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ADL Letter to Texas Republican Party

  June 22, 2004

Ms. Tina Benkiser
Texas Republican Party
C/O Republican Party of Texas
900 Congress # 300
Austin, Texas 78701

Dear Chairwoman Benkiser:

The Anti-Defamation League is one of our country's leading civil rights and human relations organizations. ADL combats prejudice and discrimination and fosters harmonious intergroup relations. We are writing to you today to express our dismay that similar to the Texas Republican Party's 2002 platform, the section of its 2004 platform entitled "Promoting Individual Freedom and Personal Safety" contains a sub-heading called "Christian Nation" which "affirms that the United States is a Christian nation." We are also deeply concerned by the platform's reference to "the myth of the separation of church and state."

On behalf of our constituency across the State of Texas, we are again deeply concerned by this statement. As our founding documents demonstrate, our nation is not based on any one particular faith. Rather, our nation is a democratic one, founded on the principles of pluralism and diversity, including protecting the rights of the individual.

America was founded on the belief that freedom of religion requires that the government take no official stance on, or participate in, religious activity or religion. In addition, our United States Constitution prohibits a state religion and forbids a religious test for holding public office.

We realize that the party platform also states that Americans have the right as individuals to "practice their faith free from persecution, intimidation, and violence." However, this sentiment in no way cures the error of labeling America a "Christian nation." In fact, such a choice might seem illusory if a state religion were declared and may indeed help to undermine the democratic fabric of our society.

Finally, the separation of church and state is no myth; rather it is a fundamental principle of our democracy.

Particularly in this time in our country's history, we need to reinforce principles and values that unite our diverse nation, rather than issue statements with the potential to divide us. We call upon the Texas Republican Party to reconsider this position within your platform. Thank you for your consideration and responsiveness. We look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

John A. Raphael
Chair, North Texas Region

Helen Spector
Chair, Southwest Region

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Related Press Release
ADL Urges Texas GOP to Modify Party Platform Calling America "A Christian Nation", (6/22/04)

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