-mail stating “We elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it.”
This certainly sounds bigoted, but reporter Abby Rapoport conducting an interview with Mr. Cook, and she encourages her readers to judge for themselves based on what he says.
So Mr. Cook, I will take Ms. Rapoport’s advice, and try to judge if you are a bigot based on your own words.
“When I got involved in politics, I told people I wanted to put Christian conservatives in leadership positions,” he told me, explaining that he only supports Christian conservative candidates in Republican primary races.
“I want to make sure that a person I’m supporting is going to have my values. It’s not anything about Jews and whether I think their religion is right or Muslims and whether I think their religion is right. … I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office. They’re the people that do the best jobs over all.”
Okay so it doesn’t matter to you if someone is Jewish or Muslim, as long as he/she is a Christian. You also think that Christians are superior at being in office than other religions. You are not helping your case that you are not a bigot, but I will allow you to clarify.
His opposition to Straus, he said, was rooted largely in his belief that the current Speaker is both pro-choice and pro-gay rights. “He’s a pro choice person basically,” Cook said. (Earlier in his career, Straus did vote against banning gay couples from serving as foster parents and against a ban on late-term abortions, albeit on two rather technical votes on amendments. However Kyleen Wright, president of Texans for Life, has been one of his biggest conservative supporters, among others.) Cook called the Republicans who worked with Democrats to elect Straus “turncoat RINOs.” (Republicans in Name Only.)
It is a little confusing why a leader of a pro-life group would support someone who is pro-choice. Your complaint that he isn’t pro-life then seems a little…ambiguous. This issue isn’t even mentioned on Mr. Straus’ website, so I guess I’ll just take your word for it that you are unsatisfied with his position. Still, why do you insist on the sort of rhetoric that says ‘Christian conservative?’ Why do you not use the more neutral term ‘social conservative?’
But during the primary season, Cook said, “I try to select every time a Christian conservative to help.” In a general election, however, he’ll support the Republican even if the candidate is not a Christian—so long as the candidate shares his values. “Christian isn’t even the most important thing when it comes to leadership,” he allowed. “I want somebody in office that has moral values.”
You prefer someone who is a Christian but you are willing to help someone if he is not a Christian. Let me rephrase that, “I would support the Jew if there wasn’t a good Christian option.” That could be an unfair interpretation but it could also be a fair interpretation. My suspicion is aroused by your enquiring into Ms. Rapoport’s own background.
Then he asked me if I was a Christian. “I just need to know who I’m talking to so I can understand,” he explained. “The Bible is true to me. God exists, Christ is his son and the holy spirit is in the people who are Christian.” As a general rule, I don’t disclose my religion, but I explained I would do my best to understand his point of view.
Why would it matter if the person you are talking to is Christian or not? I suspect that you were trying to invoke some sort of group solidarity. Or is it that you are concerned that someone who isn’t a Christian might misinterpret phrases like, “I got into office to put Christian conservatives into office?”
Again I don’t understand why you keep saying ‘Christian conservative’ as apposed to ‘social conservative.’ The latter implies that your values are shared by a cross section of humanity and the former implies some sort of superiority of Christians. It is because you keep harping on the importance of Christianity above other considerations I have to judge you to be a bigot. The attitude that being a Christian makes you inherently superior is bigoted, and it is clear that you have this attitude based on your comments about the ‘founding fathers.’
Then our conversation somehow turned to history. If someone couldn’t see the connection between Christianity and government then “you don’t like our founding fathers,” Cook said. “They were Christians…. Why would I not what to be like our founding fathers?”
Some of them were also slave owners, why don’t you want to be a slave owner like the founding fathers? Or is simply being Christian all the morality that you need?
Mr. Cook, based on your words as reported in this article, I will say you are a bigot.